Avadon: The Black Fortress PC

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 59 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 59
  2. Negative: 5 out of 59

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  1. Nov 26, 2011
    6
    Graphically, Avadon is very basic and quite primitive. The sounds also bear this same basic style, with the only music you will hear being from the main menu. All in-game sounds are done adequately though. You will hear your enemies roar and groan, coins, equipment, magic, and all other sounds you may come to expect from a fantasy setting. You should expect to do an immense amount ofGraphically, Avadon is very basic and quite primitive. The sounds also bear this same basic style, with the only music you will hear being from the main menu. All in-game sounds are done adequately though. You will hear your enemies roar and groan, coins, equipment, magic, and all other sounds you may come to expect from a fantasy setting. You should expect to do an immense amount of reading throughout the game. Because of this, the overall gameplay experience seems notably slow paced. While the story and gameplay are rudimentary, Avadon does flow, and there is fun to be had with the turn based combat, item looting, and enhancing the members of your party. Mouse clicking gets severely unresponsive as you play, causing the user to click each action three times or more. This is a major problem. To correct this, all one could do is play the game fresh from a system reboot. Within ten to fifteen minutes after the reboot, the mouse clicking and performance problems will return and stay. Very slowly, the game becomes more interesting and more challenging. The way quests are completed is somewhat awkward. You must go back to the exact place where the quest originated from, and go through the NPC dialog, exclaiming that whatever deed has been done. This would be okay if the map marked where these places are located, or where such NPCs are, but map markings are far from complete. Some quests are so ambiguous, that I found no other way to complete them other than looking at maps made available online. Several of the quests were created in such a way that they nitpick the player into minute details that are very difficult to discern. Avadon seems to drag itself most of the way, mostly because of its slow pace and repetitive game play, but also because of its drab visuals and minimal sounds. Some enemies can be challenging, and interesting to fight against. The variety in creatures is not expansive nor creative, but Avadon manages to keep the encounters enjoyable. The boss battles are difficult, exciting, and fun. The way abilities, spells, and vitality work together is both fair and balanced, providing for an appealing strategy between the usage of weapons and the rest of each character's repertoire. Ultimately, you will become acquainted with your character's powers, and you will eventually appreciate the game's subtle entertainment. The storyline is not very imaginative, nor is it very absorbing. It is conventional in every way imaginable. Also, once you defeat enemies located in a certain area, they will not respawn. Some of the keyboard shortcuts only allow you to activate their respective windows. Pressing the same keyboard shortcut does not deactivate the window. This is minor, but it is still a problem nonetheless. The quests are varied, but feel repetitive in execution. This is mostly because the environs and enemies look very similar from one to the next. Some of your adversaries are so arrogant that you will hate them and enjoy being the reason for their ultimate demise. The most rewarding part of Avadon involves leveling up your characters, equipping the discovered loot, and enhancing their specific abilities. The game often causes serious temporary problems with Windows if you Alt-Tab out of it. Performance issues are borderline ridiculous for a game with such a minimalist design and coarse implementation. In addition, the developer programmed the game to change the speakers' settings in Windows and not return them to the setup it was originally saved to. This is totally unacceptable. The performance problems in conjunction with the other developmental issues is proof of clearly awful programming, or at the very least inadequate porting from the original Mac version. There is basically no creativity whatsoever in Avadon. Every aspect of the game has been done before, for PC and consoles, even in the 80s. After a long while of repetitive, bland, and lackluster gameplay, you will hope for the game to end as soon as possible, but it doesn't. Avadon is clearly 50 hours too long. Much could have been condensed to save players from the tedium. After withstanding the exaggerated amount of hours, the final battle is incredibly frustrating, boring, and poorly implemented. In the end, I decided to quit trying and take a different dialogue path to complete the game. It is that bad. If you would like to read about how poorly designed the final battle is and how much players have complained, peruse the official forums. You won't have anything spoiled, as the ending could have been foreseen from the first half hour of play. This is all quite unfortunate. The finale left me with a feelings of time wasted and disappointment. I understand that the game was designed by one person, but with independent developers often excelling the multi-million Dollar studios, there is no excuse for poor execution anymore. It took me about 76 hours to complete. Expand
  2. Sep 5, 2011
    7
    Overall, this game is only for die-hard RPG fans who have already played all the classics. If you haven't played the Baldur's Gate series or other games from that era they are much better games and and can be bought at the same price as this one, now. This was my first Spiderweb game and I was pleasantly surprised. All my prior experiences with small developers had been negative; this isOverall, this game is only for die-hard RPG fans who have already played all the classics. If you haven't played the Baldur's Gate series or other games from that era they are much better games and and can be bought at the same price as this one, now. This was my first Spiderweb game and I was pleasantly surprised. All my prior experiences with small developers had been negative; this is the first person I thought that truly put a professional effort in. Having said that, the kinks still show. It's not just the lack of music but the details that suffer. For example, you can hit the key "I" to access your inventory but you cannot hit the "I" button again to close it, you have to click the mouse button. Annoying. The writing is uneven. The plot convoluted. Despite the developers efforts to make the game less intimidating at the beginning I think this is a game that is very much targeted towards a niche. If you love that niche, the price is a steal. If you don't it's not worth a dime. If you're not sure, start with other games that have more spit and polish. Overall, I am giving this a seven because it is the best effort I have ever seen from a two-person studio and because I like this style of game. Expand
  3. Aug 21, 2011
    5
    This is very old school RPG'ing. Reminded me of the original Fallout. Lotsa text, no zooming graphics, looping atmospheric sounds. I would have eaten this title up 20 years ago, and maybe if I had the free time I did in my youth, I would have been able to invest more interest into it. It's a game that storyline buffs will dig, but as more of a puzzle/strategy gamer, this just wasn't my cup of tea.
  4. May 21, 2012
    7
    I would have given this game a 6.5. But rounded - it is still 7 :)
    In any case - very nice implementation of the old-style RPG walkies. However, the developers should work more on the story (writing style of imperative priority), and depth, because so far the game does not keep me involved and submerged: combat is the same, characters do not really differ in their skills, trading system
    I would have given this game a 6.5. But rounded - it is still 7 :)
    In any case - very nice implementation of the old-style RPG walkies. However, the developers should work more on the story (writing style of imperative priority), and depth, because so far the game does not keep me involved and submerged: combat is the same, characters do not really differ in their skills, trading system is shaky... This is when improved will become a fine example of a classical RPG. But NOT YET.
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  5. Oct 11, 2015
    6
    The first think you'll note about Avadon is the simple graphics. I'm not a player who needs my games to be shiny to enjoy them but it did limit what the game could do and diminished much of the impact one would like the world to have had. Quick examples: You gain four characters, all of which are graphically the same as your original choices just with a slight color tweaking so theyThe first think you'll note about Avadon is the simple graphics. I'm not a player who needs my games to be shiny to enjoy them but it did limit what the game could do and diminished much of the impact one would like the world to have had. Quick examples: You gain four characters, all of which are graphically the same as your original choices just with a slight color tweaking so they don't feel distinct, even from your human enemies. Spells and items also suffered from this color-adjusting differentiation so while you knew the stats were higher on that sword or something huge had been cast, it didn't convey the excitement one would desire. Enemies themselves even have one of maybe twenty graphical representations so everywhere you go it's bats, spiders, and lizards, there are no unique enemies.

