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77

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

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8.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 175 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, fightsThe 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
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. The gameplay is so enjoyable and engrossing.
  2. PC Gamer
    85
    The compelling story, gorgeous graphics, and innovative magic system are more than enough to make this journey worthwhile. [Jan 2003, p.86]
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  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: 33 out of 42
  2. Negative: 8 out of 42
  1. Dec 18, 2017
    10
    One of the GREAT, classic Fantasy RPG's. The setting, story and the Arkane Studios work on this project were masterful and can't be emphasisOne of the GREAT, classic Fantasy RPG's. The setting, story and the Arkane Studios work on this project were masterful and can't be emphasis enough. A must play for any RPG fan! Expand
  2. Nov 29, 2014
    10
    Really great RPG. My all time favorite. It does however, while being great have a few trade-offs.

    The game has a pretty alright story. It
    Really great RPG. My all time favorite. It does however, while being great have a few trade-offs.

    The game has a pretty alright story. It can be a LITTLE linear tho, as it isn't open world. The game takes place in 8 different levels ( excluding some areas like the bunker or crypts ). Overall tho, you won't be exploring it all at once.

    The game has a pretty nice atmosphere. It's not sad and depressing, but it has a dark feeling. Apart from when in the town or the tavern where there are people, the game will feel lonely, you will feel completely alone.

    In terms of interactivity, you can do quite alot. One of the reasons this game is awesome is because nothing is obvious. After many playthroughs, there are still some secrets and intractable objects I've not found or only recently found. This is pretty good saying there is only 8 levels/floors in the entire game.

    There is also the casting system. You basically hold whatever the cast button is bound to down, and click, drag, and release to make shapes that look like runes you've previously picked up. Casting several runes together casts a spell.

    The game however, has some major problems.

    For starters, balance isn't big. Playing a caster makes you extremely powerful. Playing a warrior will be fine for a while, but near the end of the game, you will struggle greatly unless you've got hundreds of potions. Similar thing with a stealthy build ( stealth build can still work ).

    The major problem with this title though, the thing that sets most people off is the buggyness. On some older systems ( 2000, XP ) The game might run fine. On newer systems though, you will get some serious compatibility issues.

    Putting compatibility issues aside, the game in general is extremely buggy. You won't see bugs like let's say... Someone clipping through a wall. But instead bugs of, dropping an item on the wrong object will cause the game to freeze, lockup and crash. There are also some lag issues on some systems.

    Not everything, but most of the bugs including crashes can be fixed with "Arx Liberatis", one of the few unofficial patches for the game.

    "What version should I get?"

    I've not tried the CD version, only GOG and Steam. While they are both very similar, I'd say GOG is the winner, as it's DRM free and mildly less buggy.

    Graphics are of course dated, but look quite nice for the time. It basically looks like morrowind, but slightly higher polygons, higher res textures, better shaders, minus the reflective water and shadows.

    Amazing game. Has flaws but in my opinion, the trade offs are worth it, and some/most of the bugs are easily fixed with a patch.
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  3. ZoltanR.
    Aug 29, 2007
    10
    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 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
  4. Jul 2, 2016
    9
    Really unique atmosphere and world. One of the first PC games I ever played, and one that has really stuck in my heart and mind all theseReally unique atmosphere and world. One of the first PC games I ever played, and one that has really stuck in my heart and mind all these years. Ja, graphics are a bit clunky but it doesn't matter if you are into the game. It still looks decent, on par with half life, perhaps. Give this obscure gem a go! Expand
  5. Aug 18, 2014
    8
    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
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  6. DougE.
    Feb 14, 2008
    8
    Really liked the game. The continuous fatal memory error was the only annoyance.
  7. NicF.
    Jul 10, 2007
    0
    Those who gave this game a higher rating then 5 have obviously not played oblivion.

See all 42 User Reviews

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