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Arx Fatalis

aka: Arx Fatalis: Return to the Underground

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Critic Reviews 80% add missing review

Pixel-Heroes.de (10 out of 10)

Nach einiger Zeit erlangen wir unser Gedächtnis wieder und finden uns als Mittelpunkt eines dunklen Komplotts zur Erweckung des bösen Gottes Akbaa wieder. Mehr wird an dieser Stelle aber nicht verraten, denn schließlich sollten alle Rollenspielbegeisterten das Spiel selbst ausprobieren. Ein besseres Old-School-RPG in einem fast perfekten technischen Gewand wird man heute kaum finden. Bei dem mittlerweile vorliegenden Low-Budget-Preis von nur 9,99 Euro sieht man über die mangelnde Charakterauswahl und einige kleine grafische Mängel großzügig hinweg. Das gute Spieldesign und die tolle düstere Atmosphäre machen Arx Fatalis zu einem echten Leckerbissen.

Jul 2004 · Windows · read review

Yiya (A)

FĂĽr mich steht Arx Fatalis auf gleicher Stufe mit Spieleklassikern wie System Shock, Deus Ex oder auch Gothic. Eine Spieleperle, die einen Ehrenplatz in meiner Sammlung einnehmen wird, wie auch hoffentlich bei vielen anderen.

Aug 11th, 2002 · Windows · read review

Withingames (5 out of 5)

Eigentlich reicht eine Aussage: Ich habe mit Morowind und Neverwinter Nights neben Arx Fatalis zwei hervorragende, aktuelle Genre-Konkurrenten auf der Platte, aber seitdem Arx installiert ist, wird nur mehr dieses gespielt. Das Spiel hat trotz seiner Linearität einen besonderen Reiz. Eigentlich ist es in vielen Dingen genau das Gegenteil von Morrowind, kann aber trotzdem auf andere Art und Weise überzeugen. Die Storyline, die düstere Atmosphäre, das ausgeklügelte Charaktersystem, das hervorragende Runen-Zaubersystem, die vielen Interaktionsmöglichkeiten mit der Umwelt – das alles macht Arx Fatalis aus. Vor allem (das will ich hier nicht unterschlagen) die Gegner-KI ist hervorragend und die NPCs und Monster sind teilweise wirklich abgedreht... und man kann endlich wieder in einem Rollenspiel selber Chefkoch spielen ;-)

Aug 6th, 2002 · Windows · read review

Jeuxvideo.com (19 out of 20)

Je serai bref. AF est un titre merveilleux, au gameplay hybride, original, incroyablement riche et à la réalisation somptueuse. Avec Arx Fatalis, Arkane Studio gagne les rangs des Mozart videoludiques.

Sep 25th, 2002 · Windows · read review

FileFactory Games / Gameworld Network (92 out of 100)

On the whole, Arx Fatalis proclaims its quality and professionalism over and over throughout the course of the game. Taking the best of past RPG’s and adding its own clever and unique attributes, this game manages to hold its own against the best of its genre and will delight any RPG fan out there.

Dec 15th, 2002 · Windows · read review

PC Team (90 out of 100)

Malgré ces petits défauts, Arx Fatalis désigne un titre extrêmement bien réalisé qui retiendra en haleine le joueur pendant de longues heures. C'est bien là le principal...

Oct 2002 · Windows · read review

Thunderbolt Games (9 out of 10)

When all the sidequests are completed (there are quite a few) and you’ve finished the game, you’ll have around 25 hours clocked into Arx Fatalis. Though not as long as other games, Arx Fatalis never outwears its welcome. If you’re hankering for some great, yet slightly flawed, RPG action then do yourself a favor and check out this underrated gem. Don’t let the idea of another amnesiac hero scare you off because this one is worth the time.

Jun 1st, 2004 · Windows · read review

Gamekult (9 out of 10)

Parfois décourageant par certains passages ardus ou fastidieux, Arx Fatalis se révèle au final être un jeu extrêmement palpitant. Les développeurs d'Arkane Studios ont su sacrifier ou simplifier des éléments habituellement inhérents aux jeux de rôle pour se concentrer sur le gameplay et l'ambiance. Tout en encadrant suffisamment le joueur pour réussir à l'immerger et l'impliquer dans le scénario, les développeurs lui laissent les mains libres pour ce qui est de résoudre les différents problèmes et de choisir son style de jeu. Ni vraiment pur jeu de rôle, pas encore jeu d'action, Arx nous offre simplement une aventure prenante et libre, dans un monde vivant et réellement interactif. C'est avec ce concept, qui n'est pas sans rappeler Ultima Underworld ou Deus Ex, qu'Arkane arrive à nous surprendre et hisse son ambitieux projet au niveau des meilleurs : aux côtés de ses propres modèles.

