- Avowed showcases its unique style and potential to improve upon the successful formula seen in games like Skyrim.
- Avowed takes a more focused approach with a linear narrative and first-person combat, offering an evolution of the Skyrim-esque experience.
- Avowed’s combat system and companions have the potential to address the shortcomings of Skyrim and elevate the immersive and diverse elements of fantasy RPGs.
Obsidian Entertainment showcased the most gameplay seen yet from Avowed during Xbox’s January 2024 developer direct, and the upcoming RPG in the Pillars of Eternity universe is beginning to feel increasingly reminiscent of one of the most influential in recent years of the genre. Although it has been the subject of some disagreement among fans with differing expectations regarding the game’s tone and presentation, the unique style of Avowed could allow it to improve upon elements of a formula seen to be successful in titles like Skyrim.
Given its popularity throughout the 2010s, Bethesda’s Skyrim has been compared to Avowed by many gamers anticipating its similar take on an RPG. As the game’s development has proceeded, however, it has only become clearer that Obsidian has set how to create a project with much more of its own identity. Avowed is set to take a more focused approach than that of an open world like Skyrim’s, with a more linear narrative as a result. Despite this core difference, the game’s first-person combat in a fantasy world could feel like the evolution of a Skyrim-esque experience many fans have wanted for years.
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First-Person Combat in RPGs and Skyrim’s Popularity
Bethesda’s Formula and Classic RPGs
There is no shortage of popular releases within the fantasy RPG genre, but the subgenre of titles that feature real-time combat and a first-person perspective has become a smaller one in recent years. Early dungeon crawlers utilized the perspective as a clever way around rendering the player character, but RPGs shifted heavily towards third-person as technology evolved over the decades and became the norm. The Elder Scrolls series, along with Bethesda’s other major RPG franchises, have continued to have a first-person view as their primary forms of gameplay in a way that has allowed the studio to stand out.
Problems with RPG Combat Systems in First-Person
Skyrim has held up enough to maintain some substantial sales, but the dated nature of its gameplay has only become more apparent with the lack of a successor. Even at the time of its launch back in 2011, there have always been shortcomings in Skyrim‘s combat which seem to highlight that the mechanic isn’t truly the main focus of the game. As Avowed approaches to fill a similar niche later this year, there’s a chance that it could actually address some of these unresolved issues from Bethesda’s work.
How Obsidian is Pushing Combat Forward in Avowed
Avowed’s Focus on Options
With an impressive and varied presentation in terms of spell effects accompanying the presence of traditional melee weapons that RPGs usually feature, Avowed‘s first-person combat has a level of immersion that hasn’t been captured in many fantasy titles since the dominant presence of Skyrim was cemented. There are even guns in Avowed that seem to be just as viable as any other choice of weapon, with an emphasis on diverse builds that can be swapped between in the middle of a fight on the fly. While it’s still unknown how the player’s stats and equipment will factor into their approach to combat and the choice to bring so much into battle at once, there is a sense of feedback and spectacle atypical of the subgenre.
Potential for Obsidian-Quality Companions
Companions have been a particularly polarizing point of contention in several first-person RPGs, with Skyrim‘s set of followers offering a variable level of quality. When compared to more traditional titles in recent memory, the relatively shallow exploration found within companions in Tamriel is something that is seemingly set to be challenged in Avowed‘s world of the Living Lands. The party members Kai and Giatta seem to feature voiced dialogue of a higher quality that matches what Obsidian has achieved in previous outings, implying there could be unique backstories informing their abilities in battle. It might not be set to arrive until Fall of this year, but Avowed might finally iterate on a style that hasn’t seen such an effort on this scale in over a decade.
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