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

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8.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 180 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: 35 out of 44
  2. Negative: 8 out of 44
  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. JohnE.
    Sep 20, 2005
    9
    Ultima Underworld update anybody? Well this is it (but not from Lord British(!) It's all underground, the AI, graphics, story and Ultima Underworld update anybody? Well this is it (but not from Lord British(!) It's all underground, the AI, graphics, story and character building are excellent and its got that "thing" that keeps you coming back for more, going "ooh!" and "ahh!" and whatever you say when you jump at a surprise!. The game can change from play to play (and with so few full on RPG's being released - that is great!) The graphics, sharp and very lifelike in the gloom, the speech (everything is spoken not typed, like MW) is excellent with fine acting and correct Orc grunting(!) The story is v.good with lots of twists and turns and the puzzle elements in dealing with problems are spot on and keep the world quite real. As this game can be bought quite cheaply now, you should go out and get it straight away. It will easily keep you going until Oblivian comes along next year (yes, I do think it will be delayed!) - an easy 9/10 for me! Expand
  5. Jan 28, 2012
    8
    For an old school game, this was pretty good. It's better than the majority of games made in the last decade. It still will hold interest.For an old school game, this was pretty good. It's better than the majority of games made in the last decade. It still will hold interest. Plenty of challenge, stylish (if dated) sound and graphics, good story to hold it together and keep you investigating. Expand
  6. Dec 29, 2015
    8
    I was a child when I first played this game, this game offers an alternative to the traditional brilliant medieval kingdom, a pretty goodI was a child when I first played this game, this game offers an alternative to the traditional brilliant medieval kingdom, a pretty good alternative, this game offers an dark atmospheric dungeon environment which is filled with traps, enemies and loot, this isn't a RPG for casual people, this game requires dedication, as the Magic System requires the drawing of runes which have a meaning, Arx Fatalis was one of the hardest RPGs i've played, as everything can kill you, even with a decent armor, the combat system is pretty nice. Expand
  7. NicF.
    Jul 10, 2007
    0
    Those who gave this game a higher rating then 5 have obviously not played oblivion.

See all 44 User Reviews

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