Sep 24th, 2002 · Windows · read review

Pelit (90 out of 100)

Voi olla, että Underworld-menneisyydestäni tulee paljon bonusviboja, mutta Arx on ollut poikkeuksellisen nautittava pelikokemus. Siinä on valtavasti samaa makua kuin Looking Glassin monissa mestariteoksissa. Keksijää ja kokeilijaa palkitaan, pientä löydettävää ja sivupuuhastelua riittää. Mikä tärkeintä, pelaajaa ei kohdella idioottina, jolle pitää vääntää koko ajan rautalankaa, ettei alahuuli ala väpättää ja tietokone kuin varkain sulkeutuu.

Dec 2002 · Windows · read review

PC Zone Benelux (87 out of 100)

AF verenigt pick up and play met een ijzersterk verhaal. Het geluid van AF maakt het geheel compleet. Stemmen, voetstappen en achtergrondgeluiden zijn een prachtig klein deel van een groot spel.

Dec 2002 · Windows

Gameplay (Benelux) (87 out of 100)

Morrowind uitgespeeld en op zoek naar een nieuwe uitdaging? Dit verslavende RPG zal je opnieuw maandenlang in de ban houden...

Oct 31st, 2002 · Windows

Play.tm (86 out of 100)

All in all, Arkane have done a grand job of blending an original plot, some nice visuals, a decent control system, and an interesting world to interact with, into a rather good RPG. It isn't perfect, nor ground-breaking, but what is does, it does with style. Definitely one for fans of Ultima, System Shock or even Deus Ex - despite the fact that the gameplay can be rather 'drawn-out' at times.

Oct 23rd, 2002 · Windows · read review

TechRaptor (8.5 out of 10)

Arx Fatalis might feel clunky at first to youngsters, but it's definitely a classic title that every RPG fan should delve into.

Jun 24th, 2015 · Windows · read review

Gamigo (8.5 out of 10)

Mit Arx Fatalis hat JoWooD eine richtige Perle im Angebot, die sich besonders Computerspieler der ersten Generation unter keinen Umständen entgehen lassen sollten. Wer einmal Blut geleckt hat, wird so schnell nicht mehr loskommen.

Jul 25th, 2002 · Windows · read review

Game Captain (85 out of 100)

So einige Abstürze störten dann aber wieder das spielerische Wohlgefühl. Auch die nervenden Wartezeiten beim Levelwechsel erweisen sich beim Treppauf, Treppab als Stimmungskiller. Nun ja - wir wollen mal nicht zu kritisch sein. Das Spiel hat meine volle Sympathie, lässt es doch Erinnerungen an alte Dungeonerkundungen wieder aufleben. Arx Fatalis bietet wirklich spannende Unterhaltung, ein überwältigendes Underground-Feeling und motivierendes Rätselknacken.

Jul 8th, 2002 · Windows · read review

Netjak (8.5 out of 10)

Arx Fatalis is the best old school role-playing game I have had the honor to play this century. 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. While technical problems and weak interface take away some of the enjoyment, the game is still very absorbing to people who’ve played role-playing games since the 1980s. However, Arx Fatalis will not appeal to the majority of other players, who may find it overly frustrating. Even so, Arx Fatalis is a worthy successor of Ultima Underworld, Dungeon Master and other great classic dungeon romps.

Dec 10th, 2002 · Windows · read review

RPGFan (85 out of 100)

In the end, Arx Fatalis turned out to be a terrifically fun game to play, and I can recommend it to almost anyone who enjoys PC RPGs. It should be known, however, that there are a few bugs present, and that the patch is almost a necessity. Even then, you'll experience some crash bugs here and there, but if you save often, you should be all right. If you can deal with these minor issues, you'll find a lot to like about Arx Fatalis. Just because there are a lot of better-known games out there doesn't mean you should pass this one up.

