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Publisher: Spiderweb Software    Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: Any Version    RAM: 30 MB    Hard Disk: 50 MB    Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit

Avernum 4
January 5, 2006 | Ian Beck

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The whole shebang
Avernum 4 is at base another strong RPG offering from Spiderweb Software. It successfully merges the Geneforge and Avernum engines for a gameplay experience entirely new, and introduces many welcome enhancements (seamless world, job boards, point-and-click navigation) to Spiderweb's typically strong storyline and dialog.

Unfortunately, the fact that Avernum 4 is a classic Spiderweb role playing game means that there are certain downsides to it, as well. A completely turn-based engine, although functional and enjoyable, is still not quite as appealing as a fully real-time engine, such as that in the Geneforge series. This is particularly noticeable when dealing with NPCs who wander into your path (which stops the pathfinding cold) and even on rare occasions can trap you in small corridors.

Additionally, the game is extremely linear. Granted, there's a huge variety of things to do, but when it comes right down to it you have pretty much one path that you can follow, regardless of detours. This means that although you will get many hours of enjoyment out of Avernum 4, you will be unlikely to replay it much.

The flip side of that coin is that Avernum 4 is a classic role playing game in a strong tradition of games that is sure to delight role players who want a more lengthy and interesting experience than is sometimes offered in commercial RPGs, despite the shareware graphics and sound. It is also possibly the most accessible Avernum game for new players, and is certainly worth a download, given that the demo is lengthy enough to give you a good feeling for the gameplay.

Despite the fact that Avernum 4 is slightly less replayable than the Geneforge games, it is still a great value when you consider the sheer length of the game's story and its sprawling world. This is a without a doubt a top-notch role playing game, albeit one with some small annoyances, and I highly recommend it to any role playing fan.

• Successfully combines point-and-click with classic Avernum turn-based system
• Huge, seamless world to explore
• Multiple gameplay enhancements
• Many, many hours of gameplay
• Classic role playing experience
• Improved graphics and sound
• New Avernite friendly

• Some performance hiccups
• Low replayability due to linear storyline
• Minor annoyances due to turn-based system

Avernum 4
Developer: Spiderweb Software
Publisher: Spiderweb Software


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