Avadon: The Black Fortress is an epic, Indie fantasy role-playing saga.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Positive (307 reviews) - 79% of the 307 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 17, 2011

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Packages that include this game

Buy Spiderweb Software Complete Pack

Includes 13 items: Avadon 2: The Corruption, Avadon: The Black Fortress, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, Avernum 4, Avernum 5, Avernum 6, Avernum: Escape From the Pit, Geneforge 1, Geneforge 2, Geneforge 3, Geneforge 4: Rebellion, Geneforge 5: Overthrow, Nethergate: Resurrection

 

Reviews

“Offers a classic RPG experience. Engrossing narrative. Hours of enjoyable gameplay.”
4/5 – Mac|Life

“As simple as it looks, it’s one of those games that’s very easy to fire up for a few minutes, only to be magically transported without supper to 5AM the next day.”
– Rock, Paper, Shotgun

“In the end, Avadon: The Black Fortress has everything a good RPG needs. Strong story and characters, great combat, excellent quests, addictive loot and leveling and high replayability.”
– Inside Mac Games

“I want an immersive game backed by a developer with integrity, and a desire to win fans one at a time. Spiderweb has that, and I hope they continue to honor us with games such as this one.”
5/5 – Adrenaline Vault

“This is a big, chunky game that retro RPG fans should absolutely adore.”
4.5/5 – Digitally Downloaded

“Anybody who pines for the days of the older, massive classics and decries the state of the new streamlined, big-budget RPGs needs to put their money where their mouth is and buy this game.”
90% – RPGFan

About This Game

Avadon: The Black Fortress is an epic, Indie fantasy role-playing saga. Form a band of skilled warriors, explore dungeons, hunt for treasure, learn many unique and powerful skills, and attempt to unravel a conspiracy that threatens to destroy your homeland!


Five great nations have banded together to form The Pact. The Pact is defended by Avadon, a secretive sect of spies and assassins. Its agents are everywhere. Its word is law.


You have been recruited as a Hand of Avadon, charged with missions that require swift action and a heavy fist. However, the enemies of the Pact have plans of their own, and Hands of Avadon are being picked off one by one. It will fall to you to struggle to survive and to reveal that plot that could shatter the safety of The Pact and plunge your homeland into chaos.


Beware! Allies are few. Traitors are everywhere. And the closer you come to the truth, the closer their assassins will come to you.


Key features:

  • Epic, Indie fantasy role-playing adventure in an enormous and unique world.
  • Four different character classes, with dozens of unique spells and abilities.
  • Uncover the fascinating history of Avadon and the land of Lynaeus.
  • Many different endings. Your choices will change the world.
  • Dozens of side quests, hidden dungeons, and secrets to discover.
  • Hundreds of magical items to find. Use enchanted crystals to make your artifacts even more powerful.
  • Huge adventure with lots of replay value.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • Operating system:Windows® XP / Vista™ / Windows® 7
    • Processor:1.6 GHz CPU
    • Memory:512 MB
    • Hard disk space:300MB
    • Video: OpenGL compliant graphics card
    • Sound:Sound card
    • OS: OS X 10.5 or later
    • Operating system:Ubuntu 12.04 or equivalent
    • Processor:1.6 GHz CPU
    • Memory:512 MB
    • Hard disk space:300MB
    • Video: OpenGL compliant graphics card
    • Sound:Sound card
Customer reviews
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Overall:
Mostly Positive (307 reviews)
Recently Posted
BeigeAlert
( 3.5 hrs on record )
Posted: April 17
Avadon: The Black Fortress (in 3 hours)
The Basics: Isometric top-down RPG
Previous Time Spent: 5 minutes
Expectation of learning Curve: Medium
Why I bought this: Gushing review from a writer at RockPaperShotgun followed by a steam sale.


First Impressions: This game feels a bit like Fallout 1/2 meets a simpler version of Baldur's Gate, with isometric 2d movement of characters through environments, dialogue, hording of stuff(standard videogame RPG kleptomania), and grid based combat. A lot of this felt fairly flat to me, which I'll cover a bit more in the later portions.

My 3 Hours with the Game: I began the game by choosing a name and class for my character. I went with Orrin Hatch for a name, and chose a class that I figured was basically a ninja/thief archetype. I was then treated to some basic info about the setting, and sent to a castle to begin my duties. Below is a screenshot showing my character, the inventory, and the approach to said Castle.

Upon arriving in the castle, I was blown away by the ability to just wander around, pick up random junk, and engage in brief conversations with people throughout the sprawling grounds. Before long, I was assigned a sort of tutorial dungeon crawl, which entailed going into the castle dungeons, and looking for dangerous escaped prisoners. There, I got to see the way the systems of the game come together for combat, etc.

This is an isometic, top down dungeon with tons of stuff. It was fairly fun up to a point, but I found it to break down into mindless backtracking, and easy to forget objectives. The dungeons sprawl a good deal, which is fun from an exploration standpoint, but gets to be a bit tiresome due to the map feature, which merely brings up an overlay. Additionally I found that there was a lot that just didn't land, including dialogue, and inventory management stuff. It took me until hour 2 or so to realize that stuff would fall on the ground, and the method for picking it up is opening the inventory and grabbing stuff from the ground. I'm used to other games, and was too lazy to actually read the manual, so this is on me. Additionally, I found that with dialogue, the writers often seemed to want to tell me things instead of showing me things with the writing.

Combat was fairly fun, and felt like taking battles from 3.0/3.5 era D&D, grid and all. Early on, the battles seemed fairly flat and a bit too easy, but as the game progressed a bit, I found a decent variety of monster abilities and tactics that kept stuff interesting. All in all though, I think the combat from other games may have spolied me a bit too much. I kept wanting this to feel as dangerous as Darkest Dungeon or Wasteland 2, but only in one of the many battles I fought did I feel any sense of doom.