Dec 26th, 2002 · Windows · read review

JeuxVideoPC.com (17 out of 20)

Arx Fatalis est un jeu d'aventure et de rôle, qui se déroule dans un monde d'où le soleil a disparu. Les habitants ont donc dû s'abriter sous terre dans une ancienne mine naine. La mine comporte plusieurs niveaux alloués aux différentes races d'Arx (humains, gobelins, trolls, hommes rats, femmes serpents ou nains). Le héros du jeu s'y retrouve sans savoir ni pourquoi ni qui il est, et au cours de ses aventures explore les différents niveaux souter-rains. Il aura ainsi l'occasion de découvrir qui il est, d'où il vient et la mission qu'il doit mener à bien dans Arx.

Jan 1st, 2003 · Windows · read review

ComputerGames.ro (84 out of 100)

Arx Fatalis or "Fortress of Fate" shows one more time that the exclusive single-player RPG era is not finnished yet, bringing in front of us that element most popular a few years ago and almost ignored today: atmosphere, the immersion feeling of the gamer in a virtual universe.

Nov 25th, 2002 · Windows · read review

GameSpot (8.4 out of 10)

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 in Arx Fatalis. Fans of Ultima Underworld or similar games will be especially pleased with how faithfully Arkane Studios managed to capture the same sort of feel--how you'll sometimes feel that it's not just some game character but rather you yourself who's trapped in this fantastic world, filled with interesting, dangerous places visit and characters to meet.

Nov 22nd, 2002 · Windows · read review

GameStar (Germany) (84 out of 100)

Eine übersichtliche Welt und eine lineare, aber hochgradig spannende Story bilden das Grundgerüst von Arx Fatalis. Damit ist das Programm fast das genaue Gegenteil zum Rollenspiel- Schwergewicht Morrowind – ohne jedoch dabei simpel zu sein. Und kleinere Nebenquests sowie unerforschte Höhlen geben mir die Freiheit, die ich brauche. Nervig sind dafür die langen Ladezeiten. Vor allem, wenn sie geballt kommen, weil man zu Fuß von Z nach A muss. Ziemlich ärgerlich auch die Clippingfehler. Wenn ich einen Knochen in die Ecke werfe, möchte ich nicht, dass er in der Wand stecken bleibt – auch wenn es bei zehn Versuchen nur dreimal passiert. Unterm Strich ist Arx Fatalis aber ein sehr guter Vertreter seines Genres, der alten Hasen genauso Spaß machen dürfte wie Einsteigern.

Jul 2002 · Windows

4Players.de (84 out of 100)

Alte Ultima Underworld-Jünger dürfen zum Freudensprung ansetzen: Arx Fatalis ist ein würdiger inoffizieller Nachfolger der altehrwürdigen Saga. Grafik, Sound, Rätseldichte und vor allem Atmosphäre sind auf sehr hohem Level. Allerdings haben sich die Entwickler in Sachen Bug-Menge und nervende Kleinigkeiten wohl eher an Ultima 9 orientiert - ein wenig mehr Feinschliff hätte dem Spiel gut getan. Außerdem finde ich persönlich es schade, dass man nie an die frische Luft kommt - klar, das Ganze spielt unterirdisch, aber dadurch bleibt die Zahl der möglichen Locations begrenzt. Aber genug gemeckert: Die ehemals so sträflich vernachlässigte Fraktion der Rollenspieler hat derzeit keinen Grund das Haus zu verlassen; in den düsteren Gewölben von Arx ist es sowieso kühler. Hardcore-Würfler sollten jedoch beachten, dass Arx Fatalis nur als Rollenspiel light durchgeht. Mit regeldurchsetzten Schwergewichten à la Baldur`s Gate 2 kann es sich nicht messen.

Jul 5th, 2002 · Windows · read review

PC Zone (1993-2010) (8.3 out of 10)

Sadly, Arx Fatalis is no Ultima Underworld. The somewhat limited character development and NPC interaction and simplistic melee combat (see enemy, click mouse) let it down somewhat. Where it scores highly is in its fantastic graphics, believable and realistic environments, brilliant spellcasting system and eerily atmospheric presentation. If, you're after a solid dungeon crawl that oozes atmosphere, Arx Fatalis is more than worthy of your time.

Nov 1st, 2002 · Windows · read review

GameZone (8.3 out of 10)

The game looks good and plays well. It may have a few minor problems, but is quite enjoyable, and though somewhat linear in regards to the overall storyline, still is quite entertaining.

