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RPG Dot reviews Avernum 4
Review - posted by Vault Dweller on Mon 12 June 2006, 15:07:19Tags: Avernum 4; Spiderweb Software
RPG Dot has posted a review of Avernum 4, giving it 7/10:
That's not to say the story and dialogue are unimportant by any means. Jeff Vogel is a gifted storyteller and although the plot of Avernum 4 is fairly straightforward, it is well written and quite engrossing after a (very) slow start. There are limited opportunities to really develop memorable NPCs but encounters are always accompanied by plenty of descriptive text that add atmosphere and dialogue with personality that lifts Avernum 4 beyond mere dungeon-crawler to an expansive adventure. The role of dialogue, however, is clearly to develop the story and add flavour rather than offer real choices or branches in the plot.The combat system can definitely use some options.
Ultimately, the combat is the crux of the gameplay. Avernum 4 uses a simple but solid turn-based model with a movement grid, action points and attack order based on speed (which is determined by several factors). Each round, characters get a default base of eight action points to attack with a melee or ranged weapon, cast a spell, move, use items or some combination.
While the system is very simple - there is only a single melee attack, for example - the range of options with an effective party is reasonably satisfying. At its best, such as storming a keep with archers at the embattlements to engage mixed enemies within, combat is quite exciting. Unfortunately, it can get tedious against the random single encounters across the map - the classic repetitive rat (or the myriad of chitrachs in the Eastern Gallery, for example). This can be somewhat mitigated with the Natural Lore skill, which can calm some monsters, but remains an issue. As the game progresses, some special (and undocumented) skills can open up (such as Parry or Quick Attack) and these certainly add extra depth to the character development but being passive skills, they don't add any additional interactive options to combat encounters.