Immortals of Aveum review – lacking the magic touch

Immortals of Aveum review – lacking the magic touch
Alex Raisbeck Updated on by

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When I first heard about Immortals of Aveum, my initial reaction was surprise at how a game like this had never come around before. It seems almost a no-brainer in retrospect to create a flashy FPS using magic instead of guns. Throw in a robust and interesting lore system and a good story, and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed hit, right? Well, as with many things in gaming, it’s not always so cut and dry, and Immortals of Aveum often ends up falling short of these expectations.

Immortals of Aveum review: Jak with glowing eyes and colourful magic flowing around him.

The game is centred around the Everwar, a global conflict fought over control of the world’s supply of magic. Magic in this world flows out from underground and those with the ability to control it are known as Magnuses. In the game, you play as Jak, a wise-cracking pretty boy from a shanty town in the Kingdom of Lucium, whose friends are killed when his home is attacked by the forces of Rasharn and its leader, Sandrakk. In a fit of rage, he uncovers latent magical powers and is recruited into the Immortals, the elite Magnuses of Lucium’s armed forces, where he will train to wield his magical powers and join the war.

And wield he does. Combat is clearly one of the main focuses of the game, and Ascendant Studios has done a great job of it. You wield three types of magic – blue, red, and green – each roughly analogous to a type of gun in a conventional FPS. Blue is a rifle, red is a shotgun, and green is an assault rifle or SMG. Enemies are also colour-coded, requiring you to hit them with the matching magic colour to deal the most damage. It’s a simple system but it’s effective and makes the combat very approachable for regular FPS players.

Immortals of Aveum review: Jak using his red magic against a monster.

In addition to these basic spells, you have special abilities that deal massive damage, and three ‘Totems’ which give you special abilities like slowing enemies or grabbing them with a whip. This gives combat a lot more variety than you typically see in FPS games, and it’s fun to test out new strategies. Pulling someone towards you with a whip before blasting them with your explosive red magic is as satisfying the hundredth time as the first.

And not only does the combat feel good, but it looks stunning. Immortals of Aveum is about a magical war, and these combat encounters really drive that home, with colourful flashes of light erupting across the battlefield. You’ll find yourself sprinting and dodging, firing your own attacks, making sure your magic colour matches the enemies, and disintegrating foes with your special abilities, often all at once. At any one time, there is so much going on, but this is far from a bad thing. Rather, the chaotic combat makes you really feel like you’re in the midst of a war, and it always feels like a relief to emerge on the other side. 

Immortals of Aveum review: Jak using his blue magic against two constructs.

And sticking with the war, Immortals of Aveum does a good job of setting up the lore of this universe. The Everwar and the magic that it is being fought over provide an engaging, if a little simple, setting, and I genuinely found myself wanting to know more about the world and its history. Heading into the story with my interest piqued, I was hoping that the story and characters would be equally as compelling, but this was not the case – far from it.

Let’s not beat around the bush here, the writing in Immortals of Aveum is, for the most part, eye-rollingly bad. The game is plagued from top to bottom with the hackneyed Marvel-esque dialogue that has slinked its way into seemingly all corners of popular media in recent years, and with each quip from our cast of wannabe comics, the dialogue becomes progressively worse. At one point a character even does the whole ‘he’s right behind me, isn’t he’ trope that people always joke about. It would honestly be funny if it weren’t so endlessly annoying. 

Immortals of Aveum review: A close-up of Kirkan with Devin in the background.

And when they aren’t practising their stand-up routines, characters routinely dump exposition on you, turning that once interesting lore into a chore that I simply did not want to engage with. But even when the game posits an interesting story element, the poor writing rears its ugly head again, rendering these beats at best, uninteresting, and at worst, borderline offensive.

At several points, the game attempts to introduce themes of classism and racism into the mix. The Magnuses of the Immortals see non-magic users as beneath them, while certain non-human races are viewed effectively as animals. Jak, as an outsider, is initially taken aback by this, feeling uncomfortable at his friend and former superior being forced to call him ‘Sir’, simply because Jak can use magic and he can’t. 

Immortals of Aveum review: Jak, Devin, and Kirkan standing around a table.

But within the hour this is forgotten. Jak and his partner Devin are belittling a new character for living in a commune where magic is shared with non-magical people, instead of submitting themselves to Lucium’s righteous fight against the bad guys. 

At another point, he befriends Rook, the leader of the Aelori, a race of humanoids living underground. After Jak finds out about how humanity has mistreated Rook’s people for centuries, Devin openly talks about how great it must have been to slay them all, and Jak makes a meek attempt to apologise to Rook on Devin’s behalf. Immediately after this, though, Jak mocks Rook behind his back despite Rook saving his life minutes earlier. It just doesn’t make any sense.

