The 2D RPG "Avadon" brings turn-based but fast combat, many pages of plot and subtle decision-making.

User Rating: 9.5 | Avadon: The Black Fortress LNX
Avadon: The Black Fortress (A:TBF) is an isometric 2D RPG with many pages of plot and dialog, many items, item enchanting, non-breakable weapons and large maps to explore.

Plot and people

Central characters in the game express individuality and have charisma and there is much subtle humor and sarcasm to be read and said in the many lines of dialog and multiple choice trees.
I must admit that I'm not the type that will read every line of text, so here is my plot summary:

You are some helper/errand-boy/girl of the "Hand" class and serve some strong-character Women who serves some charismatic-ally arrogant bearded god(?). You investigate strange events and then have to solve them. For example a dragon - which only doesn't attack your people, because there is a contract in place (which you find out because he speaks his mind very straightforwardly) - demands protection from annoying goblins (or whats-that-races-face in A:TBF?). Or that strange shadow beast that you have to take care of...

Often you can try to resolve conflicts peacefully but it appears to me that this might be impossible. On the other hand it never feels that my character and even the dialog partner didn't do their best to at least try... Usually games that are linear will simply cut out the option to try other solutions. Here, you have the space to role-play, even if the resulting tasks for you are the same.

I'm not certain whether there are ways to play the plot in different manners. It seems to me that all conflicts get resolved through battle that the main difference is how you decide to fight, depending on the combination of your main characters and the party members.

Objects and items:

Many of the items (ropes, bricks, broken swords) seem to serve no purpose but sculpting the environment and sometimes being worth a coin or two to merchants. After a while, it becomes easy to tell the difference and your relationship to the objects you can carry and equip becomes clear.

There are doors and containers that need to be unlocked, but there are only few lock-pick items in the game and it's hard for me to decide to spend any skill points on enhancing unlocking doors, when I can instead unlock new skills that serve in battle.

The impressive:

What amazed me most about A:TBF is how some logistical problems were solved, ignoring realism but adding loads of choice and comfort to the player:

1. Item weight only matters, when equipping it to characters.
2. Item space is unlimited also, if you use the 'trash bag', which allows you to sell all its content with one click, when you reach a trader. Topping this could only the ability to sell and buy items at any point in the game.
3. While you can only take two NPC party members with you, the others that stay in the hub will receive the same experience, when you return. This way you have the option to switch party members even later in the game.
4. There actually is an infinity-engine like text console, which allows to easily track recent messages.

The disappointing:

A few user interface features are missing:

1. Hovered dialog choice text is not highlighted.
3. Skill trees don't clearly reveal what happens when you upgrade skills that have been already unlocked. This hardly matters, though, as unlocking and trying out all the skills is much more interesting than upgrading only a few of them.
4. Battle movement and actions don't show how many APs will be spent and you don't see the walk range of you character
5. Fog of war is not visible on the minimap and the big-size minimap cannot be used for moving the viewport

On getting stuck:

So far I only got stuck once, and it turns out that this was due to me playing a non-secretive character. I must have skipped through a dialog which informed me about that I shouldn't share my information with all the people around me. This showed me that you have to really love reading to properly follow the plot.

Nevertheless, my method of skipping most of the dialog allowed me to progress without too much problems and I look forward to finishing the game.