- Category: Reviews
- Written by Eric Schwarz
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Although I didn't receive the privilege of reviewing it back when it first released, personally I was not much a fan of Spiderweb Software's Avadon: The Black Fortress. As much as I have appreciated Jeff Vogel's hard work on the Avernum and Gengeforge series, Spiderweb's newest franchise didn't resonate with me. But, there's always room for growth and improvement in sequels. And, as Avadon was Spiderweb's best-selling game to date, clearly there were fans who enjoyed it.
Avadon 2: The Corruption is the brand-new Spiderweb Software title in their parade of what seems like yearly releases and remakes. With the foundation laid in the original Avadon, I was eager to see whether Avadon 2 would improve upon that foundation in ways that would attract fans of other Spiderweb franchises, or keep those same old flaws that turned me off from the first game. After playing Avadon 2 start to finish over the last week, my unfortunate answer has to be "mostly, no", but that doesn't mean there's no fun to be had with Avadon 2 as well - read on and I'll explain how that is.
Setting & Story
Avadon 2 takes place a few years after the original game's story. The titular fortress, Avadon, is an all-powerful authority in the lands of the Midlands Pact, a collection of states which give up a degree of their autonomy in order to preserve peace both internally and externally. In the wake of an attack on Avadon itself at the end of the previous game, Avadon has been left weak, its leader Redbeard struggling to rebuild while threats hope to prey upon it.
Things don't start out in Avadon for you. At the beginning of the game, you play as a lowly scout in the Pact army, being trained by another senior scout (either male or female, opposite your gender choice). Following a routine patrol, Rockridge Keep comes under attack by a rebel army of titans and wretches. Your scout trainer is knocked over the head and hauled off by the enemy, and you are dispatched to Avadon to report the assault on the keep.
It doesn't take long after arriving at Avadon to be hired - or conscripted - into its ranks as a Hand, a warrior acting above the laws of the land in service of the Black Fortress. As you rise through its ranks and perform mission after mission, you will fight back a rebel uprising, hunt down the traitor who attacked Avadon in the first game, and withstand an invasion by an old empire. The three plot lines take turns alternating in focus, much like in the original game, but intertwine with one another and certainly aren't unrelated.
Structurally and narratively, Avadon 2 is very similar to the first game. Like the original, you play as a Hand in service of the Pact. Like the original, the story follows a very linear path which you have little influence over. Like the original, the narrative is driven more by characters than broader events, as seen in other Spiderweb games. And, like the original, you deal with the many political conflicts that arise from Avadon's domination of the states under its authority - many of which are morally grey, and come into conflict either with your goals, or those of your companions along the way.
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