Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. A breath of fresh air in the RPG genre, with highly rendered graphics, huge playing fields, and an excellent experience system allowing unprecedented freedom of development, not to mention the interesting storyline.
  2. Let’s trim it down to a single conclusion: if you like RPGs, get this game. Right now.
  3. Although the characters you meet along the way try to guide you through the game, Arcanum really leaves most of what happens up to the player.
  4. If you can’t find something to love about this game, dump your computer in the garbage right now. Arcanum epitomizes what people like you and me love most about PC gaming.
  5. A slowly seductive game, a deep and demanding affair with a steep learning curve and a voracious appetite for your spare time. It's all the more impressive that the more time you devote to the game.
  6. One of those games that deserve to be played for a long while.
  7. 89
    A fantastic game that will keep you enthralled for hours and hours. There are some annoying bugs, but even those can't derail this exceptional gaming experience.
  8. 87
    A delightful RPG with plenty to offer to those of you looking for a detailed storyline, rich atmosphere, and one of the best character development systems ever. It's good to see that the RPG tradition is still alive.
  9. The type of game that reminds me why I do this job – the game is an absolute pleasure from start to finish.
  10. 80
    Also, while the depth of the game means a richer experience, it can be quite intimidating and overwhelming at first, even for the experienced player. Thankfully, there's a 189-page manual and handy Hot Key menu card and map to keep beside the PC while playing.
  11. The most disappointing facet of the visuals would have to be the character graphics which are lacking in detail, are poorly animated and remind us more of flimsy cardboard cut outs that wobble about than real flesh and blood individuals.
  12. I thought the gameplay was good enough to make up for the deficient engine, and I found Arcanum to be a worthy successor to the Fallout series.
  13. 80
    Underneath the merely decent graphics and a problematic combat system is an adventure capable of sweeping anyone away with its superb quality.
  14. 80
    There truly is a deep, rewarding, and splendiferous RPG behind Arcanum’s dated, clunky machina…but only the most intrepid RPG fanatics will have the patience to dig it out.
  15. New features and a solid storyline should keep even the most veteran players busy for quite sometime.
  16. I still rate Arcanum as one of my favourite games. For me, it's the game play that really counts, and Arcanum has bucketloads of that!
  17. It's unique setting and departure from more traditional RPG elements will certainly endear it to many players.
  18. Suffers from a host of rather serious flaws, including an overall lack of polish, which can end up making the game disappointing more often than enjoyable for some players. These problems veil what's an otherwise captivating and immersive role-playing experience.
  19. Ultimately an entertaining title, but one with enough quirks to prevent it from attaining true RPG greatness.
  20. What it lacks in polish, it makes up for with that elusive "fun factor" that you can feel even when you can't always pin it down.
  21. 70
    Unfortunately, there is one area in Arcanum that truly fails to hold up with the rest of the game—the combat engine. Combat is overly simplified and feels a lot like it was added on as an afterthought.
  22. If you're looking for a long-term relationship with a complicated, temperamental (I have nervous breakdowns all the time), frustratingly smart game, then baby, I'm your man. Otherwise, I'm just trouble.
  23. Between the somewhat overly complicated nature of the game and the slow, dull battles there just wasn't a lot to get excited about in the game.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 143 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 35
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 35
  3. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. Mar 19, 2012
    This game is ugly (not because its graphics aren't cutting edge - it just looks bad), buggy, terribly balanced and in general gives off the impression of being rushed. Those rather large flaws aside it's an excellent RPG with a solid story, some interesting characters, a world with plenty of things to discover and one of the best character creation systems I've ever used in a CRPG. One of Troika's great unfinished masterpieces. Three stars, four with the unofficial patch. Full Review »
  2. Aug 8, 2013
    This is by far one of THE best RPG games I've ever played. The steampunk mix of technology and magic is wonderful. The guns are bit underpowered, but the game is fun.

    The dialog is fun. The environments are beautiful, varied and interesting. There are a LOT of interesting people to meet and talk to. There are SO many quests and adventures.

    The story is surprising and delightful.

    The choices I make in the game have consequences.

    The only bad thing I can say about the game is that they didn't finish all the endings. Without the right mods, you can't naturally get some of the "bad" endings. There is also one quest that ends up being unsolvable. Some people actually LIKE that you can't do anything about it. Some people hate it. It has artistic merit, even if it does sting a bit to be unable to right that particular wrong.

    But the game is so detailed and there is SO much to see, do and discover that I can easily forgive a lot of faults in this game.

    I love how the character I choose completely changes the encounters. Race and gender have real effects on the people I meet.

    I love this game!
    Full Review »
  3. May 4, 2012
    This game has a lot of faults, some of which are quite annoying but from a RPG perspective it is absolutely top notch. Fantastic character creation and development, great replayability, lots of joinable NPCs, some tough decisions to make and lots of charm. The magic/technology dichotomy is handled very well and the narrative is more than respectable. I enjoyed it and if you can forgive its faults you will too. This game could have been a 10 and I don't think I will say that about too many games that I score an 8. Definitely worth your time. Full Review »