|
Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » Games Reviews & Comments » Avernum: Escape From the Pit

Default Avernum: Escape From the Pit

May 16th, 2013, 23:05
Spiderweb Software returns to its epic creation, to tell a story of imprisonment, rebellion, and the struggle for freedom against overwhelming odds. Avernum: Escape From the Pit is the first chapter in an Indie fantasy role-playing saga, the tale of desperate exiles and their battle for survival and a land to call their own.
Avernum: Escape From the Pit features:
  • Epic fantasy adventure in an enormous underworld.
  • Huge outdoors and eighty towns and dungeons.
  • Three separate game-winning quests. Seek safety, escape or revenge. Do just one of them or all three!
  • Unique races and settings make Avernum different from any adventure out there.
  • Dozens of side quests and hundreds of magical artifacts.
  • Rich game system with over 50 spells and battle disciplines and a multitude of beneficial character traits to choose from.
More information.
Myrthos is offline

Myrthos

Myrthos's Avatar
Cave Canem
Super Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#1

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 4,526

Default 

May 16th, 2013, 23:05
The general lack of attention combined with poor graphics forestalled my entrance into Jeff Vogel games for quite some time. So, having just wrapped up Escape from the Pit last night, I thought I'd take a couple minutes to write about this sprawling game.

Setting: Avernum: Escape from the Pit takes place in a, you guessed it, Pit. It's actually more of a gigantic cavern with twisting passages, rivers, and oodles of monsters - and every inch of it navigable by the player. To say that this game is massive is an understatement; I often found myself thankful for map tooltip hints when they were provided.

Quests/Lore: A strong point of the game is its slowly evolving storyline. As a newcomer to the series, I was constantly in awe of how Jeff continuously developed the plot of the game. Fifty hours in and I was still getting enamored by new factions, historical locations, or motivations of NPCs. It was even, dare I say it, overwhelming at times, keeping track of newly assigned quests and newly discovered dungeons I had yet to journey into. This leads into…

Writing: It is so incredibly rare to play a game with writing this good. The descriptions given to various locales and enemies were food for my imagination. By far, this is the best asset of the game and alone worth playing for.

Combat: A *whole* lot of combat! But all turn-based! Both incredibly fun and incredibly infuriating when you're taking on a village of 20 giants all gunning for your lead character in the opening round.

So, as to my overall thoughts on the game: great fun! And great value - I believe I had over one hundred hours amassed in the game. The writing is in a league of its own and I can't wait to play other titles from Spiderweb. If there is one negative about the game it is of course the bland sprite graphics, but this is quickly forgotten in the greater context of this sprawling adventure.

If you think you would like turn-based combat, combined with overland map exploration, combined with some of the best writing you will ever see in a video game, I heartily recommend you give this title a shot.

Drithius is offline

Drithius

Drithius's Avatar
Misbegotten Alien

#2

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 2,609

Default 

May 16th, 2013, 23:13
Great summary - I would like to add that character/party building is fun, too.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
HiddenX is offline

HiddenX

HiddenX's Avatar
The Elder Spy
RPGWatch Donor

#3

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NRW/Germany
Posts: 4,540

Default 

May 16th, 2013, 23:24
Yep, both good points. For some reason the writing seems to be overlooked in Spiderweb games, I think its definitely some of the best. odd, eh? It's overshadowed by the graphics histrionics, me thinks.
Thrasher is offline

Thrasher

Thrasher's Avatar
Wheeee!
RPGWatch Donor

#4

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Studio City, CA
Posts: 10,329

Default 

May 17th, 2013, 17:42
It's a shame too. Spiderweb deserves more recognition in forums. On a related note, I wonder if the tools introduced with NWN: Storm of Zehir could be implemented and modified for turnbased combat in order to remake the series with better art assets?

Besides graphics, now that I give it some more thought, there also couple other comparatively minor cons:
  • The lights-out mechanic that plunged your party into darkness and only allowed you to literally take one step at a time was so very tedious! Once was bad enough but to experience this mechanic three times was increasingly annoying each time.
  • Secondly, the skill trees could really use some re-balancing. As an example, having no direct access to the Hardiness skill if you decide to take the non-traditional route of bow combat further worsens an already weak ranged combat option.

In the grand scheme of things, however, those are minor complaints. Now to decide between Avadon: The Black Fotress or the Geneforge series… Geneforge has some quirkiness that appeals to me on the outset.
Drithius is offline

Drithius

Drithius's Avatar
Misbegotten Alien

#5

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 2,609

Default 

May 17th, 2013, 22:36
Geneforge 4 or 5 any day over Avadon. You'll get a better challenge, pre-combat tactical positioning and the world/story/factions have far more depth. Judging these games on graphics alone is a huge mistake.

"For Innos!"
ToddMcF2002 is offline

ToddMcF2002

ToddMcF2002's Avatar
SasqWatch

#6

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Boston MA
Posts: 2,232

Default 

May 17th, 2013, 23:20
Geneforge I,II,III,IV,V -> play them all - great experience - great story!

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
HiddenX is offline

HiddenX

HiddenX's Avatar
The Elder Spy
RPGWatch Donor

#7

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NRW/Germany
Posts: 4,540

Default 

June 3rd, 2013, 13:14
Never enjoyed Geneforge it's cold, in my opinion it's a common weakness in Jeff writing, too cold, but in that series it reaches extremes.

By cold I mean to write more for the brain than to create feelings and emotions but also for creating mood. He is quite good for the first point, and also for readability and clarity, and ability to put sum of information and stuff in a text short enough, but weak for the other points. Avernum 1 is a quite noticeable exception with multiple very strong moments, not many but enough to mark the playing.

Avadon is showing some progress in that matter and the companions approach does help him work better on that point. But the Geneforge series highlights the weakness. I couldn't play any of this series much, so my point of view is doubtful. But about Jeff writing, English isn't my native language but I persist pinpoint he should work on this aspect of his writing, and I think he does.
Ihaterpg is offline

Ihaterpg

Banned

#8

Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 480
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » Games Reviews & Comments » Avernum: Escape From the Pit
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 05:21.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch