Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Immortals of Aveum review: magic meets Call of Duty in inventive shooter

immortals of aveum review ps5 key art
Immortals of Aveum
MSRP $70.00
“Immortals of Aveum is a colorful magic FPS that's sometimes too snarky for its own good.”
Pros
  • Exhilarating magical combat
  • Intriguing lore
  • Strong performances
  • A hefty adventure
Cons
  • Overly quippy dialogue
  • Complicated map
  • Boring puzzles

Immortals of Aveum is much more than Call of Duty with magic. I came to this realization as I was running for my life through some deep catacombs.

While looking for a missing Immortal (a powerful magical being) that could help protagonist Jak in the fight against the Rasharn empire and its evil leader Sandrakk, I had to visit the dark and creepy Underdwell. Once I got there, I started to encounter Aelori, beings that magic can’t kill. After being on a bombastic power trip with a variety of colorful spells for several hours at this point, I had to play much smarter as I stunned enemies at the right time in order to escape.

This exhilarating enemy design and combat scenario isn’t something I’d find in a modern Call of Duty, and it made me appreciate how distinct of a project Immortals of Aveum actually is. The debut game from Ascendant Studios, Immortals of Aveum is a first-person shooter that swaps out guns for magic. The fact that former Sledgehammer Games dev Bret Robbins founded Ascendant has caused a lot of Call of Duty comparisons.

I went into Immortals of Aveum expecting a linear experience akin to Call of Duty but found a game with unexpectedly vast levels, a world rich with intriguing lore, and vibrant combat that kept me on my toes. It’s a solid choice for those looking for an inventive shooter that stands out from the crowd in that genre, although boring puzzles and cloying dialogue drain some magic out of the experience.

Snarky fantasy

In Immortals of Aveum, players follow Jak, an initially magicless kid who’s thrust into the center of an endless war over the control of magic after he turns out to be a triarch — a spellcaster that can use three different kinds of magic. He’s initiated into the Immortals, an elite group of battlemages from the Lucium kingdom fighting against the Rasharn empire and its cruel leader Sandrakk as a magical wound that could destroy the world constantly expands. As the game goes on, though, that initial conflict ends up not being as black-and-white as it initially seems.

Jack in Immortals of Aveum.
EA

Players encounter many more characters, factions, and magical MacGuffins through the adventure, but I’ll save you from the jargon-filled specifics on those. I typically have a low tolerance for games that lay on lore and world-specific jargon too thickly early on, but I found Immortals of Aveum’s pacing brisk enough where that never became a real issue. If someone walks in with no context on the game’s world, they almost certainly won’t understand what’s happening. Thankfully, the story eases players into this world in a compelling way and aligns it with Jak’s journey. I learned about the world alongside the hero.

Politically, Immortals of Aveum is also more affluent than its Call of Duty dev origins would suggest, tackling themes like endless war, climate change, and the fact that there are no real “good guys” in war without falling into typical military plot pitfalls. All of the elements were there for me to enjoy Immortals of Aveum’s story, but one thing holds it back: quippy dialogue that constantly defies characterization and tone.

At times, it feels like everyone in Immortals of Aveum is written exactly the same.

Immortals of Aveum is yet another piece of media that pulls from the Joss Whedon playbook (Firefly’s Gina Torres is even in the game) and makes every character a snarky jerk who can’t stop spitting out one-liners. Typically, I’m okay with this writing style if it makes sense for the characters, as it did for Frey in Forspoken. It even makes sense for Jak, as he’s a streetwise, quick-witted kid who never really grew up and was forced into a war.

What makes a lot less sense is when all of the army generals — good and bad, experienced or not — are exactly the same. At times, it feels like everyone in Immortals of Aveum is written exactly the same, which makes me care less about specific characters and their relationships with each other. Thankfully, strong performances by the likes of Darren Barnet, Gina Torres, Steven Brand, and more bring life to the cast; I just wish their characters had more distinct material to work and didn’t always have to cut the tension with some snide comment.

Who needs guns?

When Jak’s not quipping in Immortals of Aveum, he’s exploring or fighting. The FPS pedigree of Ascendant Studio is on full display here as they’ve crafted a flashy shooter with solid combat designs that find clever ways to substitute guns and other tech with magic. As a triarch, Jak has various red, blue, and green magic at his disposal, and all of these come in handy in specific situations and adopt the usefulness of certain weapons.

A player blasts an enemy with magic spells in Immortals of Aveum.
EA

Generally, red magic is like using a shotgun, as you’ll deal heavy damage at close range. Blue magic is more like standard rifle fire used to break shields or land a precise hit on an enemy. Green magic, my personal favorite, usually functions like a machine gun as it quickly fires lots of bullets that hone on enemies. On top of all that, Jak also has more powerful Fury spells, a shield that can block some damage, blink to quickly dodge and attack, and grapple both enemies and certain points in the environment. While I have my preferred tools — I love sucking enemies into a vortex and then blasting them with as much red or green magic as I could — I can never rely on just one weapon or strategy to get through every encounter.

Certain enemies can only be damaged or are weaker to specific colors of magic or other spells at Jak’s disposal. Every encounter is a bit different, and I constantly had to think on my feet as I ran and dashed around levels while determining which kind of magic would be best to get me out of the situation I was in. It’s not quite at Doom Eternal’s level of every combat encounter feeling like a puzzle that needs to be solved, but it still provides an exhilarating power trip that rewards thoughtful play.

Great visual and combat design ensures every encounter is varied enough to sustain its hefty 15- to 20-hour run time.

It also helps that every spell is a visual marvel. The spellcasting animations are detailed and memorable — Jak pumping his fist to reload red magic is a particular favorite of mine — and particle efforts galore help give each blast a vibrant impact. Immortals of Aveum also runs well for the most part on PS5, with the frame rate only really dipping in one mid-game boss fight where it goes full bullet hell for a bit (the PC version is in a significantly worse state, though, according to our computing team). Great visual and combat design ensures every encounter is varied enough to sustain its hefty 15- to 20-hour run time.

Bigger than you think

I was surprised to discover that the game’s structure is most similar to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It’s technically linear and always tells the player where to go next, but every place players explore is a bit open-ended and can be revisited later on. These light Metroidvania touches make it enjoyable to return to places I’ve already explored and to look for buff-granting Shroudshrines or new abilities. There are a couple of caveats, though.

Jak winds up his magic fist in Immortals of Aveum.
EA

The map, unfortunately, doesn’t make exploration very easy as it struggles to portray each level’s vertically, path-blocking obstacles, and the tools needed to unlock those roadblocks. Immortals of Aveum’s puzzle design isn’t strong either; the most clever one I experienced had me stunning an Aelori on a pressure plate. Most of them just ask me to shoot three frustratingly hidden marks or complete laser puzzles that don’t fulfill that magician fantasy nearly as well as combat.

The rare puzzles where I could manipulate a statue with green magic are fantastic; I wish there were more moments like that. And ultimately, I wanted Immortals of Aveum to have uninterrupted highs. There’s a lot to enjoy with its intricately crafted world, colorful combat, and exploration, but only a couple of moments toward the game’s climax matched the visual spectacle of that bullet hell boss fight or the intensity of the Aelori chases in the Underdwell, and the snarkiness of that dialogue in those sections was hit-or-miss.

Still, as a first outing for a new studio whose work has been compared to Call of Duty games that it’s not actually that similar to, Immortals of Aveum is a surprisingly creative experience. Those looking for an FPS that’s a bit off-kilter from the norm will appreciate the design risks it takes, and its science fantasy world is one I wouldn’t mind returning to and learning more about. And you won’t catch me undercutting that sincere recommendation with a snide joke.

Immortals of Aveum was reviewed on PS5.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
PlayStation State of Play, May 2024: How to watch and what to expect
Key art for Until Dawn's remake.

Sony is off to a fairly strong start in 2024, with games like The Last of Us Part II Remastered, Rise of the Ronin, and Stellar Blade, but the PS5's lineup for the back half of the year is still shrouded in mystery. Thankfully, a new State of Play stream is imminent. We're hoping that the 30-minute presentation gives us a new look at Until Dawn's remake and Firewalk Studios' multiplayer game Concord, as well as some surprises.

Although it isn't a full-blown PlayStation Showcase, it's definitely still worth tuning into for PS5 owners. If you're planning to do so, you're also probably wondering when and how to watch it. To help, we've rounded up all relevant information about the event so you can be ready when the livestream begins today.
When is May 2024's State of Play?
Sony has confirmed that the May 2024 State of Play presentation will start airing live today at 3 p.m. PT. According to the PlayStation Blog, it will be a "30+ minute show," so set some time aside to watch it tomorrow afternoon.
How to watch May 2024's State of Play
You can expect the next State of Play to be live-streamed across PlayStation's official YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok channels, as is typically the case with all of PlayStation's game reveal presentations. We'll embed the YouTube premiere link into this post as soon as it's available, so you can watch it right from this article.

Read more
Every summer 2024 gaming showcase: full schedule of live streams
Living room with Microsoft Xbox Series X (L) and Sony PlayStation 5 home video game consoles alongside a television and soundbar.

This summer, we're living in a brave new world. E3 is officially dead -- for real this time. That means there's a vacuum to be filled as publishers still look to showcase their games during high-profile events. There's both good news and bad news for anyone who looks forward to E3 season. The good news? Summer Game Fest is filling that gap, alongside several streams that'll orbit around it. The bad news? Keeping track of it all is a huge pain.

Over the next few months, we'll see scattered shows from Sony, Xbox, Nintendo, Ubisoft, and more game companies. To help make your life a little easier, we're rounding them up in one place. We'll keep this article updated throughout the summer, so check back in from now until September so you don't miss a single show.
State of Play: May 30

Read more
The best PS5 controllers for 2024
Scuf Reflex Pro controller.

The DualSense wireless controller that arrives with your PlayStation 5 is by no means an inferior gaming product. However, it does fall short for players who want to do a little more with their control methods.

Sony has acknowledged some shortcomings with its release of the new DualSense Edge, as well as the upcoming project Leonardo that caters to gamers with disabilities, but there are some third-party options that can fit your needs just as well.

Read more