Nov 26th, 2002 · Windows · read review

PC Games (Germany) (83 out of 100)

Wer von Natur aus neugierig ist und gerne rumexperimentiert, wird sich in der Welt von Arx Fatalis pudelwohl fühlen. Edelsteine schürfen, Tränke brauen angeln. Brot backen, Leute bestehlen, eine Bank ausrauben - es sind gerade die vielen Kleinigkeiten, die für immer neue Überraschungsmomente sorgen. Dass ich in die Gespräche und festgesetzte Handlung nicht eingreifen kann, stört mich da herzlich wenig. In diesem Fall brauche ich auch die praktisch uneingeschränkten Möglichkeiten eines Morrowind nicht: Arx Fatalis schafft es trotz aller Linearität, eine spannende Geschichte zu erzählen und macht den Spieler zu einem wichtigen Teil davon. Außerdem ist das Verhältnis von Kämpfen und Rätseln überraschend ausgewogen. Obwohl ich zunächst viel mit dem Schwert rumhantiert habe, finde ich den Bogen inzwischen viel eleganter - selbst wenn das Zielen auf bewegliche Objekte nicht ganz so einfach. Das macht aber allemal mehr Spaß als die Zuguck-Gefechte in Neverwinter Nights.

Jul 12th, 2002 · Windows · read review

PC Action (Germany) (83 out of 100)

Ganz im Vertrauen: Mir war Morrowind zu umfangreich und daher liegt mir Arx Fatalis viel eher. Ich will gar keine riesige Oberwelt ablatschen und ich hab auch keinen Bock auf textbasiertes Dauer-Gelaber. Zu viel Freiheit kann nämlich in Arbeit ausarten. Da sage ich doch lieber: „Arbeitslos und Spaß dabei!“ Natürlich ist Arx Fatalis nicht perfekt. Mir fielen vor allem die langen Speicher- und Ladezeiten negativ auf. Außerdem vermisst man im Kampf doch des Öfteren eine Art Zielhilfe, wenn die Keule mal wieder am Goblin-Schädel vorbeirauscht. Rollenspiel-Fans müssen trotz der Mängel zugreifen.

Jul 2002 · Windows

Gamesmania.de (82 out of 100)

Zwischen der starken Konkurrenz kann sich der Titel aus dem Hause Jowood überraschend stark behaupten und geht dank der fesselnden Story nicht unter. Egal ob Einsteiger oder Profi, Arx Fatalis bietet jedem eine ansprechende Spielumgebung und auch kleine Mängel wie die Ladezeiten oder die etwas zu umständliche Steuerung können den guten Gesamteindruck nicht schmälern. Zugreifen!

Jul 19th, 2002 · Windows · read review

PC Gamer UK (82 out of 100)

Morrowind is more ambitious, Underworld more revolutionary, but this is still a fine game.

Dec 2002 · Windows

Fragland.net (81.5 out of 100)

RPG... Role Playing Games... One has to have time to spare for those, mostly because of very extensive and elaborate stories. This is also the case for Arx Fatalis. Unfortunately your servant has close to no experience with this type of games, he is more partial to the "quick fix" persuasion: FPS and racing are mostly on his menu. Let's see how he get's along!

Apr 29th, 2003 · Windows · read review

GameSpot (Belgium/Netherlands) (80 out of 100)

Arx Fatalis is een indrukwekkend spel, zij het voor een gewaarschuwd publiek. Het is niet de typische hack&slash-kerkerdweiler, maar een spel dat probeert je binnen te trekken in een ondergrondse beschaving, met hun problemen en zorgen. Het is een waardige opvolger voor de Ultima Underworld serie, en zal de fans van dat spel zeker nog meer kunnen bekoren.

Nov 12th, 2002 · Windows · read review

Joystick (French) (8 out of 10)

Arx est un superbe exemple de gameplay à l'ancienne remis au goût du jour, et cet hommage à Ultima Underworld ne passera pas inaperçu auprès des nombreux fans. Mais cela n'arrivera pas à nous faire oublier que derrière ce dernier se cache un titre unique, tour à tour subtil et passionnant. L'un des RPG de l'année, tout simplement.

