Arx Fatalis Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 101 Ratings

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  • Summary: The goal of the game is to destroy the secret cult of Akbaa, the god of devastation and chaos, thereby preventing his return to the physical world. Should the player fail, the demon is bound to impose his reign of terror upon Arx. The player assumes the role of the potential hero, fights inside an underground fortress using wooden clubs, swords and magical items to defend himself against creatures including goblins, trolls, rat-men and other vicious opponents. However, brute force is not always the best way to succeed: The player has at his disposal the innovative new "onscreen gesture based magic system" to assist him in his progress through the game. Using the mouse, burning runes can be drawn in mid-air. A series of these gestures combine to create powerful magic spells that will protect the player or empower him to defeat his enemies and pursue his quest. [JoWood] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. The gameplay is so enjoyable and engrossing.
  2. 85
    With its very tight storyline, great combination of features from several older games, challenging but not frustrating puzzles, good graphics and awesome sound: this game beats even "Wizardry 8" in its peer group.
  3. An intriguing and wonderful game feature is the magic-casting system. You find or buy runes and then memorize the symbol and using the control key in conjunction with the mouse, draw the rune on the computer monitor to cast the spell. The effect is stunning.
  4. It sounds great, it looks even better, and it's the most original RPG not named "Morrowind" released in 2002. [Mar 2003, p.94]
  5. If you like first-person perspectives in RPGs and enjoyed “Morrowind” (an all-around better game), plus have a high tolerance for the aforementioned idiosyncrasies of Arx, then I would recommend this title to you.
  6. But for every warm fuzzy old-school feeling it invokes, there's an annoying old-school counterbalance, including a litany of bugs (some of whihch have been patched) and a tired, predictable plot. [Jan 2003, p.70]
  7. Completely engrossing, from the horribly narrated opening sequence to the pulse-pounding excitement of the final encounter. What Arx Fatalis lacks in innovation and polish, it more than makes up for in rich atmosphere.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 29
  2. Negative: 6 out of 29
  1. ZoltanR.
    Aug 29, 2007
    This game is a little bit old now - afaik it was released in 2003 - but its still FUN to play. (btw, this is what I really miss from most of the recent games...) Because of its age, Arx Fatalis might not appear as *shiny* as the new releases, but it has a gripping story, a great atmosphere and one of the best magic systems I have ever seen. (FYI, it is not like a pressbutton1forafireball stuff... You have to understand the meaning of different runes and the system how to compose a spell from them. So if you want to be a wizard in the game, you must have some brain, and not just select the wizard character at the start. (if you understand the logic, you can invoke a few hidden spells on your own)) In sum: If you are to fully utilize your new video card's directx10 capabilities and/or looking for pointless massacre, this is not for you. If you are looking for a great RPG with unique magic system, great atmosphere and you are looking for gaming experience, this is a must have. Expand
  2. PhootsyPhootsy
    Jul 13, 2009
    It is along involved came, however the pay off is sooooo worth it.
  3. May 5, 2012
    I have replayed this alongside DarkMessiah in order to prepare myself for Dishonored. This is a great RPG with dark fantasy atmosphere and an interesting magic system. I love the dungeon design, creepy and non linear. The prison atmosphere in the beginninggis probably the best prison atmosphere in all games I played. 10/10 Expand
  4. GypsyD.
    Jun 19, 2007
    The interface was very awkward at first, but after a while I grew to like the game.
  5. Aug 2, 2011
    Known as a cult classic among CRPG enthusiasts, Arx Fatalis was largely overlooked when it was released back in 2002 to PC and Xbox. Though visually, and in terms of contemporaries, it falls into the same period as the excellent, TES: III Morrowind, Arx Fatalis is a very different game, though solidly great. Sure it has it's faux pas, but on the whole Arx Fatalis has that "je ne sais quoi" that all great games do. The world and environments are intruiging, the storyline fascinating and original, and though the combat could use some work, there's enough going on that you won't mind. Expand
  6. Aug 18, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Highly recommended for those that have played and liked games like Ultima Underworld or Dungeon Master (Legend of Grimrock).

