Arx Fatalis - Deadly City?
First of all, let's make things straight. Deadly City is the English translation for Arx Fatalis (latin). I don't really know why the game is called like that, Arx isn't that deadly, but I guess its all about the history of Arx.
Most people hate this game because of it's small world and few characters. I personally love this feature, the game is easy to explore and you will never get lost in the world. Also, you will always know what you have to do. You won't need to travel 998383838 regions to get to an NPC in order to get... one Magical Feather of the Phoenix (random name) or another...
The combat in Arx Fatalis is easy to learn since it uses the classic "recipe". You hold the mouse button to "deliver" a stronger hit. You can use bows, swords, axes, daggers or any other weapon you can get.
I liked the spellcasting system. Each spell can be casted only if you cast specific runes (each spell requires specific types of runes.) in a specific order. To cast the runes you must "draw" with the mouse cursor the symbol which represents each rune. Switching between melee/ranged combat mode to spellcasting mode is easy thus making combat even more intense and at the same time interesting.
The character's interaction level with the surrounding objects is simply "heroic"! You can cook, go fishing, read books, steal and more!
The story in the game is interesting overall, but the ending seemed a little "abrupt" to me...
The game graphics are absolutely great and the atmosphere offered by the graphics is unequaled. Maybe some buildings look a little bit weird... but I won't consider that a flaw.
Each character has it's own voice and the actors did a great job. I watched all the characters in the game, and believe me they seem to be real! Also each character has it's own "daily routine", which makes things even better. However, you can't tell if there's a day-night cycle since the action takes place in the underground so I've never seen any character sleeping. Too bad...
The quests you recieve are always different, I've never seen any "cloned quest". Each quest, even if it may seem to be secondary, affects quite greatly the main storyline.
The game also features some puzzles, which aren't entirely difficult, but you never get bored by solving them since they are interesting and if you ever get stuck on one puzzle you'll be very satisfied if you solve it after.... don't know why but you will be :)
The opponent's AI is well scripted and each enemy seems intelligent... some may even cause you trouble.
The environment sounds and sound effects are helping the overall atmosphere of the game to get even higher! I liked the music played by the local musicians and the atmospheric sound from Arx...
Well first of all the loading times are... deadly... The world is made of many "regions" that you can access one at a time, and everytime the loading is really deadly. Maybe that's why the game is called Arx Fatalis...
The spellcasting system requires the caster (player) to go somewhere for training before casting spells in a fulltime combat... Sometimes it's really difficult to cast some runes just because you "missed" a "shape" with the mouse.
The Bottom Line
That would be all bad things... the game is great, a classic even. Maybe it does not surpass other "great" RPG's, but Arx Fatalis is special in a special way and maybe if you play it you'll put the CD in a special place, to be seen by everyone. The game deserves such a "sacrifice"...