My highlight:I had the most fun with the game once I made my way out of the castle and it's immediate surroundings and took a portal to Kva, a desert region. There, I had the mission of chatting up a dragon, and dealing with it's goblin/whatever ugly intelligent being problem. There, I felt like I was starting to get a sense of the fairly interesting political situation of the game, and the way a world like this might actually work. Also, as an old Baldur's Gate fan, I definitely enjoyed the sort of adventuring that just comes from wandering around while you have actual missions to complete, stealing stuff, etc. Plus, I got to do some super-tropey D&D style stuff, like killing rats/goblins, and talking to a fairly tiny dragon who lives in a magma chamber.

The exploration was fun, and made it clear to me that there's a lot more to this game and story. If it hadn't been for that section, I probably would not be recommending it. But now I can see the potential.



My verdict: I don't love this game due to some of the presentation issues and the flat feel, but I could see getting sucked in. I'd give it a qualified recommendation for folks who were very into BG, Fallout 1/2, etc., with the caveat that character creation is far simpler, and there is less of a sense of danger, at least in the portions that I tried. Another plus for this game is that I can imagine it would probably run really well on an older machine, or a laptop without a ton of resources.
-Jon

PS: I won't be reviewing Avadon 2:The Corruption at this time, for fear of spoilers. As a result, the next game on my docket is Betrayer.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
laker
( 31.2 hrs on record )
Posted: April 12
Although the production values of Avadon are a *bit* low (really really low, my god the sound is cacophony) the game itself surprised me (positively).

It is quite some time now that I've encountered a game with "one more fight/quest/whatever before sleep" vibe, but Avadon has it.

I think it's more or less based on the combat system. It isn't anything new or amazing or complex, but it works. It's turn based, but you your attacks don't miss 3 out of 5 attacks. And you don't see hit chance, so you don't see your 97% hit chance attack to fail. The tempo is nice, it's not too slow. There are only few archetypes of enemies but each and every one of them has a lot of more advanced versions, which is quite nice. There is a nice number of skills and consumables you can use in fight. Using skills depletes your vitality. You have nice pool of it for a mission, but the with the rising number of hard fights, your vitality pool will go down. Your vitality refreshes once you get back from a mission, or you can use consumables. I didn't use them so far, because I like the tension. Is like being in a dungeon in BG, half dead, in desperate need of sleep but there is no place for that. This approach leaves out the boring sleeping part but keep some sort of tension.

The item progression in the first 15 hours or so was great, new better items every few minutes. I was waiting for my character to level up so I could use them and I really liked the waiting. And thinking about which one to choose (you can equip only armor with certain weight, it's strength dependent). But after that it slowly crawls to stop.

The character progression is really basic. You have four attributes and few active and passive skills. The number of skills isn't a problem, but the prerequisites are a bad idea in my opinion.

As far as role playing goes, it leaves a lot to be desired. There aren't many opportunities to form your characters, to make choices. And I've read that the story is good but I don't see how. You are in your base, you'll receive a quest to go somewhere. You are out there for few hours and get back. You'll read few phrases which will "advance" the story and then you are out in the field for few more hours. I find it too divided and without any flow.

It's certainly a nice game. The 30 hours I've spent in it so far were enjoyable. But it started to be boring and I'm not sure I'll go back to it.

I can recommend it. It's certainly a better game than most out there.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Santiagowned
( 48.5 hrs on record )
Posted: February 28
Old classic isometric RPG fun!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zaego
( 28.6 hrs on record )
Posted: February 18
Short version: a role-playing game where you control a band of adventurers on their way to fame and glory. 5/5

Long version: Avadon: The Black Fortress is a role-playing game that acts as a spiritual successor to the honorable company Spiderwebsoftware's earlier productions of Geneforge- and Avernum-series. You choose a character for yourself, and soon enough will start to build a band of like-minded individuals to go out on quests together.

The gameplay itself is isometric, and very fluid. The graphics, however, are not what makes this game -- it has never been so with Spiderwebsoftware. The real deal here is the plot, the story, the characters, and the (ironic) humour that you keep running to from time to time.

The skill-system and leveling is also very interesting. Unlike in most games that include classes like warrior, rogue and wizard: the warrior-class isn't left up to just pure hack 'n slash. Every class has their own special skills and abilities that they can use in combat (and a few skills that can be used out of combat, such as picking locks). It is very much a thinking man's game.

The one critical thing that is left to say is that this game is sometimes very strict in how it handles quest-advancement; it is very much a necessity to read the quest descriptions and not simply run from place to place mindlessly. (Fortunately if you get stuck you can go to Spiderwebsoftware's webpages and look up the official forums, there are a lot of thorough FAQs and helpful people willing to answer your questions.) All in all the game is very inspiring and unique, with every map and town hand-crafted by none other than Jeff Vogel himself.

5/5, a must buy if you're into isometric RPGs, with a compelling storyline and good combat system.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Invest
( 6.7 hrs on record )
Posted: January 9
This game is very cool. Great controls, cool graphics and a very interesting story. Everything fits so perfectly it's a lot of fun.

I hope I will see some spiders later... I love (to kill) spiders!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
The Overlord Of Ovaries
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: January 4
I think I should give this game more of a chance, because for the price I paid, it was a reasonable purchase, and I don't dislike it. But I have yet to have it grow on me.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
MartyDJTenderChicken
( 4.1 hrs on record )
Posted: January 2
This game is fun. I can't wait to explore more of the world!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
moominmaycry
( 51.4 hrs on record )
Posted: December 26, 2015
Avadon is an old-school, turn-based RPG by Spiderweb Software, who've been making more or less this same kind of game for a long time now. If you played any of the Avernum games, this is more of the same. Not that this is a bad thing, as I quite enjoyed the Avernum games, and I enjoyed Avadon as well.

