New World: Aeternum is a fresh start for Amazon Games' wide-scale RPG

After spending a few years on PC, Amazon Games is taking somewhat of a new approach with New World: Aeternum.

Amazon Games

Amazon Games had some grand plans for New World when it first released on PC in 2021. The publisher and the development team had hoped that this journey to a fantastical island would be one that lasted many years. However, after a tumultuous run, the time has come to give New World a makeover. New World: Aeternum isn't a totally new game, but it also isn't the exact same New World experience as before. It somewhat represents Amazon Games taking a mulligan and coming back with a new focus as more of an action RPG. Shacknews recently took a look at the reimagined New World: Aeternum during this year's Summer Game Fest and noticed some of the bigger differences that may give this second outing a longer shelf life.

The first thing to note is that the New World: Aeternum should look familiar in many ways to those who played the original game. For the most part, it's the same New World story, but it's now told with a lot more flash. New in-game cinematics express the game's narrative in a new way and this includes a totally revamped introduction. Seeing the dark forces looming over the island of Aeternum and watching characters like Irish pirate Grace O'Malley fending off the undead with her twin pistols gives the New World story a shot in the arm. It made me interested in at least seeing what comes next.

One of the other key features for Aeternum is its class archetypes. These resemble traditional character classes, starting players off with roles like the Mystic and the Musketeer. These selections determine the player's look, as well as their starting weapons. However, players are not bound to those weapons A Musketeer, for example, will start with a rapier and a musket, but if later in the game, they feel like they try their hand at a spear or a staff, they're welcome to try it. Whether this pans out for players in the long run remains to be seen, especially since some skills that are learned through character progression seem to be tied to those starter weapon types. On the subject of combat, Amazon has worked to improve it in a big way. As noted, Aeternum moves away from MMORPG combat and go more in an action RPG direction, adding big features like target locking.

Our short playthrough offered a small taste of Aeternum's solo experience. Between the cutscenes, the chatter with various NPCs, and the pacing of each objective, this game can easily be mistaken for a single-player RPG. However, as I got to later objectives, I started to come across other players, who also happened to be on the same mission. They didn't actively interfere with any of my objectives and, if anything, they helped out by clearing out some enemies. Those looking to play with others can do so in Aeternum. While we didn't get to see this specific aspect of the game, Aeternum will feature new 10-player raids along with a competitive experience in a dedicated PvP zone.

3v3 Arenas in New World: Aeternum

Source: Amazon Games

This was just a small taste of what New World: Aeternum had to offer. For most people who played the original, seeing will understandably be believing in regards to whether Aeternum is an improvement. With that said, Amazon is about to open the doors to a closed beta to give players a chance to try Aeternum out before its final release. This beta will only be available for the console version, since Amazon is looking to collect performance data for those platforms. Sign-ups for the closed beta are up on the New World website. The final version of New World: Aeternum will come to PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S on Tuesday, October 15. When it arrives, New World: Aeternum will replace the current New World on PC, essentially marking the end for its predecessor.

This preview is based on an early Xbox Series X|S version played during Summer Game Fest 2024 in Los Angeles, CA. The final product is subject to change.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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