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November 15th, 2013, 11:51
Fluent has taken the time to review Jeff Vogel's latest RPG Avadon 2: The Corruption.
Being a gamer and also a person who reviews games is an interesting thing. Sometimes, games come along that don't really grab you, yet you have to continue playing them in order to finish the review. Sometimes a game comes along that, when you play it, the hours seem to melt away and the review writes itself. Then, there's the rare game that drops into your lap every once in awhile that is so good that it captures your imagination from the beginning and reminds you why you loved gaming in the first place. This is my favorite type of game to review, and Avadon 2: The Corruption, the newest offering from veteran indie-RPG developers, Spiderweb Software, is a shining example of a game that will completely absorb your entire being for the many hours you spend playing it. Let's take a more in-depth look at what the game has to offer.
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November 15th, 2013, 11:51
I agree with most things said, but really have to disagree with the classes being balanced.

They all seem to be - except the tinkermage.

That one is just blatantly overpowered. I am playing the game as a tinkermage on hard (which means some enemies can knock you out with very few hits) and am around 15 hours in. I am able to beat most encounters single-handedly, by not even using the other two party members. Just place two turrets and probably heal them from time to time. That's it. You will never draw any aggro as you turrets draw it all, PLUS they are very durable. If one dies, you can place another, as you can always have two turrets placed at a time and have four different turrets available.
And the abilities of those turrets are crazy (and I haven't even unlocked the second tiers of any of them):
The first turret just fires an arrow each round. Not too strong, but when leveled up, this can easily deal more damage than a specialized archer with a normal shot. Wow
The second turret is almost game-breakingly strong. It cover a large (!) area around it with with arrows that deal damage and ensnare (!!) each hit enemy (except for misses, ofc). EACH ROUND!! So pretty much a large area ensnare-damage-attack per round. Wtf? Sure, it is not as effective vs ranged units, but most enemies are melee.
The third turret is a buffing/healing turret. Least useful, IMO, except for the situation in which you fight with more allies. I only use it when I have used up the other turrets and those did not cool down yet.
The final turret casts cone of cold each round. EACH ROUND. I repeat, it casts one of the most damaging spells a sorcerer has, EACH ROUND. The only downside is that you cannot set turret targets yourself, so the turret may waste its cone on a single enemy. But still.

The 2nd and final turret together can beat many encounters on their own. On hard.
Oh, and I did not even mention that you can deal large amounts of damage yourself with the normal ranged attack (like a Shadowwalker). And from 3rd level on, you have a high chance of ensnaring your target with your normal attack.

Soloing on hard without quaffing potions like mad pre-combat is impossible with the other classes. So, yes, tinkermage is clearly more powerful than any other class. Combine it with your other party members and you can roflstomp through everything that is not clearly above your level.
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November 15th, 2013, 12:32
Originally Posted by TheSHEEEP View Post
I agree with most things said, but really have to disagree with the classes being balanced.

They all seem to be - except the tinkermage..
Indeed. A good reason for me to restart the game without playing a tinkermage.
On the otherhand, without the tinkermage the end battle last a lot longer and proves to be more difficult.
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November 15th, 2013, 12:46
Is there anyone that didn't start with tinkermage?I too far to start with different class now, hopefully patch will come out that nerfs him.Nice review but I wouldn't give it that high because we get same graphic and gameplay for far too many games.
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November 15th, 2013, 14:02
Why aren't there any screenshots ?
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November 15th, 2013, 14:11
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Why aren't there any screenshots ?
It's a Spiderweb game. Why would you need a screenshot?
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November 15th, 2013, 14:31
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Why aren't there any screenshots ?
Well the avadon site has plenty of those. But like JDR13 said, it looks all the same.
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November 15th, 2013, 16:51
There should be screenshots. Not sure why they haven't been posted yet. However, they are the same ones from the press kit that you can find on Spiderweb's site.
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November 15th, 2013, 17:53
There is no real character creation, just pre-made classes offered. No Create Character screen and listing what classes / races are available.
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November 15th, 2013, 17:58
I never play with a tinkermage, they've always been terribly overpowered. I make a thief type character, way more fun and keeps the challenge in the game. Second playthroughs I usually make a strict tank type. Avoid the tinkermage at all costs.
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November 15th, 2013, 18:22
I totally agree on what TheSheeep (now featuring three Es) wrote about balancing.