Oct 2002 · Windows

PCG (8 out of 10)

Rollspelare som föredrar spel burna av en stark handling i motsats till friheten i Morrowind bör definitivt fundera på att resa till underjordsvärlden i Arx Fatalis. De detaljrika miljöerna, de smarta strids- och magisystemen och överraskande välavvägda balansen mellan slagsmål och pussel går ihop till ett involverande och underhållande rollspel, fullt av spänning. Visst blir man en smula trött på de dystra underjordiska grottorna efter ett tag, men rollspelare som jagar något annat än Neverwinter Nights kommer finna mycket skoj här.

Nov 2002 · Windows

Quandary ( )

Well Arx Fatalis does have a few annoyances, but what game doesn't? Compared with some more recent party based roleplaying epics it's a shorter trip, but sweet nonetheless, and the first-person viewpoint is a welcome change. I do enjoy that feeling of 'being there' that this perspective brings, and in Arx Fatalis you are there. 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.

Feb 2003 · Windows · read review

Game Chronicles (8 out of 10)

If you're the kind of gamer that appreciates immersion into a game world over all other aspects, you should definitely look at Arx. RPG fans who concentrate on stats or hate real-time aspects will not appreciate it. Fans of the old Ultima Underworld series should definitely pick this title up and cherish it. Also fans of Morrowind may enjoy it once they get used to its lack of freedom compared to Morrowind's completely open-ended gameplay structure. Fans of 3D first person type games that have much more depth than a shooter are the primary audience here.

Dec 19th, 2002 · Windows · read review

Computer Gaming World (CGW) ( )

And yet, from the daunting puzzles to the combat to a game design that lets you brew your own potions and bake a very tasty apple pie, what you’re left with at the end of Arx Fatalis is a sense of great satisfaction, This is a game that soundly triumphs over its shortcomings to deliver hours and hours of enjoyment.

Mar 2003 · Windows

Games Finder (8 out of 10)

If you’re tired of all the standard role playing games that dominate today’s market then consider going back to Arx Fatalis for a truly unique experience.

Mar 15th, 2014 · Windows · read review

Old PC Gaming ( )

Sadly though, Arx Fatalis is no Ultima Underworld. The somewhat limited character development and NPC interaction and simplistic melee combat (see enemy, click mouse) let it down somewhat. Where it scores highly is in its fantastic graphics, believable and realistic environments, brilliant ir unwieldy spellcasting system and lovely atmospheric presentation. As dungeon crawls go, Arx Fatalis is slow &- even with the included tutorial level, the game is hard to grasp initially - but keeping at it will reward patient adventurers with a lot of intrigue and spectacular scenes from the underworld.

Sep 8th, 2016 · Windows · read review

ToTheGame (8 out of 10)

Arx Fatalis is an all over good game. The plot is a well-used one throughout the history of gaming in regards to the races used, the beginning character setup, and saving the world form destruction part (why fix it, if it isn’t broken, hah). The way the game is constructed makes it a enjoyable experience, having a good laugh of the goblins way of talking (kinda reminded me of Yoda in Star Wars), casting the most dreadful spells by carving the rune with your mouse, or just running through the game slashing you’re opponents in half. The game’s definitely worth a try both for hardcore Role Playing Gamers, and for those of you out there whom prefers playing First Person Shooters (...if you wanna get a little bit of RPG-lovin’ in your lives that is).

Dec 5th, 2002 · Windows · read review

Tap-Repeatedly/Four Fat Chicks ( )

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. It certainly, in spite of the warts, is one of the better RPGs I've played in the last year. This first-time developer is already hard at work on "Arx 2" and has provided good customer support through the publisher. They've done more right than wrong with Arx, which leads to my strong Thumb Up rating.

Feb 2003 · Windows · read review

Computer Bild Spiele (2.17 out of 6)

Arx Fatalis ist kein Spiel, das leicht zugänglich ist und den Spieler im ersten Moment in seinen Bann zieht. Vielmehr entfaltet sich die Klasse erst allmählich im Verlauf der Geschichte. Die folgt konsequent einer festgelegten Handlung, was die spielerische Freiheit zwar einschränkt, aber die Spannung deutlich erhöht. Doch mit jedem Auftrag werden Sie tiefer in diese Welt unter Tage gezogen, und die anfangs schwierige Bedienung haben Sie nach einigen Stunden Spielzeit gut drauf. Schade nur, dass die oft eintönige Grafik mit dem durchweg guten Ton und den realistischen Stimmen nicht mithalten kann. Alles in allem aber ein „gutes“ Spiel.