For the uninitiated, Spiderweb Software games have lots of dialogue and lots of turn-based RPG fighting. You get to build a party of 3 people out of 4 classes. You get some choices and branching skill paths for each character. You collect loot. You beat monsters. You learn about the world and what its story is. In the end you have some different possible endings based on the choices you made during the game, but the endings aren't all that different from each other, so I wouldn't call this a top selling point.

Basically, the Avadon is a solid, budget-priced, and very enjoyable CRPG made by and for people who like old school CRPGs. If you are one of those people and you aren't turned off by the low production values (though the art is fine and is well enough done for its style, IMO), you're going to like this game. If you aren't one of those people, well, this series probably won't win you over as it doesn't do anything terribly different or new or genre shattering.

I liked it a lot, so I'm recommending it, but this is really only for gamers who are into this sort of game. Basically, if you read the description of it and said to yourself, "this is exactly my kind of game," then buy it. Otherwise, probably skip it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
gls8487
( 45.2 hrs on record )
Posted: December 15, 2015
Fun adventure game with entertaining combat sequences
Helpful? Yes No Funny
surfacepatterns
( 89.4 hrs on record )
Posted: December 13, 2015
I played this game for a very long time. Looking back, I'm not totally sure why I continued to play. I don't remember playing the game with fondness; instead, I remember repetitive, lifeless turn-based gameplay. Maybe it was just that the amount of games available for Linux at the time was quite limited, and I needed something to pass the time. Anyway ...

Of particular note, I think, is the moment I stopped playing this game. I'm going to try to talk about that moment with some abstraction, such that it doesn't spoil anything about the game. In (what I believe is) the last fight in the game, a new dynamic is introduced that none of the other fights in the game even came close to touching upon. This would have been fine if other fights in the game had other, interesting dynamics, but combat in this game is largely a static affair. So, when I went into this fight, I expected the fight to follow the same formula as every single other fight in the game. After a few attempts, I figured out what was going on, and realized that the dynamic that was being used made it nearly impossible to win the fight using my max-level characters.

I never played the game again.

2/10.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
freak1020
( 48.7 hrs on record )
Posted: December 8, 2015
An old-school dungeon-crawling RPG focusing on immersive reading and imagination. Don't go to it if you are looking for visual and auditory stimulations or deep character development both in mechanics and narrative, this is not a good game on those. However, it just provides a nice stage for your bold adventure, a medicore curve of settings for your (pre-defined) party to progress within. You, as a part-freelancer and order-enforcer at the same time, are not caught in a web of diplometic conspiracy, but instead trapped in compromised world full of conflicts, under the table.

I would recommend this to people who don't mind simple and straight gameplay/content that is not procedurally generated, if exploration is what you really care. As an story-driven RPG, softcore and streamline, all you need to enjoy the game is to ignore the poor presentation of gfx/snd, and to get yourself immersed in, of course.

Read before Act, you fool.

---
Pros:
narrative
cool background
active journal record
no dialog maze
companion interaction in dialog
tons of garbage for your collection
satisfying loot

Cons:
need more character creation options for diversity
need bigger chars and better animations
lacking of freedom of behavior
not-so-good gameplay balance
poor quest log updating
somewhat clumsy interface
NO background music
Helpful? Yes No Funny
ewish83
( 87.0 hrs on record )
Posted: December 6, 2015
This game, much like the characters, left me ultimately feeling conflicted. The technical aspects of the game, the world building, and much of the story is ultimately fun and highly entertaining. Unfortunately, there are times where it is very difficult to want to continue due to the way some of the characters are written, particularly when you consider that each of these characters are behaving essentially the same childish way.

In the end, I enjoyed my time playing it, and would recommend others try this game too.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
kony
( 4.9 hrs on record )
Posted: December 2, 2015
Boring and soulless cRPG. Even if you like other of Vogel's series (Geneforge and Avernum) you should pass on this game, because it falls short in comparison. If you don't like other Vogel's series, then you'd rather enjoy hitting your balls more than playing Avadon. Annoying combat and interface, huge and empty world, boring dialogues and story. The setting is another fantasy, so I won't even mention how banal and unremarkable it is. Even if you get this game for free, it's not worth your time.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Keef
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: December 2, 2015
I couldn't get by the TON and TON of reading. Between that and the small graphics, I'd prefer to play this on my phone than on Steam.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
A Wet Noodle
( 2.0 hrs on record )
Posted: November 19, 2015
Every time I tried to get into this I'd run into a game breaking bug.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
scabiesinyourbum
( 39.2 hrs on record )
Posted: November 17, 2015
I think this game is hard. I am playing on normal and it was easy at first, then it got a little harder, then wham it gets flat out unfair and not fun. I liked everything about the game at first, then shi* hit the fan. A couple other reviews said the same thing. I love rpg's and figuring stuff out, but you hardly have a chance to beat this game, it's ridiculous.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
jmzero
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: November 17, 2015
Didn't get past the walls of boring tutorial text. Perhaps is great game behind walls of boredom?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Hafax
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: November 17, 2015
I've not played for that long but this games seems very promising. If you don't mind having to read the story and you like Pathfinder/DnD type combat this'll be right up your alley.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[HBHUD] MMRashad
( 52.2 hrs on record )
Posted: November 12, 2015
Avadon was my first foray into the crazy world of game designer Jeff Vogel, and boy is it a treat. I sincerely can't remember when was the last good turn-based RPG released, but the Avadon games are certainly refreshing the genre.

Great story, lots of interesting dialogue and a lot of great lore are the name of the game with Avadon.

