Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. The gameplay is so enjoyable and engrossing.
  2. Those looking for some old-school RPG fun will find Arkane Studios' latest release worth its weight in gold.
  3. 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.
  4. The compelling story, gorgeous graphics, and innovative magic system are more than enough to make this journey worthwhile. [Jan 2003, p.86]
  5. If your system can handle it and you don't have any hang-ups with wandering around in dark places, you'll likely find a lot to like.
  6. 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.
  7. A very good tribute to an unquestioned classic, and well worth owning if you're a serious fan of role-playing games.
  8. Certainly not your run of the mill Dungeons and Dragons modeled game, Arx Fatalis reflects an innovative approach to the RPG genre.
  9. 80
    The atmosphere, spell system, puzzles, voices, and story were good and interesting enough to give me a pretty enjoyable experience.
  10. A sensational story-led RPG, giving fans of the role-playing genre just what they need to enjoy the ride it takes you on.
  11. 80
    One thing that is nailed down tight is the visual style. Every area in Arx Fatalis is extremely atmospheric, and in a nod to the backstory, just feels right.
  12. It sounds great, it looks even better, and it's the most original RPG not named "Morrowind" released in 2002. [Mar 2003, p.94]
  13. You can almost feel the damp and the cold; and the echoing 'plink' of unseen dripping water or disembodied moans and a myriad of dungeon clangs and creaks haunt your every step.
  14. 75
    Underneath the technical problems is an innovative, creepy, and intense experience.
  15. 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.
  16. A solid game and a good Adventure/RPG in the style of "Deus Ex" or "System Shock 2." Like those games, its real strengths lie in allowing multiple styles of play and multiple solutions to problems.
  17. In many ways this game is superior to "Morrowind"; although it doesn't have the initial appeal offered by that title's graphical splendour, it has a lot more depth and far less time is spent walking from place to place aimlessly.
  18. 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]
  19. So many little things were done right in Arx Fatalis that any fan of the computer role playing game genre owes it to them to pick this game up and give it a try.
  20. The game's innovative plot and magic system, supplemented with a great deal of interactivity, will surely appeal to most gamers, while the sheer complexity and skill advancement should please RPG fans.
  21. "Master of Orion 3: had better save me from all this crap, that’s all I’ve got to say.
  22. The gameplay loses its luster after a while, but there are some exciting moments to be had. Die-hard RPG players may be frustrated with the game’s unswerving linearity.
  23. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 92 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 28
  2. Negative: 6 out of 28
  1. BobS.
    May 18, 2009
    Great game! If you are a fan of Ultima Underworld or System Shock you'll love this one. Worth the time, good story, great exploration and interface system. Best of all is the magic system. This is a rare gem and a nice treat to play. Full Review »
  2. 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. Full Review »
  3. 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. Full Review »