'Immortals of Aveum' Will Put A Spell On You
A fast-paced magical shooter that's more Navy SEAL than Sorting Hat
“It’s some serious end-of-times sh*t.”
This is what General Kirkan, played by the incomparable Gina Torres, tells me as I begin my 30-minute demo of Immortals of Aveum, a new game from EA and Ascendant Studios on display Summer Game Fest 2023.
Kirkan is explaining the stakes of the forthcoming Everwar as she walks my character Jak through a garrison of battlemages. As that previous sentence might suggest, Immortals of Aveum mixes a high fantasy story and setting with combat and dialogue that might feel right at home in a Call of Duty game. It’s a winning formula, and my brief demo revealed a game with serious sleeper-hit potential.
The buzz around Immortals of Aveum is that it’s basically CoD + magic. It’s a nice elevator pitch but a bit reductive based on what I learned playing the game and talking to Julia Lichtblau, the Associate Art Director at Ascendant. Aveum plays very fast but feels similar to the recent DOOM titles with lots of sprinting and no f–ks given when it comes to cover.
The magic system in Immortals of Aveum incorporates both left-hand and right-hand spells. Your right hand is a firearm, basically. Blue magic is a long-range rifle, green magic is an automatic, and red magic is a shotgun. These are powered by Sigils, which Lichtblau says will give players the opportunity for a more custom experience.
“It’s able to change which adds a lot of really cool intricacies to it,” she tells Inverse.
There are more than 50 types of Sigils in the game, and these can be altered further depending on what type of gear you build or equip.
Left-hand spells are called control spells, and Lichtblau is a bit more reticent in discussing those. “I don’t want to spoil too much about it,” she says.
Based on the spell I had during most of my demo (a grappling hook-style ability called Lash), it’s easy to see the potential for deeper strategy. Lash is predominantly what gave me such DOOM-heavy vibes as it reminded me of the Meat Hook on the super shotgun, and I used it basically the same way. Lash on one hand, red magic on the other. It would’ve been too easy if Immortals of Aveum didn’t also have some dynamic enemy types.
In my brief playthrough, I encountered some basic grunts, but also enemies that held up a shield wall. Massive, claymore-wielding brutes shrugged off more than a few good shots before going down. The big boss at the end was a massive dragon who put up a good fight with several phases to it.
Immortals of Aveum uses its magic for more than just incinerating the villainous forces of Rasharnia. Lichtblau says there’s a “Metroidvania element” to the game and its level design.
For example, in my playthrough, I had to find a series of color-coded switches and blast them with their corresponding magic type. If you’ve played God of Wår: Valhalla then you’re painfully familiar with this concept. It was a bit rudimentary, but this was an early level.
Lichtblau says things get more complex as the game progresses and more abilities become available, and towards the end of the demo, I unlocked a slowdown spell I had to cast on a swiftly falling temple door in order to get past it.
After 30 minutes, I definitely wanted to play more. All the pieces are here for a bona fide good time. Good cast? Check. Blistering, dissociation-inducing pace? Check. Cussing? Check. Single-player? Check. If Immortals of Aveum can avoid collapsing under the weight of its own lore then we might be in for a nice surprise when it launches next month.