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Default RPGWatch Feature - Avadon 2 Review

November 16th, 2013, 14:39
Review at www.dealspwn.com

I mostly agree with this review, but I like the combat more than this reviewer.

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November 16th, 2013, 15:27
Dealspwn has Probably the review I agree with the most.
Some of the combats are indeed repetitive, don't think you can deny that (think of all these eye monsters in the Corruption maps and the brigands, spiders, wolves and bats in the Tawon maps) but of course everyone has a different opinion about these repetitive fights. Personally I think it could have been less, but there weren't a big pain in the ass.
7/10 is also a very fitting rating imho.
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November 16th, 2013, 21:40
Nice review, Fluent! I too like the efficient lettered selections in the UI.
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November 17th, 2013, 01:03
5/5 this?
Than D.X-H.R or W2 would get 10/5?
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November 17th, 2013, 01:55
Well, the RPG Watch Rating is as following:

5 – An outstanding game that will be remembered as a classic. A score of 5 indicates a game that is equal to the best gameplay available in the genre at the time of writing. It is, however, important to understand this does not represent an absolutely flawless game.

4 – An excellent game with some minor issues or weaknesses but still very highly recommended.
Personally I would have given a 4/5 as I find the flaws being to big for a 5/5.
Haven't played D.X.-H.R. but heared that it has flaws as well.
And regarding Wasteland 2…well, let's see how good it will be.
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November 17th, 2013, 02:38
Avadon 2 isn't flawless either (no game is), but it had all the signs to me of an "instant classic" and the flaws I did encounter were quite minor to me.

I really feel like the team at Spiderweb Software has perfected this style of game. I felt like Avadon 2 was 20 years of in-depth RPG crafting portrayed in one game. I'm excited about future games from them.
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November 17th, 2013, 02:42
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Avadon 2 isn't flawless either (no game is), but it had all the signs to me of an "instant classic" and the flaws I did encounter were quite minor to me.

I really feel like the team at Spiderweb Software has perfected this style of game. I felt like Avadon 2 was 20 years of in-depth RPG crafting portrayed in one game. I'm excited about future games from them.
Hmmm, I'm not sure.

I think they have got the story telling down pretty good. I'm not a huge fan of the game mechanics as I find they could be made quite a bit deeper.

Also, the graphics and sound effects could really use some advancement. I don't mean 3d state of the art, but lets move it forward ten years. I think they really could make an even better game that way.

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November 17th, 2013, 03:18
The Question with graphics and sound is always when it reached a level for you personally when it doesn't play a role anymore. This red line is different for everyone of course.
For me the graphics are really "on" the red line, I would give a little minus for them because the graphics don't "feel good".
The sound however is quite bad and gets a big minus from me.

But even with that I would probably give 5/5 if everything else was great (would definitely give 5/5 for Avernum). In the end the rating reflects the fun you had and isn't exactly a mathematical sum of it's parts. I mean let's take Dragon Age 1 or something like that which you might have given a 5/5 and then ask yourself "did you have the same fun with Avadon 2"? And if the answer is yes…well, it probably deserves the 5/5. That's also the great thing about small scale ratings. You don't really need to justify each percentage like in a 0-100 scale. Even if fluent gives it a 5/5 that doesn't mean he would also give it a 10/10 (which he did kinda do on metacritic, but I hope you know what I mean )

About having more deeper game mechanics…well, guess that's really a matter of taste as well.

In the end you need to know how the guy who writes a review ticks and what he likes and dislikes to "blindly trust him" - or to know that you better ignore him because you don't share a similar view.
I mean if you read a review of someone rating Avadon 2 with 1/5 and the summary is "no voice acting, graphics suck!" and you personally like that game, you at least know that you don't need to read further reviews from that person/site.

But I have a question to fluent:
I mentioned the "red line" in the beginning.
Obviously you don't have issues with sound/graphics in Avadon 2.
Would be interesting to hear from you if you had any game which is slightly too bad graphics and/or sound wise to reach your "red line".
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November 17th, 2013, 03:27
Oh, I think I was just looking at the body of work over all…he does make games I like to play, I just want more now. He is regurgitating his stuff like he always does, it would be nice to push it a bit and try some new ideas. The mechanics haven't changed much since Avernum 1, sure there are a few new moves or abilities here and there, but lets be honest here the magic system is rather boring. Wouldn't it be neat to see a spell creator, in the vein of what you could do in TES but using 2d sprites? Were not talking wizbang graphics etc, what I'm asking for is depth.