The story, while underwhelming at first, picks up after you complete your first mission in the lands of the Kva, and the fun doesn't stop until the end, all accompanied with epic, strategic battles that really have you figuring out a puzzle than simply rushing ahead if you play at a nice pace of difficulty. Most of the side missions all add a lot of life to the world and really make you want to play them and forget the main quest...most of the time.

Combat is simplistic at its core. yet very subtle in how it chooses to show its difficulty. You pick from your team two members for each mission to assist, and they all have their unique and very intriguing differences that force you to take your time in choosing them before each mission. You all take turns to move and attack, and all the different patterns for each battle is pretty unique and makes for interesting battles every time you think about reloading!

The graphics, while simple in nature, are all very well done, and fit well with the overall theme and are nothing to scoff at for any hardcore tbRPG gamer.

I can't recommend it enough for people who miss Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and similar games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
28.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
Short version: a role-playing game where you control a band of adventurers on their way to fame and glory. 5/5

Long version: Avadon: The Black Fortress is a role-playing game that acts as a spiritual successor to the honorable company Spiderwebsoftware's earlier productions of Geneforge- and Avernum-series. You choose a character for yourself, and soon enough will start to build a band of like-minded individuals to go out on quests together.

The gameplay itself is isometric, and very fluid. The graphics, however, are not what makes this game -- it has never been so with Spiderwebsoftware. The real deal here is the plot, the story, the characters, and the (ironic) humour that you keep running to from time to time.

The skill-system and leveling is also very interesting. Unlike in most games that include classes like warrior, rogue and wizard: the warrior-class isn't left up to just pure hack 'n slash. Every class has their own special skills and abilities that they can use in combat (and a few skills that can be used out of combat, such as picking locks). It is very much a thinking man's game.

The one critical thing that is left to say is that this game is sometimes very strict in how it handles quest-advancement; it is very much a necessity to read the quest descriptions and not simply run from place to place mindlessly. (Fortunately if you get stuck you can go to Spiderwebsoftware's webpages and look up the official forums, there are a lot of thorough FAQs and helpful people willing to answer your questions.) All in all the game is very inspiring and unique, with every map and town hand-crafted by none other than Jeff Vogel himself.

5/5, a must buy if you're into isometric RPGs, with a compelling storyline and good combat system.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
Recommended
52.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 12, 2015
Avadon was my first foray into the crazy world of game designer Jeff Vogel, and boy is it a treat. I sincerely can't remember when was the last good turn-based RPG released, but the Avadon games are certainly refreshing the genre.

Great story, lots of interesting dialogue and a lot of great lore are the name of the game with Avadon.

The story, while underwhelming at first, picks up after you complete your first mission in the lands of the Kva, and the fun doesn't stop until the end, all accompanied with epic, strategic battles that really have you figuring out a puzzle than simply rushing ahead if you play at a nice pace of difficulty. Most of the side missions all add a lot of life to the world and really make you want to play them and forget the main quest...most of the time.

Combat is simplistic at its core. yet very subtle in how it chooses to show its difficulty. You pick from your team two members for each mission to assist, and they all have their unique and very intriguing differences that force you to take your time in choosing them before each mission. You all take turns to move and attack, and all the different patterns for each battle is pretty unique and makes for interesting battles every time you think about reloading!

The graphics, while simple in nature, are all very well done, and fit well with the overall theme and are nothing to scoff at for any hardcore tbRPG gamer.

I can't recommend it enough for people who miss Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and similar games.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
48.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 8, 2015
An old-school dungeon-crawling RPG focusing on immersive reading and imagination. Don't go to it if you are looking for visual and auditory stimulations or deep character development both in mechanics and narrative, this is not a good game on those. However, it just provides a nice stage for your bold adventure, a medicore curve of settings for your (pre-defined) party to progress within. You, as a part-freelancer and order-enforcer at the same time, are not caught in a web of diplometic conspiracy, but instead trapped in compromised world full of conflicts, under the table.

I would recommend this to people who don't mind simple and straight gameplay/content that is not procedurally generated, if exploration is what you really care. As an story-driven RPG, softcore and streamline, all you need to enjoy the game is to ignore the poor presentation of gfx/snd, and to get yourself immersed in, of course.

Read before Act, you fool.

---
Pros:
narrative
cool background
active journal record
no dialog maze
companion interaction in dialog
tons of garbage for your collection
satisfying loot

Cons:
need more character creation options for diversity
need bigger chars and better animations
lacking of freedom of behavior
not-so-good gameplay balance
poor quest log updating
somewhat clumsy interface
NO background music
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
89.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2015
I played this game for a very long time. Looking back, I'm not totally sure why I continued to play. I don't remember playing the game with fondness; instead, I remember repetitive, lifeless turn-based gameplay. Maybe it was just that the amount of games available for Linux at the time was quite limited, and I needed something to pass the time. Anyway ...

Of particular note, I think, is the moment I stopped playing this game. I'm going to try to talk about that moment with some abstraction, such that it doesn't spoil anything about the game. In (what I believe is) the last fight in the game, a new dynamic is introduced that none of the other fights in the game even came close to touching upon. This would have been fine if other fights in the game had other, interesting dynamics, but combat in this game is largely a static affair. So, when I went into this fight, I expected the fight to follow the same formula as every single other fight in the game. After a few attempts, I figured out what was going on, and realized that the dynamic that was being used made it nearly impossible to win the fight using my max-level characters.

I never played the game again.

2/10.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 2, 2015
Boring and soulless cRPG. Even if you like other of Vogel's series (Geneforge and Avernum) you should pass on this game, because it falls short in comparison. If you don't like other Vogel's series, then you'd rather enjoy hitting your balls more than playing Avadon. Annoying combat and interface, huge and empty world, boring dialogues and story. The setting is another fantasy, so I won't even mention how banal and unremarkable it is. Even if you get this game for free, it's not worth your time.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 19, 2015
Every time I tried to get into this I'd run into a game breaking bug.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
360 of 461 people (78%) found this review helpful
11 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
40.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 27, 2014
I bought this game a long time ago for a decent amount of money, but since it's a long game, I postponed playing it... Until recently.

