From Moses and Oliver Twist to Baldur's Gate and Fable, the story of the gifted orphan who has to fight hard to eventually find its niche has been told again and again. Avencast: Rise of the Mage turns out to be a mage...Not that original a story but they manage to pull it off - as it gets really fun!
You may have no choice on your character and only limited customization options, but the novel gameplay and innovative controls will reward you. Tapping sequences for combo attacks and dodging in a PC cRPG?! Brilliant! You can opt for either Blood Magic (melee) or Soul Magic (ranged), but to mix-and-match from the skill trees is a solid advice.
As with another cRPG gem to come out of Eastern Europe the same year (The Witcher), loading-delays are a minor nuisance; surprisingly, though, they are shorter than those encountered in games developed by much larger studios. The BALDUR's GATE Saga had long loading times as well, yet I hardly ever noticed.
What WILL get on your nerves though is the...camera. If you thought that NWN had bad camera movement, well, this is worse: it moves in a very limited range and will take some time to get used to and find a comfortable setting.
Graphically it would be placed just above Dungeon Siege: the spells have been impressively designed and the cut-scenes have been done in stills of exceptional taste. Moreover, one has to appreciate the fact that all dialog is spoken, not just written. The music though is a collection staple cRPG themes that are neither annoying nor unforgettable.
This is a long cRPG, spanning for over 20-25 hours if one undertakes all possible quests (ranging from funny to quite intense). Both cRPG fans and novices will undoubtedly enjoy this one!