Avernum: Escape From the Pit - Review @ GameBanshee
A quote on the exploration in the game:
If there's one thing that Avernum completely gets right, it's open-world exploration and a sense of progression. While not entirely free-roaming, you'll work your way from one corner of the world to another, following more or less whatever path you want. With the single goal of escaping Avernum, there's a lot of room to take your time and figure things out. As you explore the world, so too will you grow in power, learn more about Avernum, its people and history, and so on, until you're finally both tough enough and well-traveled enough to leave it behind. Trekking deeper and deeper, the distance from civilization growing as the land becomes more and more desolate, Avernum is able to create a feeling of scale and, later, isolation, that few other games can.
A quote on some of the quirks in the game:
This new version of Avernum has some additional quirks; the transition to the new engine, as well as cross-platform play on the iPad, has brought with it a share of compromises. For one, the ability to close doors manually has been removed, which means that now stealing items can be very difficult without being caught. Additionally, changes to the non-combat skills mean that searching for secrets is now done by clicking hidden switches on walls, with the emphasis not on finding secrets but on whether your party is smart enough to press these buttons - a little silly, in my opinion. The auto-regenerating health from Avadon is thankfully gone, but now your party fully heals whenever it enters a town, and there's no hunger system in place like some of the other Avernum titles, which makes eating food or staying at inns completely useless. It's simply hard not to feel like you're playing an old game with a fresh coat of paint, and like the simpler story and gameplay mentioned above, these more modern design choices don't always fit, or simply weren't necessary.
A quote on the leveling system:
Leveling up is fairly frequent, although different from the 1999 version of the game. Aside from a single attribute point per level (along with some "natural" bonuses as you go), you'll also get two skill points and, sometimes, a trait. Skills cover everything from passive bonuses, to the aforementioned non-combat skills, to defensive abilities like parrying, to more general bonuses that allow you to learn spells and battle disciplines (activated combat abilities). Traits, meanwhile, are now passive benefits earned every two level-ups, and they either take the form of health bonuses, attribute bonuses (strength, intelligence, dexterity, etc.), or skill bonuses.
A quote from the conclusion:
Overall, I can recommend Avernum: Escape from the Pit to just about any fan of old-school isometric RPGs. For your $10 USD (on Steam, anyway), you're looking at about 40-50 hours of gameplay, which is phenomenal value no matter how you slice things...... Fans looking to get into the Avernum series will do very well with Escape from the Pit, and while the improvements beyond the game engine and visuals are relatively modest, there's still a lot to enjoy even if you've played through the game once before already.
Source: RPG Codex
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