I’m about half-way through Drakensang, so I felt like taking a break and I have tried the ARPG Avencast. I’m just a few hours in, but first impressions are mixed.
It looks pretty good and I’ll try to provide some screenshots later. Soundscape seems ok as well, but it’s hard to tell with soundtrack, effects and soundscape intermingling. Not much to say about the soundtrack so far. Just like in Drakensang it mostly just seems adequate for now.
Unless the game is planning to introduce any significant changes the character progression system seems a bit simple. The skill system is split between Blood Magic (Melee), Soul Magic (ranged) and Summoning Magic (split). The first two are made up of 15-20 spells while the latter only has about half that. It’s an open system, so that one can theoretically build hybrids, but the attribute system seems to speak against that. It is quite simple and made up of Health, Mana, Soul Magic and Blood Magic. As far as I have been able to determine so far, one cannot invest in spells beyond unlocking them. Instead one is apparently supposed to make a choice between the two Magic-attributes which increase the damage of the respective schools. The skillpool is shared for both attributes and spells.
Difficulty is hard to assess so far. I’m playing on Normal and have had to deal with some massive hp-bloat as well as some quick deaths. The latter were mostly caused by Storm Ghosts, which are interesting design-wise. One can easily tell when they are around because of their laugh, but they are invisible most of the time and while their range is short they do pretty hefty damage. I have ended up just blindly shooting energy bolts ahead of me and trying to catch them in aoe-spells. I like the idea. Certainly better than the skeletons with their hp-bloat.
However, I don’t much like the control-scheme. The game is controlled with a combination of WASD and the mouse, but both left-click and right-click are already taken by the standard melee attack and the standard ranged attack (the mana-using energy bolts I mentioned) and as far as I can tell, cannot be reassigned like in Diablo II for instance. Instead there are key-combos + Left-/Right-Click for all the spells which seems overly complicated, so I’m just using hotkeys instead. It’s just a bit annoying, considering that ESDF and surrounding keys already take up a good part of the keyboard that I can comfortably use with my left hand. Maybe I can rearrange things a bit more.
The three camera modes led to some confusion, but I’m now just using the fixed one, which is completely fine.
Edit: The dialogue writing up to this point is somewhere between solid and bad. Not much to say about lore and story so far. Nothing that has caught my eye.
Oh, and I forgot to say that one can dodge-roll and jump out of the way with double-taps of the direction keys and direction + Space respectively.