By Mento 4 Comments
23/05/12 - Game #20
The source: Purchased from Steam.
The pre-amble: Avadon is an isometric turn-based RPG based in the world of Lynaeus, a continent with a powerful centralized civilization that is constantly warring with the wilder coastal regions. You play as a Hand of Avadon, sort of like the medieval version of a SPECTRE agent, and go around solving the problems of those under Avadon's jurisdiction and protection. It's a deliberately old-school type of RPG, similar to Ultima or Baldur's Gate or even the Gold Box series if you want to go crazy archaic. Spiderweb's been making them since the 90s, apparently.
The playthrough: It's a rare occasion when I actually chase down a game and buy it without a huge sale or an Indie bundle guiding my digital download consumerism. I'm fairly sure credit goes to userand his tireless championing of CRPGs both Indie and otherwise (not so much of the latter these days though) for directing me towards this game.
The game itself seems fairly basic initially, with four basic classes (tank, ranged, healer/debuff and mage DPS, if we're going by reductive MMO approximations) with limited skill development trees. So it's a little hard to come off something like Baldur's Gate II or Witcher II (which I actually just rented and really should get back to) to something far more simple. But then that's the nature of the ten dollar downloadable Indie RPG. That said, I'm having a tremendous amount of fun with it. There's something very comfortable about a nice, straightforward turn-based RPG with a little strategy behind its combat. The rather spartan interface is clean and sharp, which is always appreciated, and I've run into a couple of fairly tough fights that I barely walked away from. Nothing like the baptisms of 6d6 fire damage (with maybe a little acid to wash it down) that I wandered into repeatedly with Temple of Elemental Evil, but I don't doubt the game's still acclimatizing me for tougher situations ahead.
I think the thing I love the most about this game, and this is something reflected in many intentionally retro Indie games, is that it recognizes that this is the sort of game that wouldn't be out of place 20 years ago and has an attitude akin to "we don't feel this beloved genre has died, but we recognize the value of it isn't what it once was." For old-fashioned gamer cheapskates like me, it's a win-win situation, since I'm getting games very similar to the ones I used to love as a kid at a fraction of their price. The other thing I appreciate is when there's always a particularly dorky gag thrown in; in this case a reference to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in the description for towels (one of many useless dungeon dressing items in the game, despite their usefulness in certain other media). There's something reassuring in knowing that a bunch of nerds built your RPG, sort of like how it must be reassuring for astronauts to know the same about the giant death rockets that they're sitting in.
The verdict: Absolutely. I can't wait to get back to it.