The Tinkermage is completely off. I am playing on Torment and due to the Tinkermage turrets there aren't really any very hard fights.
Part of why I enjoyed Avernum so much were the really challenging fights.
In Avernum 2 I normally run around without using any turret until I come to a harder fight where I use these turrets and they are normally a piece of cake as well. In Avernum I was "working" a couple of hours on several fights. In Avadon 2 (at least to the point where I played so far: Exploring temples, being at lvl 27/30 or so) the hardest fights I had were beaten after 3 tries or so. (Have to add that I never let anyone drop unconcious in both games).

I also want to highlight one point Fluent mentioned:
The entire dialog system in the game, in fact, gives you just enough information to be nicely detailed, yet not so much that you are slogging through walls of text that are numbing your brain.
For the most part that is completely true and I think a lot of other games can take Avadon 2 (or any of the other Spiderweb games) as great example and it makes a huge difference gameplay wise.
1. You don't feel bothered by the text because it's not too long
2. It's surprises you by being very dynamic
3. There are several situations when your answer actually has an impact

All these points make the dialogues very interesting.
The only time when I thought "enough already!" was when I visited the Black Fortress itself. I basically spent 3 hours nonstop talking to people. I think they should have "gated" this zone even more than they already have.

Another point where I don't exactly agree on Fluent is the character development.
On some points you spend it's quite unclear what they actually do.
I mean, did you now the the best way to migate damage is to increase Dexterity and almost ignore endurance? Probably not, because the chance of evasion is not displayed. All you see is the percentage of mitigation if the evasion was not successful. Or is it clear what stat you need to increase more powerful pets or turrets? You don't really get that information.
Also from lvel 10 onwards or so I didn't find the character development really interesting. Often you can unlock additional skills when putting 6 points in a talent tree. But in very rare cases they actually do anything "big" for you.

Completely agree with Fluents statement about the graphics.
About the sounds I don't agree: I need some music.
Having played a few spiderweb games I knew what was coming and I already built some music playlists for playing the game. I also switched off the background noises. Now I can't really judge on the background noises, but I remember the noises of Avadon1 and Avernum. And these very horrible, especially in the cities. Because they used very short soundclips which had some very recognizable elements in it. So you hear like "*mumbling* *mumbling* *some screaming boy* *mumbling* *mumbling*" and after 30 seconds or a minute again: "*mumbling* *mumbling* *some screaming boy* *mumbling* *mumbling*"
That got annoying really fast. Can't judge it for Avadon 2 as I said. But also due to the missing music, this category doesn't get a good grade from me.

Where I strongly disagree is the interface:
The interface is quite bad: You only have 4 quickslots, which is only enough for the very first levels. After that you have to open the spellbook almost each time (pressing mentioned hotkey a) and then selecting the spell. It's not comfortable at all. Also the controls in the fights aren't well. It happens extremely often that you missclick and send your character into death. There is no type of move confirmation or something like that as you may know from other games.
And while the combat system is good (having 8 AP in normal cases and hitting costs 9, but you can use it even if you only have 1 ap left) it's not implemented very good. You can't see how far you can move until your turn is over. Sending your character on the map, and passing enemies on the way during combat can be some fiddling.
Last but not least: You cannot close the inventory with the same key as with which you open it! That's a little thing which is really annoying until you get used to it.
Personally I put the "open inventory" key on something like a thumb button on my mouse, and the ESC buttong to close that window on another button. Such a nasty thing, already existed in previous games. So easy to change and still…

Personally for me all the cons you listed are not that much of cons (well the easy to find NPCs are a thing, but personally I keep separate notes and like playing that way) but I agree that for some people this might be problematic.
My Cons would instead be:
-slight balancing issues (they make the fights not challenging anymore, but it doesn't feel completely horrible)
-interface problems
-slight lack in graphics
-big lack in sound

Would have given 4 out of 5 stars.
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November 15th, 2013, 19:56
I like spiderweb games for the story, but come on man, lets go a little forward with the graphics.

