Avadon - Review @ RPGFan
Avadon has garnered a score of 90% and an Editor's Choice award in RPGFan's review:
Special mention needs to be made about the level of care that clearly went in to every encounter in this game. One of the things that for me was a huge, huge turnoff in Dragon Age: Origins was the placement of trash mobs and the utter tedium that went along with fighting them. A great deal of effort has clearly been made in Avadon: The Black Fortress to make sure that combat stays exciting and interesting for the entirety of the 30-40 hour playtime. The trash mobs are fun to kill, but there is just the right mix of challenging monsters thrown in to keep things engaging. If you play on higher difficulty settings you will get your tail kicked once in a while, but at no point does the game ever feel unfair. Strategy will always win the day.
Even as simple as the system appears on the surface, there are several extremely memorable boss fights where the environment around you plays a factor. One particularly well–designed encounter had me running for my life as the corridors behind me filled with water, all while I was fighting off foes trying to keep me from reaching the rapidly closing gates. Even with simple graphics and a fundamentally simple combat system, it just goes to show that encounter design can play a huge role in making RPGs fun. I often feel that encounter design in particular has taken a huge back seat in more modern games, with designers believing that just hurling nifty–looking foes at you to destroy with cool powers is enough to keep the average gamer interested. Avadon: The Black Fortress never takes the cheap way out.