RPGWatch Feature - Avadon 2 Review
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April 8th, 2014, 16:41
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
Main party used:
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.
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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