Aug 2002 · Windows

Game Revolution (B)

Aside from a few flaws, Arx Fatalis is 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. It doesn't have quite the reach or the heavyweight punch of Morrowind or Neverwinter Nights, but it is still a valid contender, worthy of being in the same ring.

Jun 5th, 2004 · Windows · read review

GameSpy (3.5 out of 5)

Arx Fatalis is a fun game partially ruined by an early release date. Yes, the patch makes things a lot better (enough to easily recommend the game, in fact) but we can't just give a game a free pass for fixing problems that never should have been in the final release in the first place. If you don't mind adding on a patch, tack on a few extra points and enjoy one of the more surprising RPGs of the year.

Nov 23rd, 2002 · Windows · read review

Legendra ( )

Arx Fatalis possède d'immenses qualités : un système de jeu bien huilé, un scénario sympathique, des graphismes vraiment au poil pour l'époque... Hélas, une foule de petits défauts vient se glisser dans ces atouts indéniables. Malgré tout, l'aventure étant courte, il sera toujours de bon ton de s'y attarder, d'autant plus que les défauts majeurs que j'évoque ne le seront pas forcément pour d'autres joueurs. Finalement à des lieues de Morrowind, il réussit quand même à implanter son style dans l'esprit du joueur pour laisser le souvenir d'un bon jeu, un poil atypique dans son background.

Feb 7th, 2010 · Windows · read review

Stratos Group (3.5 out of 5)

All in all, Arx Fatalis is a nice looking, traditional RPG that resurrects some long unused clichés in a nice way. An innovative magic system, nice sound, and interesting plot make it a very worthwhile venture, while a bad combat system and numerous small problems keep it from being a masterpiece.

Feb 20th, 2003 · Windows · read review

Game industry News (GiN) ( )

You might think by reading all the negatives that I did not enjoy the game, which would be wrong. I was disappointed by it, but I still had a pretty good time. If the game were held for another few months to fix the bugs and annoyances, it might have been a lot better. I was intrigued by the game, but constantly put off because not enough thought was put into the basics. Of the four people who I know started playing it, I am the only one who finished before deleting it. If you are the one in four hardcore RPGers, then Arx Fatalis is for you. Otherwise, just wait for the next Morrowind expansion.

2003 · Windows · read review

Eurogamer.net (UK) (7 out of 10)

Arx Fatalis is a huge, sprawling game, with loads of sub-systems to explore and master and a compelling plot to drive you forward. 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. As a dungeon-crawling RPG, it's a lot of fun, so if that's your sort of thing - and you don't mind dealing with the quirks of an occasionally poorly-implemented first person viewpoint - then it's definitely worth checking out.

Nov 5th, 2002 · Windows · read review

ActionTrip (69 out of 100)

Well, even next to all of the bugs I have to admit I had fun while playing Arx Fatalis. 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. You just have to see what suits you. Still, there are many unoriginal moments in the game, such as restricted level design, engine flaws, annoying AI bugs, excessively murky atmospheres, and so on. Personally, I think the game would've been more enjoyable if the developers took the time to polish and fix the technical discrepancies and, shall we say, lighten up the ambiance a bit.

Nov 11th, 2002 · Windows · read review

GameBoomers (67 out of 100)

All in all, the pluses do ultimately outweigh the minuses, but not by nearly as much as they easily could have. Whether or not the game will appeal to you will be a personal matter and highly dependent on your expectations going in. I’m not as willing as some to overlook the game’s glaring weaknesses, but I’m glad I persevered through its failings, because there’s a reasonably good time to be had if you can find it. Much like the city of Arx itself, it’s an impressive, interesting world that’s regrettably hidden deep underground.

2003 · Windows · read review

Game Over Online (65 out of 100)

So, my first foray into the world of computer RPGs in years is a big letdown. Whatever cosmic forces that lead me to this, that shouted into my brain that this was the game that I wanted to play, is probably lying back and having a good laugh at my expense right about now. And to think that I took a break from reviewing the insipid O.R.B. to play Arx Fatalis, hoping it was going to be a step up, only to find that it was a different insipid game, not a better one. Oh yeah, I look like some kind of moron now. Master of Orion 3 had better save me from all this crap, that’s all I’ve got to say.

