Ye Olde Roleplaying – Avernum 2: Crystal Souls Released

Portraits! Items! Castles!

“Ooh they don’t make RPGs liked they used to,” grumps an imaginary person I’ve created for the sole purpose of illustrating a sentiment I’ve heard around. The thing is, Imaginary Person, they do make ’em like they used to. Spiderweb Software never even stopped making ’em like they used to, and now they’re remaking ’em like they used to too, or remaking remakes even. Today the two-person studio released their second remake from the remade Avernum series, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. There’s your RPG like they used to make ’em. I’m done with you now, Imaginary Person. You can stop existing. Don’t worry about your partner and child. Goodbye.

As Adam pointed out, Spiderweb are boasting about plenty of nice big numbers in the fantasy RPG: 40 hours of gameplay; 100 towns and dungeons; dozens of side quests; hundreds of magical artifacts; 60 spells and battle disciplines. Technically it’s a remake of the remake of Exile II: Crystal Souls, but don’t worry about coming in blind; Spiderweb say it’s “self-contained, and previous experience with Avernum games isn’t required.”

Our John enjoyed the last one, interface woes aside, so fingers crossed for this.

I imagine we’ll all get to have a bash soon, as Spiderweb are always good with demos. For the next few hours, you can only buy it by throwing £10.89 at GOG (who have a £1.90 launch discount), but Spiderweb will sell it direct and it’ll be on Steam too.


  1. Monggerel says:

    Actually, I want a small world with a concise plot focusing on a handful of characters and preferably not too many hours of gameplay.

    • Kefren says:

      A single standalone mission of HOMM2/HOMM3 it is then!

    • Herbal Space Program says:

      Telltate games sound like your jam.

    • misterT0AST says:

      Can there even be concise and to-the point linear RPGs?
      None comes to mind.
      Evoland maybe, and some minor indie RPGs, usually parodies or experimental things rather than fleshed out games though.

      • Zallgrin says:

        Shadowrun: Dragonfall, Mars: War Logs and Planescape: Torment were all relatively concise, had a tight plot and you were limited to a single city or several not-to-big locations. Mask of the Betrayer and Fallout: New Vegas DLCs also fulfill all of those criterias (and I really loved them for it!)

        Granted, most of those RPGs still took like 30 hours to finish, but that is short by RPG standards.

        • ChairmanYang says:

          South Park: Stick of Truth and Chrono Trigger are both fairly to-the-point and fairly linear (although Chrono Trigger has some flexibility, and South Park has a good amount of optional stuff).

      • syllopsium says:

        Yes. Try Driftmoon.

  2. killias2 says:

    I haven’t played any of his other stuff, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first Avernum remake.. remake. It was quite good. I’ll be looking to pick this up sooner or later, though my backlog is a bit overflowing at the moment.

  3. RuySan says:

    Are the interface issues solved this time?

    I used to have an autohotkey script just for Spiderwebsoft games. I played a lot of them years ago but i burned out on them. Besides, i don’t any patience or time, these days, for games that are just “ok”…

    • Underwhelmed says:

      It looks identical, so on the bright side your macros should still work?

      These are great games, but yeah, if you cannot stand the interface and old-school “charm” isn’t your thing, then these are going to leave you cold. I wonder sometimes what it would be like if this guy had a team and a budget to sort those little gripes out.

  4. WHS says:

    Conveniently I just finished the first Arcanum remake about a week ago. I was honestly not even sure I was enjoying it at first, and then it suddenly ate my life and I sunk 100 hours into it and couldn’t quit until I’d uncovered every inch of the game.

    So I guess this release means I just lost the rest of the month.

  5. Harrington says:

    Outstanding. I grew up on the Exile series, but the first round of remakes left me cold and I wandered away from the company for a few years. Avadon and the recent Avernum remake brought me back – Avernum Escape from the Pit was absolutely terrific, easily one of my favorite RPG games from the past few years. Now I just twiddle my thumbs till this pops up on Steam.

  6. TomxJ says:

    Does anyone know how well the Spiderweb games translate to the feel pads? I just got a Nexus 7.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      It’s pretty awkward but not that bad. I didn’t have any troubles with the commands in general, but from time to time you will definitely suffer from ‘clicking’ on something you didn’t want to and stuff like that, because the screen is so little and the touchscreen only so precise. I’d rather play it on PC, but if you absolutely prefer the mobile version, it’s pretty playable.