Many of the "recommended" reviews here are from people who spent a very, very short time playing Avadon. Had I written such a review when I was only a couple of hours into the game, it would have been positive, too. It was very fun at the start... but then it became profoundly NOT fun.

You see, early on, you have a couple of quests and a couple of locations. You have various characters, you find items, battles are nice, you get better loot, your characters work in synergy... And then the game suddenly becomes a chore. Quests pile up. The quest texts never get updated. There are no indicators anywhere about the people you need to visit or return to. No indicator of what you need to do. I spent a lot of time going around and talking to people, only to find out that a quest isn't over. The loot doesn't scale up. Your damage doesn't scale up. And the game difficulty (I played on "normal") suddenly switches to "most frustrating game ever". You die. You die a lot. You are too weak. You need luck with the RNG, and you need potions and scrolls in greater amounts that you can obtain. Your abilities are on a large cooldown. Again, not enough potions to alleviate that. To add insult to injury, you spend vitality on abilities and vitality *does not recharge by itself*. You need to basically go back to the Avadon fortress on a semi-regular basis. There's no real quick-travel system, so every time you want to do that, you're looking at about five wasted minutes.

About 15 hours in, I seriously contemplated quitting right there and then; but I said to myself "you spent more on this than on many other games, so you NEED to finish it". I had a quest to follow a warrior into the woods and clear out some spiders. "Some" turned out to be about four nests of four to five spiders each. They were teleporting spiders which cast corrupting spells and thus did a lot of damage-over-time. Took me an hour to finally win that sidequest. Okay, I said, this is one of the harder battles; let's continue. Then I found what was an almost unbeatable Shade. Somehow managed to get that done as well. Then I found an evil Drake that spawned minions *and* mind-controlled several tough soldiers (EDIT: forgot to mention that it was HEALING those soldiers, so every time you came close to killing one, it would be healed to max HP; repeat 4-5 times, while your characters die and you've spent all of your potions). That... that was unbeatable, and it was the turning point at which I resorted to cheats: bumped my characters to level 30, then constantly used healing, shields and ability cooldown reset.

I gave up on the sidequests. I have no idea where I found most of the people and what I needed to do next (again - the quest system is extremely rudimentary and doesn't tell you anything). Even with constant cheating, it took me a total of 40 hours to finish the main story line.

Disregard the "recommended" reviews, honestly, and check the achievements:

Only 1/3 of the total number of players met a certain NPC called Redbeard, and that happens *very* early into the game.

Only 1/50 (a measly 2%) of the players finished Avadon. Two percent. Wow.

You see all those <40hr reviews? Yeah, they recommended a game they never finished. If it's so fun and great and awesome, why did they stop playing? Because of the issues I mentioned here. Let's not even get into "OMG BEST GAME EVER!!11" reviews from people with 1-5 hours in.

Skip this. Honestly. Even if you get this in a bundle, it's just not worth playing. Get an RPG that's actually fun.

If you *do* feel masochistic and try to play without cheating, I'll give you a tip: in this game, Dexterity rules. Get it to a minimum of 25.

Highly not recommended.
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57 of 59 people (97%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
100.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2014
IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Frankly this is probably old news to many of you reading this. I'm ashamed that I didn't know about these Spiderweb titles previously.

Gather round me children, for there's a tale I'd like to share. Once there was a time when video games entertained the player an immersive story and provocative challenges that kept you playing for hours.

I've never liked the term "dungeon crawler". To me the crawler part implies slow which let's be honest, is generally associated with boring in the world of books, movies and video games. When was the last time you couldn't wait to dig in to a slow book someone recommended?
So when I saw that genre ascribed to this and other Spiderweb titles I dismissed them pretty quickly. I didn't feel like click-spamming my way through another shallow DC chasing the next-best weapon for hours on end - mindlessly racing to the next waypoint, only taking breaks to managing a mountain of gear (/cough...torchlight)...

So as I was browsing my games library through titles I'll never get to and I barely recognize, the term "turn-based" caught my eye.
"Turn-based"...dungeon-crawler?
Now that's a name I"ve not heard in a long time. A long time.

I must have played through "Planescape: Torment" three times since it's release. The same can be said for "Fallout 1/2".
I can't chalk up their awesome replayablility to nostalgia any more. These are simply incredibly entertaining titles and the reason I've played them all so often is that nothing after (to my knowledge) ever properly took up where they left off. Well that was until I discovered this game.

This game, like Planescape and Fallout 1&2 focus on story depth, simple, intuitive UI/game mechanics, and challenging "strategic" (yet simple) combat. I don't mean simple as in "easy", I just mean you will very quickly become well-versed your battle playbook and the challenge lies in making good decisions as it is turn-based.
If you're familiar Fallout 1 & 2 or Planescape Torment then to put it simply this game is very similar to those but in a classic fantasy setting. It's also a nice reminder of the days when RPG titles didn't hold your hand every step of the way. The quest descriptions are clear, but the objectives are kept broad enough keep the players guessing as to how exactly to complete them.

Combine all of the above with perfectly classic "if-it-ain't-broke" fantasy RPG elements and you have this surprisingly impressive game. I can't recommend this title enough for old-school PC nerds like myself as well as newcomers.

