Avencast: Rise of the Mage

When we see games from smaller developers we're used to seeing poorly drawn comics or less than stellar animation in cutscenes. But Avencast features some really impressive cutscenes with layered hand drawn images in sepia. As the camera zooms in and out, images in the foreground and background shift. It's like watching a story book on acid, and results in a really unique look that fits with the dark and mysterious themes of the game.

Above: We really like the combination of animated and still images in the Avencast's cutscenes

With its FPS-like control scheme Avencast might potentially hit the nail - Richard Garriott's shooter/MMORPG, Tabula Rasa has been aiming for - on the head. But in the worst case scenario, Avencast's combo casting system might feel more like a chore than a fun twist on dungeon crawling combat. But with the ability to map your skills to hot keys, it looks like either way, Avencast: Rise of the Mage will be a title that any lover of loot and leveling up should keep their eye on.

Expect the title to release on October 30. In the meantime, head to theImagestab above for the latest screenshots and theMovies tab to see a new trailer.