    After that, and really my biggest complaint, was the difficulty variations in this title. Some of the combat encounters in the game are just simple and some are teeth gnashing difficult. One fight about half-way through the game forced me to turn the difficulty down because I was just not beating it. And I don't mean from insane to medium, I'm talking medium to easy. The finale of the game is where it really just got stupid. I'd have one fight that I took a few turns tops, and the next I'd have to load my game a dozen times. The part about the end-game fights that really drove me crazy though was that every encounter saw all enemies working with virtually every buff at all times. I understand challenge, but it gave the sensation that my highly trained warriors were slow and impotent next to these common guards who could and would move three times to my once sometimes. And, if you don't invest your points right (warriors need intelligence?) you'll see every stun and debuff they can muster work on you every time. The boss fights were also really obnoxious toward the latter half of the game. It seemed like all of them had gimmicks or dumb tricks like "Oh now there are suddenly three of me!" or "You can't hurt me until you find my secret life monsters and kill them first". By the end of the game I was just annoyed with it.

    Those significant complaints out of the way, the experience had some serious highlights. The story was pretty obvious, but it was written in such a way that it felt immersive. I actually read everything I came across because it added flavor to the game and made the world feel like things mattered. Speaking of which, your choices in this do matter. You might not be able to break the narrative too much, but I elected to not do one of my companions side-quests (didn't support them in doing it anyway) and at the finale they declined to join me. Wait... AMBUSH GRIPE!

    You're limited to three party members throughout the entire fifty-plus hour game for some reason and then the final fight permits you to use all four companions. That's idiotic. Either let me use them all through the entire game or don't let me suddenly field every one just for the climax. Would have lead to some interesting dialogue.

    Anyway, the world, despite it's obvious plot and graphical limitations, felt very alive through the entire experience. If you're story-driven and you don't mind reading then this game is certainly one you should give a shot. All in all I give a C. Good, but not great.
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  6. Mar 9, 2012
    7
    The graphics are still quite subpar in this game (Spiderweb never really was much into graphics) but the game makes up for it in its gameplay and depth. It's old-school but it's well done and catchy enough, story-wise.
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. PC Master (Greece)
    Mar 1, 2012
    66
    Avadon's lore and setting are promising , but it's all ambition until the developers decide once and for all, if they want to stick to the hardcore or if they prefer to turn to a wider crowd. You can't win them all. [March 2012]
  2. Pelit (Finland)
    Oct 19, 2011
    85
    Spiderweb's new RPG series is also Jeff Vogel's first game for iPad. The game is a relic from the past, but in a good way. Although most of the games for iPad cost a nickel, there's definately room for little more expensive hardcore games. [Sept 2011]
  3. Sep 9, 2011
    70
    Avadon: The Black Fortress offers up some good old-fashioned role-playing, as long as you can handle the dated production values and a few design quirks.