I could go on and on but I gotta get back to the game.
I give it 2 ogre-thumbs up
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42 of 48 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
47.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2013
If you're familiar with Spiderweb Software's RPGs, it will come as no surprise that Avadon: The Black Fortress is another extensive old school party-based trek through areas full of nooks and crannies with unique encounters and secret loot caches to be had, as well as exciting set piece encounters and an intriguing overall narrative. That's pretty much true of everything they put out. The big changes to the formula are: a new world; a significantly more linear progression than most of the other entries in their lineup, a class-and-skill-tree approach to character builds, and party members who are fully fledged NPCs that contribute insights and dialogue throughout the plot as you move through it, can be spoken to between missions, and have their own side agendas you will have to deal with.

The new world is an intriguing fantasy setting where five disparate and feuding lands have banded together in a defensive pact against pirates, invading empires, marauding humanoids and dragons, a blighted magical corruption, and other exterior threats. The pact is held together by the dictatorial enforcement of the Black Fortress Avadon, and they maintain a network of spies and enforcement agents to ensure compliance. The fairly unique conceit of this particular entry (and who knows, perhaps followup games in the series) is that you play Hands of Avadon, sent to enforce the laws of the pact and defend it from threats within and without. This gives you rather more authority and a much more fearsome reputation than your typical band of wandering adventurers, and this is used to good effect throughout, although alas you still have to contend with buying your own supplies, a tired RPG trope that seems even more out of place in this context (though they do attempt to explain it).

The linearity is somewhat unfortunate, but things do open up as you gain access to more of the areas and return to zones on new missions, and most of the sidequests can be done at your leisure. Still, the flipside of linearity is that you're always being sent into challenges that you should be equipped to handle, and it's always clear what you're expected to do next, neither of which are guaranteed in more open formats.

I am personally a big fan of Avadon's approach to skills and classes. I find the structure of new ability at rank 1, additional effect(s) at later ranks, and unlocking a secondary ability at a late rank very rewarding and I never feel like my points are wasted or that I have to save points from level to level just to advance at all, which have been issues I've historically had with the more freeform skill approach earlier Spiderweb games took (and other games with skill systems, for that matter). And Avernum in particular suffered from boring fighter syndrome where spellcasters got huge suites of spells to cast for a varied combat experience and fighters...got to hit things. Not here. The Blademaster class even passively is a blast, with heavy passive investment rewarding cleaves, a hilariously effective level of hit prevention, and the chance to riposte, curse enemies, or begin regenerating if hit, and then on top of that gets group buffs and debuffs and attacks with additional secondary effects. The Shadowwalker hurls shurikens, teleports around, throws pots of acid and smoke bombs, backstabs and poisons, and is a huge fountain of damage in general. (Needless to say, I was pleased when the Avernum remake cribbed from this system, albeit in a more Avernum-y way.)

As for the NPCs - there's one of every type, you get them all pretty nearly immediately, they stay levelled with you even if you're not using them, and they all have interesting personalities and backstories. I've never been a huge fan of the "party too large for everyone to simultaneously adventure with you" thing, but this is about as good as it gets considering that.

So all in all, another classic RPG. It's not quite as old school as previous series from Spiderweb, but the deviations from that formula mostly are in the vein of improvements in RPG design, in my book, not stepping away from the core appeal.
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55 of 72 people (76%) found this review helpful
Recommended
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 12, 2013
Avadon: The Black Fortress is a fine modern RPG made in the old-school style. Except better: no swapping floppy disks or CDs! But it makes me a little sad to say that it feels like a chore to play.

Visually, Avadon exists in a 1995 timewarp: Better looking than the SSI "Gold Box" D&D RPGs, but not as nice as the Baldur's Gate era games from Bioware/Black Isle.

But Avadon isn't so concerned about appearances. What makes this old-looking game work in 2013 is how fluid the experience is. It looks dated, but it streamlines gameplay, and adds modern features like skill trees, and the ability to scale the game difficulty if you want to move more quickly through the game's difficult bits. And your character speeds around the screen! No more waiting as your party trudges around the map; this game respects your time, as your characters hustle around in loose formation.

But this fast game pace brings me to the part that I don't like. Avadon is big on prose, like RPGs used to be. Avadon makes up for its stick-figure graphics by providing rich, descriptive storytelling. There's a lot of reading to be done, and no voice acting. So far, so good.

But in Avadon, your character moves so quickly from encounter to encounter, you find yourself reading constantly. There's no break. It's like reading a book. Frankly, I find myself resenting how much reading this game is asking me to do. And I kept nodding off as I was playing.

Baldur's Gate was probably a 80 hour game. Avadon makes me wonder how much of that time was just trudging around on the screen, revealing the dark parts. Walking from place to place. The pace was slow, but maybe that was an intentional break from all the reading we were asked to do back then. Walk a little, fight a little, walk a little, read a little. In Avadon, it feels like read-run-read-run-read-run. So... much... reading.

I recommend Avadon, because I respect how fine of a job Spiderweb has done to streamline old game mechanics, while still maintaining a flavorful, old-school feeling. And the story's good! But bring your spectacles; you're going to be doing a lot of reading as you play.

On a related note, I recently purchased a pack of classic Bioware RPGs from GOG.com. I plan to go back and finish the games from that era that I never played -- Baldur's Gate 2, Icewind Dale. I look forward to seeing how I feel about playing these games 15 years later. Will the pacing feel better than Avadon? Stay tuned to find out.
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32 of 35 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
53.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 3, 2014
A very well-crafted game world. What the writing lacks in concision it makes up for in quality. The RPG gameplay is engaging, if not a bit OCD-inducing. My major gripe with the game would be the repetitive ambient sounds used in place of music, but that mostly comes my having previously played other Spiderweb Software games that also recycled these sounds. Still, though, the gameplay and player-influenceable story are more than enough to make the game worth playing on their own.