Maybe I just think if graphics aren't the selling point then the mechanics should be. The Exile games had more spells and things then the newer ones. I guess it makes for streamlined game but I find it limiting.

That's just me I guess. I will still be playing this however.

Also, it would be neat to see him try a scifi game.

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November 17th, 2013, 03:41
I think the system itself was neither especially good nor especially bad.
A spell creator system will lead to a lot of problems if it's not done right. You tend to build the strongest spell you can and ignore the rest. Sometimes it's better to have the freedom to chose one of four spells, each with it's ups and downs instead of having the freedom of creating your own spells, where you always end up with "the one best spell". A good and balanced system would take lots of effort and can easily backfire. It has it's reason why so few games use classless characters and offer a spell creator. I think Jeff will rather take the easiest path and leave it as it is.
Same goes with Sci Fi. Fantasy works for him. It always worked, will work in the future and it's the easiest thing to do as he already has the graphics for that.
But yeah…could totally see how Avernum could be an "explore this alien planet" RPG.
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November 17th, 2013, 04:03
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
But I have a question to fluent:
I mentioned the "red line" in the beginning.
Obviously you don't have issues with sound/graphics in Avadon 2.
Would be interesting to hear from you if you had any game which is slightly too bad graphics and/or sound wise to reach your "red line".
Minecraft? Lol. I really can't think of specific games that would cross my red line. I still play plenty of older games like Gothic, Might and Magic, etc. so I'm able to enjoy those games despite looking dated.

I do know that many games just look unappealing to me because of their art style. Steam is loaded with games that might have great gameplay, but it's hard to get me interested in them because I'm just not feeling the art style.
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November 17th, 2013, 08:19
Gothic isn't really that old.

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November 17th, 2013, 13:13
Depends on which Gothic we are talking about. And 3D engines age worse then 2D engines. So I can fully understand if someone feels a 3D game from 01 looks horrible and a 2D game from 97 looks decent.

What about the previous spiderweb games? I think the Geneforge series is a great example, but each game was modernized a tiny bit. I can only play the newest ones, the old ones kinda hurt. Graphics and Soundwise.
The older ones also have this cracking noise each time a sound file is played, like you have in the old simarils games:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4bsgjDTIvY
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November 17th, 2013, 16:36
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
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.
I assume every game has been balanced to be a fun challenge on normal. Hard should be for replays/ for those that want an extreme challenge.

If this isn't the case the game should let you know at the start.

Daniel.
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November 17th, 2013, 17:05
@Darklord
I think you assume wrong for the most games. "Normal" is really the difficulty in most games where a casual player who never played such a game before might have a couple of challenges, especially when there are two additional higher difficulty grades.

Normal would be "Normal for casuals"
Hard is "Normal for experienced players"

That was probably different in the 90s and before when "PC Games" were not a "mass phenomenon" as they are today. In these days you could assume that the average player is somewhat experienced and dedicated.
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November 17th, 2013, 19:51
Originally Posted by darklord View Post
If this isn't the case the game should let you know at the start.
They should always let you know, not only if they differ from the norm. Because the norm is pretty much a vague concept.
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April 8th, 2014, 16:41
Greetings Watchers.

Just thought I'd bring this thread back up and leave some thoughts/analysis after completing Avadon 2 this evening.

Hours: 75 (took me 79 for the first game)

Character: I chose to play a Sorcerer

Finishing Stats:
Str: 13
Dex: 14
Int: 36
End: 18

Main party used:

Khalida (Blademaster)
PC Sorcerer
Alcander (Tinkermage)

I also liked to experiment with Yannick and Alcander, making an all mage party.

The game illustrates a fascinating political struggle hinted at in the conclusion of the
first game with an array of choices to the player throughout the story. This was only my third Spiderweb game, having come from Avernum: Escape from the Pit to Avadon.

Also as in the first game, I chose to play a particularly supercilious, sycophantic
supporter of the Avadon dictatorship, often with quite amusing results.
I was by and large very pleased that dialogue options were available to make this perspective appealing, despite the Rebel cause often appearing the more "natural" or "moral" choice.

I found my sorcerer quite satisfying on the whole; aiming to reach the high end abilities (such as Corruption Cloud) made leveling fun and motivating. Some spells however like Icy Lance didn't quite deliver the impact I thought they may; it's always a bit odd when an ability does decidedly less than your normal attack. That aside though; the class was a blast to play despite perhaps being on the periphery compared to the Tinkermage (more on it later!)