    • teije says:

      They play very well indeed, and that’s how I play them now. On the iPad mini selecting some of the controls are fiddly, but on a full size ipad, no real issues.

  7. fnv23 says:

    I just registered to say that the ‘Dark Waters’ chapter of Exile/Avernum 2 is one of the best segments of an RPG I’ve ever played. I don’t know if the remake is divided into chapters, but however it appears in the game, I can’t wait to play it again. This just went to the top of my must play list!

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Seconding this. I always loved Exile/Avernum as a world, but that chapter feels like a total journey into the alien and unknown. One of the many reasons Crystal Souls is my fav Exile, and one of my favourite classic RPGs. Will be grabbing this – although probably not just yet because I’m a cheapskate (Read: “poor”).

    • Wonkyth says:

      The pacing in Exile 2 is simply amazing. It is quite literally the game that made me want to persue game development, and to this day it remains my favourite RPG of all time.

  8. Malkara says:

    Your person isn’t imaginary, it’s called 90% of the people at RPG Codex.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I think you mean 100%. :)

    • Harrington says:

      Ironically, Vogel is thoroughly disliked at RPG Codex – witness the response to the release of this game. It’s part of a mindset that drove me away from the site ages ago.

      • teije says:

        Nothing ironic about it. RPG Codex has the nastiest toned, wannabe edgy but really just pathetic forums I’ve ever encountered. So I avoid it now. RPG Watch is much friendlier.

        • Harrington says:

          Thanks for the heads up on RPGWatch; I’ll check it out. I thoroughly agree on your description of RPG Codex. As long as it’s been since I paid attention to their site, I was still fairly shocked to see Spiderweb’s games described there as “a little autistic.” I mean, jesus christ.

        • syllopsium says:

          That’s a little unfair. There are some people who are completely unreasonable on the codex, but there’s also a number of extremely well thought out comments if you wade through the dross.

          The question is whether you have the energy to wade through the dross..

          • teije says:

            I agree there is good stuff on there and lots of reasonable people. I just got tired of having to ignore the needlessly offensive crap to get to it. Too much time for too little return I guess.

        • Juan Carlo says:

          Codex is my favorite gaming forum. I like the spirit of anarchy and low moderation it has. True, that can lead to lots of idiocy and can attract some extreme elements, but it also leads to lots of brilliance at times.

          As to Vogel, he has lots of passionate supporters there, especially of the Geneforge games which are well loved. I think the biggest reason his reputation has soured with some on the forum, though, was because he specifically picked a fight with Codex on his blog when Avadon was released.

  9. raiders5000 says:

    I got three of their games: Avernum: Escape From the Pit, Avadon: The Black Fortress, and Avadon 2: The Corruption. I can’t seem to sink any time into them though. I get eager to play and start it up, but after 1 hour, it’s “save” time. They’re fun and all, but the readings tend to be a tad bit too long for me at times; halting the exploration part of the game. I will still, however, get Avernum 2: Crystal Souls but not until I AT LEAST finish Avernum: Escape From the Pit first.

  10. Bodylotion says:

    I have respect for the guy that makes these games. Although I did kinda like Avadon and Avernum somehow I stopped playing after a few hours but that’s my problem with most games these days.

  11. malkav11 says:

    They still don’t really make them like they used to, because there’s quite a bit of gameplay changes between the original incarnation of this series and the first round of remakes, much less this second round. Personally, I didn’t like the changes from Exile to Avernum, but I did like the changes from Avernum to Avernum. (That is, the most recent remake.) So I’ll definitely be picking up this new incarnation of Avernum II. (Though, really, I buy everything Spiderweb puts out, full stop.)

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Pretty much the same here. I loved the Exiles, then the first batch of Avernums came out and for whatever reason, I bounced off them HARD and just went back to Exile. But the new Escape from the Pit is fantastic, so I’m super excited to try this one.

  12. NathanH says:

    Does “I” close the inventory yet?

  13. kalzekdor says:

    Can’t go wrong with Spiderweb Software. Still hoping for a new Geneforge game, though.

  14. Afoxi says:

    Oh god, i played this when it was called Exile 2: Crystal Souls. Wonder if there are a lot of improvements Avernum brought in over the Exile series.