    Apparently the developers wanted to created Ultima Underworld 3 but were unable to get the license from you know who, which is a shame. With stronger resources this game could have been very special indeed. For an old game (2002), the graphics are pretty good and sound in some instances quite amazing, the game engine has aged well. I played the game of Steam and in Windows 7 and it was more or less playable apart from some memory crashes - I learned to save often using all the save slots - you need to do this too. Especially when you move between levels. It is best to play the game without any background noise on such as the TV or radio - believe that. Not only will you get immersed in the game world, beautifully crafted by the designers, you won't miss key information said aloud by your character and then never repeated!

    It's a first person RPG/adventure set in a world where the sun has died so all races of the world live in a huge underground complex - the world is called Arx.

    You begin the game in a prison cell and yep, you guessed right, no memory of who you are! Wow, not seen that in a video game before. There follows an escape from prison and a gradual understanding of where you are and of your destiny. You escape your dungeon and then move onwards to different levels of the underground world, such as mining caves, spooky crypts, ice cavern (dragon) and a strange snake world! It takes a while to learn the mechanics of the game - give it a chance! Above all read and print off the manual so you have it with you. Yes ladies and gentlemen, this game was produced in the days where manuals actually were required reading and gave hints on how to traverse the game. Believe me it will answer about 75% of your questions.

    Your character has the normal ST,INT,DEX etc stats as well as skills to develop such as magic, technical skill, intuition. Combat is similar to that found in Morrowind where I often found myself moving in and out of combat and swinging whatever weapon I was using at the time. Not great but ok. The magic system is something else, it is rune based and you need to draw patterns on screen with your mouse. This is pretty amazing and at the beginning you learn a new PC gaming skill - let's face it - that is pretty unique. Runes can be found or purchased and your journal will update to show the new spells you can cast. Oh - you reckon it would be pretty damn impossible to cast a fireball as a giant evil looking spider is looking to bite your head off? READ IMPORTANT - you can pre-save three magic spells! Read the manual properly for goodness sake - just do it.

    Your journal shows your character stats, armour, inventory, magic book of spells and runes, map and some key information about the game interface and quests you need to complete. I stress "some". In following the game story - the journal is next to useless. Exploration is encouraged and the game engine allows you to do some innovative stuff. The map is pretty useless too. Use a fishing rod to catch fish and then cook them next to a flame. Combine water with flower to create dough and then bake to create bread. I think you can combine it with apple to make apple pie. Oh - you need to eat and your character will moan when he is hungry. Apparently hunger was pretty common in earlier versions of this game but I think the latter patches made this less acute. Saying that, I did go through a stage where I was baking and cooking stuff a lot! Later in the game I stopped hoarding food and just munched down anything I found.

    Your inventory is grid based and cannot be sorted, despite what some have said. You can stack some items and expand it later in the game. This could be better as you spend too much time on inventory management. On the first play through you end up hoarding. As you learn all the tricks and want to do another play through, it will be less problematic.

    The storyline is quite interesting, you have no say on what needs to be done and there are no dialogue options. At certain points in the story a cut scene will update you. There a lot of hidden items and locations in the game and exploration is encouraged. The world is beautifully put together and there are some real unique places and characters to interact with. It is quite complex and therefore some things are not explained properly and you will need to do some internet research to help you progress. Some tips:

    Buy the key ring and combine all found keys with it.
    Learn how to pre cast spells - especially fireball.
    Read the manual and print it off.
    Learn how to make potions - especially heal. Learn it. City of Arx Castle alchemist allows you to distil potions.
    Don't worry about cash - I ended up with about £35k.
    Some magic rings will disappear from your inventory after a while, these have a 12/20 or something. Ring of Regeneration.
    Read the 'Races of Arx' book before going to find the dragon.
    Find the activate portal spell in game or online and write it down in the manual - for some reason this spell does not show in your spell book.
    Your character needs decent magic to progress end game due to very difficult melee warriors that will polish you off in two whacks.
    Don't worry about hoarding food - just eat stuff as and when you find it.
    Save often.
    Shops are not always open, progress the story line and come back.
    Check the control options to ensure you don't waste all your healing potions when trying to crawl or sneak!

    Really is a great and unique game if you like RPG or first person dungeon adventure. World is quite amazing. Some difficulty with the game engine which most can be sorted by READING THE MANUAL. 40 hours+ on first play through and a few side quests not completed.

    Rated 8.2 and 77 on Metacritic
    Rated 20th all-time RPG by PC Gamer
  7. NicF.
    Jul 10, 2007
    Those who gave this game a higher rating then 5 have obviously not played oblivion.

See all 29 User Reviews