The companion quests on the whole, tie more overtly into the main story more successfully this time. Whilst I felt that the companion quests weren't quite as interesting or memorable overall, this is perhaps compensated by more interactivity and banter between them.

I felt that overall, Avadon 2 didn't quite fulfill its opportunities lore and story wise, to create deeper connections to characters from the first game. Introducing canon plot-lines for previous companions from Avadon for instance would have greatly enhanced the continuity for players of Avadon. (What happened to Sevilin and Natalie for example?)

I also think that the political insight into the various nation states offered by the first
game is significantly more wide-reaching and generally held more potential for intriguing stories than the whole Miranda/Corruption nemesis plotline. Exploring the areas for the first time and doing the Monitor base quests was definitely enjoyable, yet somehow whist doing this I wanted more information on what Kellemedria, the Kva, the Holklandans, Khemerians etc were all up to.

I felt that the level cap of 30 was definitely something I reached far too soon, which
slightly crippled my motivation to finish up. I had at least two companion quests to go before reaching the cap: yet didn't particularly wish to seek any artificial means of raising it; fearing it might unbalance the game too greatly.

Further to TheSheep's comments: I definitely think that the tinkermage class is a little bit of a mixed blessing to the game. I felt that at certain moments that the potency of the turrets threatened to unbalance the combat and thus make fights much easier relative to the first game. However, the tactical variations possible make the class highly entertaining indeed and I imagine having two would be overkill for most battles on even the highest difficulty.

The Tinkermage Workshop quest which must be completed at various phases was perhaps one of the more fun dungeons in the game. However, I felt this missed an opportunity to really explore the heart of the class (lore and ability wise) and offer the player something out of the ordinary if explored to its maximum.

Sometimes the influences of Bioware and Obsidian can appear a little too readily apparent: Meeting characters named Silke (!) and Khalid(a) within the first hour of the game for instance will be familiar to Baldur's Gate fans. I believe there is also a romantic possibility with the Silke character: This isn't something I play Spiderweb games for, but I applaud them for the effort at least.

Also, the conclusion to the game (without giving away specific spoilers!) is very
reminiscent of Neverwinter Nights 2, Dragon Age: Origins and a host of other RPGs where the central party leader speaks to his companions before the inevitable drawing of the curtains. However that said, this familiarity is quite pleasant and the scenario is skillfully handled and interesting to read, with some meaningful choices and consequences on display at the games end.

Yet I will echo the same sentiment I had after finishing the first game: In future, I think I would certainly prefer a more Avernum like experience; a sprawling Ultima IV-Vish open world to explore at one's leisure, with unscaled dangers for the player to traverse and discover, rather than the more heavily scripted, more quasi-Bioware flavored approach. Still, Jeff has certainly improved his craft in many facets from the first game.

Despite my somewhat critical tone here, I really had a jolly good time with the game. I was only really able to play this on weekends for the past month or so due to work thus it's been nice to finally finish it off. Maybe I'll take a shot at the optional fights I opted out on before moving on to Eschalon: Book 3.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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April 8th, 2014, 20:56
Great summary, can aggree on quite everything.
The Story in Avernum 1 was probably a little bit better in dragging you in, but it had a very bad ending part which lost any logic. Like the companion quests which felt like tucked on afterwards. Much better implemented in the second game as you wrote. I particularily like that you actually have choices in the Spiderweb games. While in Bioware games you have the coice between good and evil, and essentially in 90% as a "good" character you can't really chose (because the other option would just be absurd), in Spiderweb games both sides makes sense in some way without putting you into the "good" or "evil" corner.

For me the combat imbalance played a bigger factor, but I also play games for challenge partially. And if you don't play the game on Torment that's probably not much of a factor.

I also agree that I'd prefer another Avernum game. And luckily we will get one.
http://www.insidemacgames.com/news/story.php?ID=22785
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April 9th, 2014, 07:43
Ahh, that's music to my ears. Thanks for posting that Kordanor, great news.
Hopefully Couch will also do a full news item on it once it is officially announced.

I mostly play the games for the turn based combat and exploration; plus the nostalgic nod towards the goldbox, infinity engine games and even mid period Ultimas gives them added charm. Some of the boss fights can also be very lengthy and satisfying; the Miranda battle in Avadon 2 for instance was certainly quite novel. I also loved the final fight from Avernum: Escape from the Pit.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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