Feb 21st, 2003 · Windows · read review

Deaf Gamers (6.5 out of 10)

What can I say about Arx Fatalis? It's definitely one of the best RPGs that I have played but there are some major problems for deaf gamers. A majority of the verbal information is just not subtitled and there are no options to turn subtitles on either. Perhaps a patch could be released to enable full subtitles in the game. The only other thing I can say against Arx Fatalis is that the game crashed back to the desktop some of the time when I tried to use the quick load feature otherwise it was perfectly stable. This is definitely a great game for hearing gamers but for deaf gamers it needs a patch, if that's possible, to enable full subtitles. If that does happen we will remark the game but in it's present state there is just too much verbal information that a deaf gamer will miss out on and it spoils the game.

2002 · Windows · read review

Super Play (Sweden) (6 out of 10)

Men handlingen är rätt tunn och rösterna i spelet är både töntiga och uttråkade. Fast ändå vill man fortsätta ned i grottsystemet för att se vart handlingen för en. Ett roligt magisystem gör inte saken sämre. Tyvärr gör en handfull buggar och ett synnerligen krångligt kontrollsystem att spelet bara kan rekommenderas till dig som har en förkärlek för underjordiska grottäventyr.

Dec 2002 · Windows

GamingExcellence (5.8 out of 10)

The combination of the adventure and RPG genres seems like a promising idea, who wouldn't enjoy solving a complex puzzle while advancing your character and fighting off enemies? Unfortunately, although the basic concepts of the title are solid, mediocre implementation of these ideas struggle in grabbing the interest of most fans of the RPG genre, a fatal downfall to Arx Fatalis.

Mar 19th, 2003 · Windows · read review

Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) ( )

It would be easy to overlook Arx Fatalis. With an outstanding number of flaws, including unforgivable gameplay issues out of the box, it'd be easy for me to tell you to steer clear of it. Since Arx Fatalis confines players to an underground realm and forces them along a linear path with only a limited number of side quests, it'd be easy for me to say that it lacks innovation. The truth of the matter, however, is that the game is 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. Arkane Studios missed the chance to give players a dragon's hoard of goodies, but they've succeeded in delivering a chest full of glittering prizes that no CRPG gamer should miss.

Feb 13th, 2003 · Windows

Player Reviews

Arx Fatalis - Deadly City?
by Hypercake (1316)

The Good
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...

The Bad
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"...

Apr 5th, 2008 · Windows

Was it good for you too?
by ShadowShrike (302)

The Good
Arx Fatalis is an obvious homage to the Ultima Underworld series, with a similar core concept and gameplay lifted right from the pages of the Underworld manuals.

The core idea of the game it that it's an RPG with freeform character dynamics but a linear plot. It succeeds in as far as making building your character an entertaining process and simulating freedom of gameplay.

What keeps the game so fresh is that despite being locked to the game's straightforward plot at all times, there are plenty of unique things to do along the way. All sorts of items can be combined to make more useful ones, and the world can be interacted with in unique ways. For example, fish can be cooked over a fire, bread can be baked and potions can be distilled.

Arx has an innovative magic system in which you collect runes and draw their shapes in the air to form combinations which cast spells. It's clumsy on a technical level, but there's an inherent coolness in drawing runes in the air that makes up for that.

Apart from these innovations, the game is pretty standard RPG fare: Talk to someone, get a quest, kill a creature, get better items, level up, increase your statistics, rinse & repeat. There's nothing to complain about as Arx succeeds in keeping this formula quite entertaining for the duration of its game.

Also of note are the game's sound, which is above average, and its visuals, which, while not particularly striking in terms of special effects, evoke the atmosphere of dank, oppressive underground catacombs quite well. (Whether this is a good thing or not is clearly a matter of opinion.)

The Bad
Unfortunately, Arx trips over its own feet on the way to RPG greatness. It's horrifically unbalanced. Any poor sod trying to play as an archer will soon find that all their points spent in ranged weapon skill are completely useless, as ranged weapons are barely useful against the very weakest of the game's sorted enemies. Similarly, some spells are useless while others are the miracle cure as soon as they're acquired.

Another major failing is the plot. For an entirely plot-driven game, Arx really doesn't have a lot of it. It clearly attempts to be a fantasy epic, but there's nothing here that one wouldn't expect to find in a paperback Forgotten Realms 'novel': Strange prophecy, ancient evil, foretold savior, Ring/Sword/Teddy Bear of World-Saving, et cetera.

