Review by ThemWhoAreNotUs
"A welcome alternative to all those "Choose Action and Watch Result" games on the PS2."
Okay, the bad. We'll deal with the bad first, so you can see that the good clearly outweighs it. The graphics are a little glitchy. To be more specific, things are a little polygonal; characters meshes don't look as good as they do in, say, Splinter Cell, but they're certainly better looking than the meshes in Morrowind. There's also an occasional graphical sneeze; you'll be walking through a hall and you'll notice a split second where the screen turns black. It's so brief that it's hard to notice unless you're really paying attention... it's like trying to catch the scenes in Fight Club where Tyler Durdan just pops up on the screen and disappears again. You know? I know you know. You know!
Okay, the good.
This game rocks. If you like a first person perspective, you'll like this game. If you like an RPG that offers more than just choosing "Attack" and watching your character obediently go through the motions of delivering a strike before returning to the waiting line to obey your next command, then you'll like this game. Again, this game rocks.
Your first person perspective is seasoned with just the right amount of flare that you won't mind being stuck in first person through the whole game. When you look down, you can see your feet... that's cool.
Your character gets hungry and thirsty and he's not afraid to tell you. To satisfy his needs, you have a varitable arsenal of things to put in his belly. You can make pie, but to make pie, you need flour, apples, water, and a rolling pin. You open your inventory, select flour, combine it with water and use your rolling pin on it to make a pie crust. You then combine it with an apple to make an uncooked apple pie. You then find a fire and drop the pie in it to cook it (don't worry, you can't burn anything... it's not that complicated).
But that's just the cooking. If you prefer a stealthy type of character in your RPG, as I do... then you'll be right at home in Arx Fatalis. Pump a bit o' character development into dexterity and the stealth type skills and you'll find yourself rich and well fed before you know it. Be wary, a stealthy character is a physically frail character... getting caught is bad, very, very bad. Once you've gotten at least 50 points into stealth, you gain the ability to pick pockets by hitting the back button (the same button that opens your inventory). This'll get you keys that open up shops when the owners have gone home to sleep. The developers hid plenty of stuff for the enterprising thief to find an enjoy.
A mage would find himself right at home as well. THe magic system in this game is unlike any other. It's not about spell reagents or magic trainers. It's not about selecting a spell (though you can if you select Arcade Magic in the menu... but that's for n00bs), in Arx Fatalis, there are runes. Once you've collected enough runes to learn a spell... it just shows up in your spellbook. Simple and convenient.
Casting is a whole other creature in this game. You hit the cast button (X) and dial up your rune combo. For example, I want to cast Heal. That spell uses the Mega and Vitae runes. It's like this; X (to start casting mode) then up (Mega) followed by right, up (Vitae) finally we press X again to cast what we've dialed. Bam! We're healed. It sounds complicated, and it is. They simplify it for mage types by allowing you to precast up to three spells to call up at any time. This helps by allowing you to store up to 3 combat spells to open with before you retreat with a bow or strike with your melee weapon.
Combat is the simplest aspect. You equip a weapon and draw it with (B). Now, depending on which direction you've pressed, your character can do a variety of moves the power of which all depend on how long you've held the swing button (R). The power is indicated by a yellow jewel on the bottom of the screen; the brighter the jewel, the harder the strike.
The biggest drawback of this game is the jumping. It functions, but it looks terrible. Other than that, it's a great game. Load times are minimal, control sensitivity is just about right, it's an RPG that plays just as fun for mages, warriors, or rogues no matter how you play. It's long and enjoyable.
I'd say... buy it. Arx Fatalis is definitely worth the money.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/21/06
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