Avernum 5

Avernum 5

Its looks are basic, but its story and crazy amount of options will keep you coming back for more.


Avernum 5 is like a steaming plate of diner meat loaf—the presentation ain’t pretty, but it fills you up and leaves you satisfied. With an intense and engaging story smothered in traditional RPG gameplay gravy, it will thrill role-playing fans, as long as they don’t expect fine-dining flourishes like 3D graphics or multiplayer modes.


You are a soldier of the Empire, sent into the cavernous underground of Avernum after the traitor Dorikas, who tried to kill the Empress. With three companion characters, you move through a rich story line that feels more like an interactive novel—numerous side quests take you off your path, and you get many chances to switch sides. In fact, you can finish the game pretty much any way you want.


Character creation is quick and easy to understand, with three species and 10 character types to choose from. As in previous Avernum episodes, you’ll choose certain traits. Beneficial traits come with an experience penalty, but disadvantageous traits add experience. The turn-based combat system hasn’t changed much from before, except for a new aspect called Battle Discipline, which provides special battle abilities that anyone can learn while engaged in combat, provided their fighting skills are high enough. Avernum 5 also includes a new Character Editor, which opens up the realm of cheat codes and free skill-point increases. After turning it on and going through two window checks, “Nearly unlimited power is within your grasp.” If you’re into that kind of thing.


Character movement feels jerky, which makes traveling through the game world uncomfortable. This is surprising, considering that Spiderweb’s other series, Geneforge, doesn’t feel that way at all. But Avernum 5’s graphics have improved: The splash screens are beautiful, the world visuals are crisper, and more detail has been given to the environmental graphics. Unfortunately, avatar graphics haven’t gotten any better and there’s still no music, just environmental audio.


The bottom line. Traditional RPG fans will thoroughly enjoy this game, with many character customization options and a dense story line to gobble up. But if you’re looking for a high-end role-playing experience, you’ll probably be left hungry.


COMPANY: Spiderweb Software

CONTACT: www.spidweb.com

PRICE: $28

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3.9 or later

Dense story line. Inexpensive price. Tons of ways to enhance character abilities. Improved graphics over previous games. Universal binary

Jerky avatar movement and unimpressive avatar graphics. No music in the background during game.




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Nice RPG game.

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