Spiderweb Software’s newest game, a remake of the original Avernum 2, was released just a few days ago. Let’s talk about it!
I should probably say right now that I’m a huge fan of Spiderweb Software. The games appeal to me, being heavy on story and strategy.
Now that I’ve said that, the newest game is incredibly heavy on story. It’s the continuation of the story started in Avernum: Escape from the Pit, but you don’t need to have played the first game to fully understand the story of the second. There are small references that you’ll get if you’ve played Escape, but nothing game-breaking.
The game begins with some storyboards. Apparently, after a group of assassins from Avernum tried to assassinate the Emperor, the Empire decided that Avernum needed to be purged. So they sent down a bunch of soldiers and began to wage a war. The Avernites are holding their own, being used to the caves, but the Empire is slowly making headway. The actual gameplay starts you out at a small fort in NE Avernum, under attack by nephil (think Avatar) and goblins. You, a lowly soldier of Avernum (you’re mining out storerooms at the beginning of the game) are quickly called into action and sent to clear out
nephil camps, run errands, and figure out just what those magical barriers are, and who created them.
(I’m not sure if the “magical barriers” are the demo-barriers or not. I always play through the full demo before buying the game, as Jeff (the guy who makes these games) tends to be rather creative about how he denotes the demo areas, and I think it’s hilarious, some of the things he does. Fourth-wall breaking, the NPC’s not being sure why you have “demo” next to your name on checkpoint lists….) I’m assuming you essentially beat the Empire all by yourself in the end. I don’t know yet though.
Avernum 2: Crystal Souls utilizes a turn-based combat system, as do all the Spiderweb games. Avernum 2 features multiple character classes and three races: human, slith (think Godzilla… except way smaller) and the nephilim. Skills are appropriately medieval – swords, spears, and magic (okay, not medieval) abound.
Overall, I really love this game so far. Avernum: EftP was one of my favorite games so far (Geneforge 5 is still my absolute favorite Spiderweb game) and the story for this one seems interesting. I love RPG’s, and I’m sure the game will get better as I go along. It’s definitely better than Avadon 2. (I liked it okay, but not my favorite.)
Avernum 2: Crystal Souls is currently available for Mac and PC, with the iPad version coming soon. I’d highly recommend you try it out. I’d say it’s appropriate for 12 and up.
Link to Spiderweb Software, if you don’t know where they are already.