Edit: after reading some of the other reviews, I should mention that I'm playing on Casual (not ashamed to admit it), so I'm not really experiencing some of the difficulty-related complaints that others are. Pretty much the only difficulty-related thing I'm running into is that I don't really have a chance to use up my consumables fast enough on Casual, so I probably waste more time managing my inventory than I might on a harder difficulty. But that's very minor.
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80 of 116 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
50.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 11, 2014
It took me around 50 hours to play through this turn-based oldschool RPG made by Spiderweb Software. I bought it with 75% off, but I wouldn't recommend it. Only Linux users may find some value in this game. Windows users should pay GOG a visit and get some really classic RPGs. Why, you will ask. Let me explain:

The Good
The story about the Black Fortress that ensures peace in The Pact by bringing evils foes to justice really appealed to me. There are interesting characters, lots of background information and quickly I found myself playing for hours without even realising how much time went by. Thanks to unique boss fights, combat never gets too repeating. The skill trees are also easy to comprehend. Last but not least, the absence of question marks above NPCs to indicate aviable quests, whose destinations are not marked on the map, made the whole thing a bit more realistic. Just once or twice I wasn't 100% sure what to do, but in the end it became clear.

The Bad
Some fights are unbalanced and almost impossible to win. I played on "normal" difficulty, but I still had problems from time to time. You often get the feeling that the AI is cheating; they have so many more action points to spend every round, but your characters only manage to use one or two skills at most. Futhermore, skills that stun or immobilise your characters are in some cases so fatal that you can only watch your party die without being able to do anything. The dialoques with average NPCs never really matter; you can make them angry, so that they abort the conservation, but when you talk to them once more, everything's fine again. Only selected NPCs "listen" to what you have to say. Another major annoyance are the traders, whose inventory never replenishes. Bought all lockpicks? He/ she won't get new ones to sell...While playing you will end up with many locked doors that couldn't be opened. Some of them are even quest-related, which means you are not able to complete certain ones. Equipped items never change the appearence of the characters. So even if you gained the best gear you can possibly get, your party will always look like it just left Avadon for the first time.

Probably, there are even more things that ruin Avadon: The Black Fortress, but these were the ones that bugged me the most. However, it's not a bad game at all. It's just not for everyone and there are much better alternatives out there.
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21 of 21 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
24.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2014
My recommendation comes with a caveat, I am only recommending this to people who enjoy turn-based cRPGs. I personally am not a fan of turn based combat, which is the reason I eventually gave up on finishing the game.

Visually and audibly, the game is nothing to write home about, being made by one person it is understanable and they are functional enough not to detract from the game in any major way.

Gameplay in my opinion is bland and uninspired, the turn based combat is quite slow and you are often faced with trash mobs that make the game stutter along at a slow pace. Later battles are frustratingly difficult, as you have to spend a long time clicking through the turns before you sometimes realise you haven't a hope of winning and have to reload. I eventually got sick of trying to beat a particular fight and called it quits.

Where the game shines is in its writing and story, I really enjoyed pouring over the descriptions of locations and the characterisation is pretty good in the people you meet. I find it a shame I couldn't bring myself to finish the game because I would have liked to know what happens.

So I will recommend this game to people who are into old school turn-based cRPGs, but if slow pacing and turn-based combat make you yawn you might want to check elsewhere.
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20 of 23 people (87%) found this review helpful
Recommended
70.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 7, 2013
If you like (old-school) RPGs and lots of reading then this is the thing just for you.
Play time for this game is about 70-80h which is "normal" for that sort of game I would say.
The only problems I found were the lack of music and that some choices you were given werent actual choices at all. Meaning that whether you choose this or that made no difference whatsoever.

Dont even bother trying to fight Redbeard. IMPOSSIBLE is the understatement of the century.
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19 of 22 people (86%) found this review helpful
Recommended
41.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 29, 2014
Spiderwb Software is know for their old-school RPGs, and rightfully so. Intersting NPCs, well thought out story, and a well designed world that feels alive. Character advancment is solid and reminds me of Diablo 2. The combat is turn based and fairly well balanced. If you get stuck, or find it too easy, you can adjust the difficulty in game. I'm at 40+ hours at the time of writing this and I think I'm (maybe) half way through, so there's plenty of content for your money. Oh.. and no random encounters to frustrate you when you just trying to get around. Once you clear out an area, it stays clear.

That said, the graphics can be hard on the eyes. Literaly. If your screen isn't huge and you turn the resolution all the way up. It makes the text tiny (and there's lots of text!). Moving around gets a little tedious at times when quests have you running back and forth. (There is quick travel, but it only goes so far.)

This game isn't for everyone, but fans of classic PC RPGs will enjoy the nostalgia. I know I did.
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17 of 19 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
50.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 26, 2015
after 50ish long hours of fun and often intense gameplay i have beaten my first spidweb game.
I highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of turnbased strategy rpg games. the story is very good the lore is awesome and its not too hard once you learn the basics. there are a few incredibly tough fights even on normal mode. i managed to get the keeper ending the servant of avadon ending. now im off to the sequel.
but if there is one thing i dislike about this game is the fact that is contains multiple endings. now some people like or even love multiple ending games. as for me i rather despise them. for starters i like to have a canon ending and i also like to see all the story and when there is multiple endings that means the story branches which means i have to play even more. and while i love playing this game i do not like having to repeat the story only to go down a slightly different path. but now im just nitpicking, all things considered i HIGHLY recommend this game, and all the other products of this company.(granted i have only played demos of the other games but they are still fun.)
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37 of 55 people (67%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
46.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 17, 2014
The game doesn't have great visuals nor any music ingame, but that isn't why I give a negative rating. It starts quite interesting and the design of the first 'dungeon' is really good. Levelling the first ten levels makes your character a lot stronger plus the story and characters get you interested in more. I'd say after around half of the game it falls apart. The levelling gets boring and the combat tedious as every enemy uses special abilities every round to increase the difficulty. This is just annoying and slows the game down to a halt. The locations are overly reused and the story rushes towards the grand finale without making much sense anymore.

