With lots of different things to stab, Avadon 3: The Warborn (Avadon 3 from here out) can definitely live up to its name! Let’s quickly take care of the elephant in the room. There are no elephants to kill in either game, or kick. Now that that is taken care of, we can get down to the nitty-gritty between this old-school RPG and the brawling side-scroller that is FIST OF AWESOME (FOA from here out).
So you may have been dismayed when I said that there are no elephants to kill. Don’t worry, there are so many enemy types to dispatch. This will be a glaring difference between Avadon 3 and FOA. FOA reuses a lot of skins. You may be thinking that there is actually a lot of variety, but you’ve got to look past the tassels and start staring at the basic unit. Bears, dear, dinos and … larger bears. Avadon 3 has got spiders, rats, ogres, walking stone thingies, other people, mechanical constructs, ghosts and zombies! There is so much more to stab here, your hearts will jump with glee!
It’s harder to get into the action though will all of the talking. Avadon 3 is filled to the brim with story and plot and branching character defining conversations. FOA just has you clicking through some funny one-liners every now as a break from all of the repetitive bear-nut-kicking. (Both ways actually, some of the animals are nekkid!) While the fast action of FOA will keep you on your toes, Avadon 3 gives a different approach to combat: turn-based! Well positioned parties will be effective at maximizing damage while not sustaining much damage to the face while if you keep your party grouped close, you’re likely to just get trounced. Luckily most of the combat happens in wider areas… most, not all. This is all very fun until you’re stuck next to a baddie and can’t get away fast enough and one of them decides to start oozing lava. (Yeh, that’s a thing…) Keep your cool because while your tank may be tanking with his face, you’ve got characters and abilities that can aid in battle. Unlike FOA where you get stun-locked to freedom and simply have to say thank you to the “game over” screen.
Speaking of abilities, there is more to an RPG than simply leveling up and making your move set stronger. Now granted, that is pretty sweet and is the basic essence of what you do in an RPG, however, that’s all FOA delivers. Avadon 3 doesn’t simply lock getting stronger behind an exp wall, they lock tons of abilities there too. There are a ton of choices on which moves you want to pick, how powerful you want them to be and how you want to specialize in them. Sometimes I feel that there are too many options, however, since I’ve played the other Avadons, I know what most of the moves do and I know what I like when it comes to the classes and what they do. I still debate a bit, but for the most part I’m all about the “trinity” (tank/healer/dps). However, I also run tank/dps/dps with heal moves, but man, having an actual dedicated healer can be rather nice. Everyone else just needs to hit things or throw stuff. Also, there is a good amount of gear to swap for upgrades as well. You’ll not be doing that a ton, but enough to keep it interesting (which is great). )It’s not a Borderalands amount of gear thankfully.)
A bit of contention is the time it takes to beat the game and the replayability of it all. To wit, FOA will take about one to one and a half hours to beat depending on how well you do. Avadon 3 took me about 16 hours to get past the first chapter. One can argue about some of the fun of FOA is that it’s fun and quick and replaying through it doesn’t take too much time. However, that falls under a horrible grind for me… if only it had local multiplayer. That would have been stinking awesome; remember Double Dragon on the NES? Avadon 3 is a long RPG. It could be ended quicker than how long it will take me to, but dang it, I will uncover ALL parts of those maps and touch all of the doors that I can unlock! This takes a while and I often wonder/hope that I don’t kill someone or something that I’m supposed to make peace with later after doing something else first. I assume it’s possible to do that with all the branching conversations that could end in peace or death to your enemies.
One thing that both Avadon 3 and FOA do the same is tug on the nostalgia strings. FOA brings one back to the days of side-scrolling pixel-brawlers back on the NES. Avadon 3 takes me back to the early 2000’s when I played Ultima Online (a subscription MMORPG that still has an active base since September of 1997, how’s that for impressive?). I’ve loved the way both games look and appreciate it on two different levels. It’s nice to get a break from the ultra-realistic games that are out now-a-days and secondly because I can’t art. This really only matters to me as much as the games I’m working on are all filled with art that I’ve done and it’s pretty basic. With my lack of art ability, it’s nice to see games that go a for a retro look. Granted, both (my art and art from Avadon 3 and FOA) are worlds apart… maybe universes apart from what I can create, but the similarity is there (… kind of).