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Immortals Of Aveum: A surprisingly fun shooter cursed with one of gaming's all-time obnoxious heroes

If you want to get to the fun hiding at the core of Immortals Of Aveum, you're going to have to get through a whole lot of Jak

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Immortals Of Aveum
Ugh, this guy
Image: EA

Every Friday, A.V. Club staffers kick off our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans and recent gaming glories, but of course, the real action is down in the comments, where we invite you to answer our eternal question: What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Immortals Of Aveum makes a terrible first impression—and not just because it has a name that slides out of your brain the first second you take your eyes off of it. For whatever reason—and despite actually being pretty fun, once it figures out how to get out of its own way—EA’s new magically tinged first-person shooter (speller?) opens with a horrible misstep: A lengthy, action-light introduction to its world that puts its focus on the game’s writing, acting, and character. Which wouldn’t be nearly so damning, in a game whose writing, acting, and characters were less aggressively obnoxious than the ones populating Immortals Of Aveum. That goes double, maybe even triple, for your protagonist, Jak: Played with infinite smirk by Never Have I Ever’s Darren Barnet, Jak’s endless string of sarcastic quips, asinine banter, and cocky one-liners are the game’s single biggest barrier to entry—which is a shame, because there’s an enjoyable, if somewhat mindless, FPS experience here, buried beneath those initial mountains of snark.


Set in a magical world where Capital Letter Nouns battle it out for supremacy in the never-ending Everwar (you’re welcome for the new “red leather, yellow leather,” warm-up-needing vocal actors), Immortals is the product of new developer Ascendant Studios, whose ranks includes alumni of the Call Of Duty games. At first—and, again, it’s bad first impressions all around, here—you’d be excused for thinking the studio had just cranked out another military shooter with a little bit of arcane window dressing, with “rifle,” “shotgun,” and “submachine gun” replaced by “blue spell,” “red spell,” and “green spell,” respectively. (The early enemies who do nothing but pelt you at a distance while you fire back at them from across the battlefield do very little to disabuse you of that notion.) It’s only after an hour or two that Immortals lets you start tinkering with your arsenal, expand out your abilities, and deliver something much closer to expressive play, at which point it reveals itself to be a breezy, enjoyable blend of first-person platformer, run-and-gun shooter, and exploration-based adventure game that is, surprise of surprises, actually pretty damn fun.

Immortals of Aveum™ | Official Launch Trailer

Heck, the plot even starts to get kind of neat, even if it’s continually hamstrung by the charisma-free deadweight it’s being delivered to. (At the very least, hearing magical communists and magical fascists have an argument about who’s doing more to kill the world at the present moment is a more thoughtful conversation than we were expecting to encournter here.) And once it lets you actually play it, that play is smooth as hell, giving the player plenty of abilities to both deal out and avoid damage, and filling the levels with enemies that force you to mix up your tactics regularly. Sure, we groaned audibly the first time we opened a chest and saw a piece of equipment with a level attached to it pop out of it, but Immortals is actually pretty smart about its upgrade paths, using loot, experience points, and piles of gold as good incentives to get you to poke at the nooks and crannies of its beautiful, colorful world.


Immortals Of Aveum’s greatest triumph might simply be one of timing, though: With September of 2023 gearing up to be one of gaming’s heaviest months in recent memory—filled with Armored Core, Starfield, Baldur’s Gate, and more—there’s something very refreshing about having a brightly colored, enjoyable world to breeze your way through, minimal investment required. It’s a pity your co-pilot on this little day trip is, y’know, Jak, but it’s still a surprisingly enjoyable palate cleanser, before the serious stuff arrives.