Overall it's a not really bad turn based RPG, but it's simply not worth your time eventually. There are better RPGs out there and you should be playing them instead.
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16 of 18 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
56.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 6, 2015
Let me just say, I love all of the Spiderweb games. That being said, Avadon just might be their best game. While it is most definitely more linear than Geneforge or Avernum, the story and companion dialogue more than make up for it. You can spend the game looking for twists on your first playthrough, but I would bet that you wouldn't be able to guess most of what happens, especially because a decent amount of plot direction depends on what decisions you make. Whenever you hear someone say something like, "For a game to be immersive it has to have fantastic graphics and a mega budget", show them this. I feel very fulfilled having just finished this game for the first time, and feel a compelling urge to start a second playthrough. Do yourself a favor and buy this game.
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21 of 27 people (78%) found this review helpful
Recommended
76.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 20, 2014
Graphically, Avadon is very basic and quite primitive. The sounds also bear this same basic style, with the only music you will hear being from the main menu. All in-game sounds are done adequately though. You will hear your enemies roar and groan, coins, equipment, magic, and all other sounds you may come to expect from a fantasy setting. You should expect to do an immense amount of reading throughout the game. Because of this, the overall gameplay experience seems notably slow paced. While the story and gameplay are rudimentary, Avadon does flow, and there is fun to be had with the turn based combat, item looting, and enhancing the members of your party. Mouse clicking gets severely unresponsive as you play, causing the user to click each action three times or more. This is a major problem. To correct this, all one could do is play the game fresh from a system reboot. Within ten to fifteen minutes after the reboot, the mouse clicking and performance problems will return and stay. Very slowly, the game becomes more interesting and more challenging. The way quests are completed is somewhat awkward. You must go back to the exact place where the quest originated from, and go through the NPC dialog, exclaiming that whatever deed has been done. This would be okay if the map marked where these places are located, or where such NPCs are, but map markings are far from complete. Some quests are so ambiguous, that I found no other way to complete them other than looking at maps made available online. Several of the quests were created in such a way that they nitpick the player into minute details that are very difficult to discern. Avadon seems to drag itself most of the way, mostly because of its slow pace and repetitive game play, but also because of its drab visuals and minimal sounds. Some enemies can be challenging, and interesting to fight against. The variety in creatures is not expansive nor creative, but Avadon manages to keep the encounters enjoyable. The boss battles are difficult, exciting, and fun. The way abilities, spells, and vitality work together is both fair and balanced, providing for an appealing strategy between the usage of weapons and the rest of each character's repertoire. Ultimately, you will become acquainted with your character's powers, and you will eventually appreciate the game's subtle entertainment. The storyline is not very imaginative, nor is it very absorbing. It is conventional in every way imaginable. Also, once you defeat enemies located in a certain area, they will not respawn. Some of the keyboard shortcuts only allow you to activate their respective windows. Pressing the same keyboard shortcut does not deactivate the window. This is minor, but it is still a problem nonetheless. The quests are varied, but feel repetitive in execution. This is mostly because the environs and enemies look very similar from one to the next. Some of your adversaries are so arrogant that you will hate them and enjoy being the reason for their ultimate demise. The most rewarding part of Avadon involves leveling up your characters, equipping the discovered loot, and enhancing their specific abilities. The game often causes serious temporary problems with Windows if you Alt-Tab out of it. Performance issues are borderline ridiculous for a game with such a minimalist design and coarse implementation. In addition, the developer programmed the game to change the speakers' settings in Windows and not return them to the setup it was originally saved to. This is totally unacceptable. The performance problems in conjunction with the other developmental issues is proof of clearly awful programming, or at the very least inadequate porting from the original Mac version. There is basically no creativity whatsoever in Avadon. Every aspect of the game has been done before, for PC and consoles, even in the 80s. After a long while of repetitive, bland, and lackluster gameplay, you will hope for the game to end as soon as possible, but it doesn't. Avadon is clearly 50 hours too long. Much could have been condensed to save players from the tedium. After withstanding the exaggerated amount of hours, the final battle is incredibly frustrating, boring, and poorly implemented. In the end, I decided to quit trying and take a different dialogue path to complete the game. It is that bad. If you would like to read about how poorly designed the final battle is and how much players have complained, peruse the official forums. You won't have anything spoiled, as the ending could have been foreseen from the first half hour of play. This is all quite unfortunate. The finale left me with a feelings of time wasted and disappointment. I understand that the game was designed by one person, but with independent developers often excelling the multi-million Dollar studios, there is no excuse for poor execution anymore.

Avadon: The Black Fortress is okay.
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18 of 22 people (82%) found this review helpful
Recommended
130.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 22, 2015
For all the RPG's Funs out there... This is a fair game in a reasonable price for the hours of gameplay that offers (100+).
Grapics : 6/10 (outdated reminds me of 90's)
Sound : 3/10 (No music, no Speaking voice... just a repeative soundtrack in loading screen and ugly sounds during playtime)
Story : 8/10 (the best asset of the game... It's intriguing, it feels like a Hand of Avadon indeed - There are decisions to be made and there is the feeling that the game is affected by them... (even if thats not the case)
Gameplay: 6/10 (action points system + leveling up characters + abilities in each type of character and in each level = fair enough but could be a lot better.. How many AP's is exacly one attack? I finished the game and still don't Know 8? 7? or 1?)
Duration: 7/10 (100+ hours and you dont get borred)
SO FINAL SCORE --> 6 = (6+3+8+6+7)/5
for RPG Funs would go like this (if you thinking like me) --> 7.6 =[6+3+(8*2)+6+7]/5
(the story carries more weight on final score thats why I multiplied it by 2)
If you dont like RPGs dont buy it
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