Monday, 16 May 2016

Review - Aveyond 4: Shadow of the Mist

The world of Aveyond has sure grown since I helped beta test the very first one, so long ago now that I have no real idea when it was!  I haven't played all of the intervening ones, but this installment in the series looked so much fun that I couldn't resist, despite my review copy backlog.

Without giving too much of the plot away, if starts off in a retirement village for criminals (!), and you play the role of someone who came that close to becoming the evil ruler of the world (pesky heroes).  His trusty wolf is taken from him under strange circumstances, and he has to team up with various characters, including a witch who has cursed him into marriage.  Much of the game's humour (and there is a very satisfying amount of it in the game) comes from the interplay of the characters, and their attempts to be evil when really they're being drawn into the role of heroes.

Aveyond is a traditional JRPG with a huge world to explore, and an aesthetically pleasing one at that.  One minor complaint is that often when you zoomed out to the world map you could only move once space before zooming back into the normal map, though later on you seemed to have more freedom.  There is rather a lot of wandering around to get to and from places, but later in the game different portals open up to allow you to travel much faster.  There are a few mazey areas which can take a while to get through.

The main quest is good and there are side-quests aplenty, as well as numerous little features that aren't immediately apparent.    There is perhaps a somewhat limited array of weapons and armour compared to other RPGs, but the character progression is pretty good.  The music and sound effects are good and compliment the gameplay.

Basically, Aveyond 4: Shadow of the Mist is a massive traditional JRPG with some nifty features, and a healthy dollop of humour and endearing characters make it even more enjoyable.  Familiarity with the other Aveyond games is definitely not required in order to play and enjoy this.  Thoroughly recommended to JRPG fans.  It's tough to be a Dark Lord who was that close to world domination until do-gooding heroes spoil everything... but it turns out to be quite a bit of fun too!
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