There was clearly an idea here. It’s not uncommon for games in fantasy settings to introduce themes like these into their worlds. But by having Jak repeatedly fail to engage with them, they have created a world where their protagonist is aware of these injustices but simply does not care about them. The writing throughout the game has this disconnect where it isn’t sure whether it wants to be a lighthearted, joke-filled romp, or if it wants to create a serious, lore-driven story. In the end, all this serves to do is create a cast of generally unlikeable characters whose motivations never develop beyond ‘let’s beat the bad guys’.

Immortals of Aveum review: Jak looking at a ley line with a tower in the distance.

The majority of the gameplay takes place in a series of linear levels, where you follow a path to an end goal, where you’ll fight a boss. Along this path are certain areas where a number of enemies will spawn, forcing you to take them on before you can progress – a fairly standard setup for an FPS. Aside from this, you can often wander off the path to find hidden chests that reward you with gold and materials to upgrade your weapons and armour.

One major gripe I have with the exploration system is that, when it comes to the main story, there is nothing to explore. There’s no finding your way around or getting lost, because every single step of your journey is marked out on your screen. It’s always obvious where you’re going and how to get there, and even when you do try to explore, the game sometimes blocks you from certain areas for seemingly no reason. Why add in these explorable areas simply to lock them away from me until the late game? This incessant hand-holding makes the spaces between fights and cutscenes completely uninteresting and encourages rushing through to get to the next bit of actual content.

Another feature of these levels is puzzles, though these are often far too simple to provide any real kind of satisfaction. Every now and again, the game does throw up an interesting challenge, though. In one level, you’re faced with enemies that can’t be killed, but that are stunned for a short time when their health hits zero. The game uses this as part of a series of puzzles where you have to bait them onto a pressure plate to open a door, then stun them so that the pressure plate remains pressed down long enough for you to run through. 

Immortals of Aveum review: Jak firing blue magic at a crystal on a tower.

I thought this was a great idea for a puzzle, and with several other high-quality puzzles, it’s obvious that the team at Ascendant Studios has a real penchant for creating them. But as with many other aspects, the game fails to commit enough to this, and the majority of puzzles end up being little more than shooting a crystal with the matching magic colour, if you can even call them puzzles at all.

By and large, the game runs perfectly well. Unsurprisingly, with the flashy magical effects flying around everywhere, the game is prone to frame lag in more chaotic battles, even on lower settings, but this is never too egregious. I also didn’t face any major bugs, at least for the first half of my playthrough, as the latter half was dogged by a bizarre bug where the game would suddenly swap to my second monitor, which was certainly a new one for me.

The game itself typically doesn’t have many problems, but it wasn’t uncommon for me to encounter some janky interactions, such as Jak needing to be in a very specific position to interact with people, or enemies pulled towards me with the whip appearing behind me instead of in front. These were minor annoyances but nothing major enough to make any sizable dent in my enjoyment of the game.

Immortals of Aveum review: Jak looking at a giant statue in the background.

Immortals of Aveum is a patently frustrating game, not because it’s particularly bad, but because of what it could have been. The combat is fast and frenzied and is easily the game’s best feature. Unfortunately, Immortals of Aveum disappoints in most other aspects, often attempting to go in too many directions and ultimately failing in them all. The tone of the writing is wildly inconsistent, while multiple game mechanics show promise but are never fleshed out enough to provide any kind of satisfaction. 

If you’re on the hunt for a fun and easy-to-pick-up FPS and aren’t concerned with anything but the combat, then I would recommend Immortals of Aveum in a heartbeat. But if you want a game with more substance, an engaging story, likeable characters, and worthwhile side content, then you can get much better bang for your buck. Ten years ago, Immortals of Aveum would have been a triumph, but with how far gaming has come in that time, it falls handily short of its peers in 2023. There’s an excellent game in here somewhere, but sadly, the Immortals of Aveum we received is simply not it.


Immortals of Aveum had the potential to be great, with its fun and varied combat, but is ultimately let down by a lacklustre story, poor writing, unlikeable characters, and dull side content. The game frequently introduces interesting concepts, but repeatedly fails to capitalise on them, leaving behind an underwhelming mish-mash of underdeveloped mechanics and uninteresting story beats.
6 Excellent, fast-paced combat Stunning visuals Cliché and unfunny dialogue Underdeveloped game mechanics Bland story fails to make good use of interesting lore