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November 15th, 2013, 21:04
continuing to play and very much enjoy avadon black fortress, i look forward to playing this one sometime down the line.
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November 15th, 2013, 23:08
I'm playing Avadon 2, too. I don't use a Tinkermage and play on the hard difficulty setting. The game can be pretty challenging at times, even for a Spiderweb veteran like me.
The game is better than Avadon 1, but not on the level of the original Exile triology IMHO.
4/5 in my book.

Thank you for the review Fluent!

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November 16th, 2013, 12:15
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
It's a Spiderweb game. Why would you need a screenshot?
One can always hope that some progress is made in that area.

Ussually one screenshot is enough to ignore his new games, so if nothing has happend to that, I don't need to read the review….
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November 16th, 2013, 12:20
Would be a shame though if you can't bear the graphics.
Personally I am fine with them as they are in decent resolution. They feel much better then let's say if you play Baldurs Gate 1 or any other game game with 640x480 / 800x600 today.
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November 16th, 2013, 12:26
GameBanshee's take on Avadon 2

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November 16th, 2013, 12:58
They are also saying that "Avadon 2 also maintains all the same issues the first game had in spades. There is too much of a focus on combat, and the combat that does make up most of the gameplay simply isn't very good most of the time"
I have read something like that before and I am wondering: What do these people want? I mean I agree that Avadon 2 has it's flaws in combat, but thats because of imbalance of the tinkermage and the interface. But otherwise it's great. I don't remember any RPG where I had more fun in the combat than in Avadon 1 and Avernum (which were the same as Avadon2 just without the balance issues).
On torment the combats were extremely challenging, you needed to use all available tactics, and the multi phased boss fights are something you hardly see in any isometric RPG.
Also I hate it if people complain about that they don't need any tactics when doing the fights when they don't play on the highest difficulty. Today's "normal" difficulty in most games means that everyone and his dog should be able to beat the game. If you want to need tactics, play on the highest difficulty.

Just for fun and comparison I looked up what they wrote about Grimrock which was written by the same dude: http://www.gamebanshee.com/reviews/1…ck-review.html
And while he agrees that it's "quite bare-bones, mostly consisting of dodging attacks while hacking away when you're able" it generally sounds very positive afterwards. To me personally Grimrock had a horrible combat experience. No tactical depth at all, no RPG elements at all as it didnt actually matter what your party members are. If you were infront of an enemy you went one step right, one step forward, so that you are on the right flank of the enemy and hack him, then you do the same so that you are behind him and attack him again, repeat until it's dead. You do that with almost every single opponent within the game and the "core element" of Grimrocks combat mechanic was the turning speed of the enemies. That's what I call "not very good most of the time". Well, actually I'd call it "very bad most of the time".
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November 16th, 2013, 13:12
@Kordanor

I completely agree with you. The combat and game fun begins on the hard difficulty setting.
You need tactics, money for healing potions and better gear (in fact you have to explore every inch of the game to get enough money for the boss fights).

I like Avadon's combat and can't get enough of it. I mostly use Tank, Shaman and Shadowwalker in my party. Challenging and fun.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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November 16th, 2013, 13:17
Its true you could easily exploit Grimrock's combat. I chose not to, instead I played by planning, using the level layout and even retreating to other levels as a last resort. More fun this way.

That said we can agree that Combat and general RPG elements are not the game's strength. Level design and puzzles I enjoyed quite a bit though (and of course nostalgia played its part for those of us that grew up with the EotBs and LoLs). I certainly had a lot of fun with the game and felt well served for the amount payed.

A good first effort. I will hold them on more demanding standards for #2 though.

I agree about Vogel's games though. I like the combat. I believe he sets up his encounters pretty well and they are fun to play. I would have to say that out of the three games I've played I consider Avernum 6 and the Exile remake to be far superior to Avadon (Which I liked nevertheless and will get #2 without a doubt). I can imagine he must be starting to feel a bit stale at this point to the people following his games from the past…
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