In Avadon 3: The Warborn, you play as a “Hand of Avadon.”
Of what, you ask?
Avadon, an order established to preserve The Pact, an agreement that binds the five nations of the Midlands together in trade and peace.
It is not a peaceful time, however. War rages between the nations of the Pact and the Farlands (all the nations outside the Midlands). Rebellion stirs in the west. The forces of Avadon, weakened by the ongoing war with the Farlands, are unable to mount a sufficient response. Usurpers within Avadon seek to dethrone its leadership and rule not only its territory, but the five nations as well.
While you serve as a Hand, you will meet interesting strangers, battle terrifying creatures, and gain incredible wealth. You will play a pivotal role in the political intrigue of the order. The ultimate fate of Avadon and The Pact lies with you.
Avadon 3: The Warborn bears an almost twin-like resemblance to early isometric fantasy role-playing games like Baulder’s Gate and Ultima Online. Although Avadon 3 makes use of a graphics style similar to other classic games, it does not feel as though it were built for the purpose of romanticizing nostalgia. Rather, it plays like a creditable rebirth of an established art form.
The music is well-composed and worthy of a legendary saga. From the launch to play, the game evokes the feeling of embarking on a grand epic.
Foremost, Avadon 3: The Warborn is a story. As you play, you uncover details of the political machinations and layers of conflict among a fraught people. Player choices affect the outcome of the story and where it leads the characters.
People who love to read will have a lot to enjoy. Every named character has a backstory that they’re mostly willing to share with you if you ask. They’re also not short on opinions, and they often share those whether you ask or not. Books are scattered around which expand on the history of the world and its people.
Most game interactions are controlled via the mouse, including movement. Some actions are accessible via keyboard hotkeys as well, but a keyboard does not appear to be a requirement.
In the beginning, the player chooses one of five classes, each with a set of unique abilities. As the game progresses, the player gains companions to fill in the spaces of the remaining classes. Once they are in the party, the player controls each character’s inventory, leveling options, and actions.
Choose whether to play as a male or female character. Both options feature a fit, healthy human with average human proportions. An unusual, but appreciated feature of the game is the clothing art for the female characters. They’re wearing sensible outfits, appropriate to their profession and station. There isn’t an exposed belly button or copious display of cleavage to be found.
Combat is turn-based and bears a striking resemblance to the playstyle of pen and paper RPGs. The player moves and directs the actions of each party member throughout each round of battle. It is tactical, but not stressful since the player has time to consider each action.
As in most RPGs, abilities grow as the characters gain levels. Each class has its own ability tree, which allows the user to customize the character to suit their needs.
Source: OPN Developer's Monthyl on YouTube. View the full episode here.
I did not find any bugs or issues while playing Avadon 3: The Warborn. My only complaint is that the game builds an immense, detailed storyline, but at times breaks the immersion by using anachronistic language and modern colloquialisms. It isn’t ruinous to the atmosphere, but it does stick out.
Some of us run through a game’s storyline in a mad gambit for the end. Others, such as myself, often get lost exploring the nooks and crannies of each level until every secret is ferreted out. In Avadon 3: The Warborn, there is a colossal volume of things to discover.
Only openable items highlight on mouseover. You could be standing in a room loaded with loot, but you will only be aware of this unless you search for it. To search, you open the inventory window and nearby items are shown in a section labeled “On Ground.” There is nothing on-screen to suggest your search range, so a middle-room search may not produce results, but a quick look in the corner could reveal a pile of gold.
Frustratingly, there aren’t always clues that suggest where items might be stored. Most objects can be seen in the playfield, but others are hidden. The only way to know for sure is to walk into an area and do a quick search.
Making movable objects highlight on mouseover would eliminate the joy of a surprise discovery, but it would also remove the frustration of checking every few paces.
My only other wish is to have the game’s avatar update to reflect the clothing it is currently wearing. If my character is wearing cotton pants, a plate mail chest piece, and a feathered floppy hat, I should see that on my screen.
Avadon 3: The Warborn isn’t just a game. It is an investment into a world that has its own rules, lore, and struggles. It imparts the feeling of being a part of something greater than oneself. The choices you make have a tangible impact on the people of the world and the outcome of its conflicts. The game possesses depth, quality art, fantastic gameplay, and provides a profound experience beyond casual entertainment.