Just another action RPG?
When the game designers at ClockStone Software looked at the concept of RPG games, they noticed that most RPGs are heavily grounded in stats, skills and mathematics. Rather than let the dice decide how the character will progress in the game, the designers at ClockStone Software decided that the player's own skill should be the main component in deciding whether some manoeuvre will succeed or not. This probably sounds like a pretty familiar line of reasoning from many recent action RPGs. But only a few of those developing action RPGs have had the guts to go even further and admit that their game is also an old-fashioned beat 'em up with a twist.
Usually, when you try to find information about an upcoming RPG, you will first find a more or less extensive story that attempts to give you an idea of what kind of a game and setting you can look forward to. When you do this with Avencast, all you will find is this: "In the magic kingdom of Aldgarth, demons tore up a dimension portal and invaded your academy... Now a forgotten demon army is about to descend on your world... Descend into the depths of a sunken civilisation.... Fight the mighty Demon Marshal Morgath, forged from the crystals of the Gods... ...and uncover the secret of your past!"
Pretty exciting, eh? It kind of seems to give you an idea of what to look forward to when the name of the main villain is taken from classic fantasy literature and given a facelift by chancing one vowel (tip: Tolkien, Morgoth).
Well, there's more information to be had elsewhere. Basically, the protagonist is an apprentice at a mage academy who enjoys his life to the fullest until demons suddenly attack the academy and you somehow end up being responsible for setting things right again.
Mage or Warrior Mage?
The full title of the game is Avencast: Rise of the Mage. When asked to describe a mage, an old-time RPG player will quickly fill you in with the classic example of a man (usually old) wearing a robe (or a cloak) and wielding a staff (or a wand) and sometimes possessing a familiar (a pet), perhaps even one with mystical abilities. These mages go around, advising people and only seldom relying on their magical abilities. Merlin, Gandalf and even Harry Potter are examples of these sorts of mages. But when you ask an RPG player to describe a warrior mage, you will be given a completely different description. They are mages who focus on battle magics, wield flaming swords and shoot fireballs – i.e. they are the action oriented mages. And when you look at Avencast and realise that it is an action RPG, you know what sorts of mages to look forward to.
Basically, this means that you will not go around healing animals or plants, advising people or studying arcane tomes. Rather, you will jump around acrobatically and shoot fireballs at everything that moves and sometimes at stuff that doesn't.
This is the main fare of Avencast. As you start the game, you will be a mere apprentice, but when the inevitable happens (as it always does) and you earn experience by killing demons, you can develop your character and advance your magical abilities. In Avencast, you get to choose the focus of your magical abilities between Blood Magic and Soul Magic. Blood Magic consists of short-range combat spells and magically enhanced combat moves with your staff, while Soul Magic concentrates on long-range spells, such as walls, shots, novas (wow!) and waves. The player can also learn some Summoning Magic (a third form of magic) that consists of various sorts of combat reinforcements. You can focus on one branch or develop multiple branches of magic equally and learn to use the various abilities to their best effect. This slight variety will probably provide the game some replay value as you want to try different combinations of magic.