Arx's voice acting is subpar, but since it's a translated game that is to be expected.

Finally, one of the biggest problems with Arx is that it's incredibly short. A veteran RPG player will probably be able to churn through it in under fifteen hours, possibly less. The only RPG I've ever played shorter than Arx is Fable.

The Bottom Line
I've learned to judge game's plots by much lower standards than books or movies, so I was able to forgive Arx's lack of originality and enjoy the unique, innovative RPG game dynamics and the rich environment. For RPG players who can forgive a terribly unbalanced game, I recommend Arx; it really is quite fun... for the short time it lasts.

Aug 31st, 2005 · Windows

Arx brevis, vita longa
by Unicorn Lynx (181288)

The Good
Long time ago, Ultima Underworld games revolutionized the RPG industry by showing how well meticulous character management and exploration can be combined with atmospheric immersion into a true 3D world. Strangely, very few games followed their brilliant design philosophy. Confining ourselves to first-person 3D games, we find that King's Field had simplified interaction and focused mostly on the actual challenges of survival; Arena opted for a gigantic expansion of the game world at the expense of detail; System Shock and its followers reduced the RPG elements.

It is therefore surprising that a game like Arx Fatalis was actually released. Made by a little-known (at the time) French developer, the game was conceived as a tribute to Ultima Underworld, a deeply respectful homage to the genius classic. However, thanks to the passion and the talent of its designers, it ended up being more than just a fan remake. Notwithstanding its flaws, the biggest of which is its modesty, it is a worthy follower of the great legacy.

What catches the eye immediately in Arx Fatalis is something I treasure so much in games: attention to detail. On the most plain level, there is stuff everywhere, and much of it can be interacted with. The seemingly innocent, harmless features such as the ability to grill fish or put a chair on a dead goblin's body actually betray a much more lofty purpose and harbor a much deeper meaning: they serve to immerse us into the game's world. The world of Arx Fatalis feels alive. It feels like something we, the players, accidentally discovered - something that has existed before we were allowed to enter it. If you have ever experienced such a sensation with a video game you'll understand what I'm talking about. It may be a curiously misplaced pillow concealing a mysterious unidentified ring or stunning art decorating a church you casually pass by - the point is that everything that constitutes the world here was created with love and dedication. So many games pay little attention to details, and their worlds end up being bleak, hollow, devoid of true colors no matter the amount of polygons and fancy special effects. Arx Fatalis is different - it's one of those games with a soul.

Fooling around with household items and re-arranging furniture is intricately woven into the fabric of the gameplay. Arx Fatalis masterfully captures the spirit of exploration in confined areas. Yes, it is not as generously open as Underworld games - but for what is essentially a dungeon crawler, the game offers plenty to explore, often within something that may not look like much much at the first sight. Balancing linearity and exploration is very tricky business, but Arx Fatalis almost succeeds in making it perfect. Note I said almost - for my taste, the game could have been larger and do away with artificial obstacles altogether. But even so, each area, in itself, is exquisitely designed. There is always something to look for, optional locations to discover, items to collect, unknown paths to explore. Every dungeon is interesting, and none feels hastily designed or too straightforward.

Arx Fatalis has intense atmosphere. That is perhaps its most valuable asset. Underworld games, with all their greatness, could mostly create immersion only through their impeccably executed gameplay systems. The actual early 3D graphics could do little to convey the dark mood penetrating those games. In Arx Fatalis, technology has caught up with gameplay vision. The game is beautiful in that melancholic, cozy way that I particularly like in games. The environments are not only rich in detail - they are pleasant and soothing without detracting from the romantic appeal of darkness.

I could list more features, such as the original magic system that allows players to draw runes on the screen to cast spells; the variety of weapons, armor, and all sorts of items to experiment with; the interesting quasi-post-apocalyptic setting with different races hiding in a vast underground world; the occasional clever puzzles reminding of adventure games. Most important, though, is the quality rarely found in games of that time period: the desire to experiment. Arx Fatalis is not afraid to let players think outside of the box, adapt to different gameplay styles, display flexibility when it is needed most. Granted, the game could have been braver in following its venerable teachers; but it still does a lot, and for that it should be commended.

The Bad
Now comes this inevitable comparison with Ultima Underworld. It is easy to admit that Arx Fatalis often feels like a diminished, simplified version of the old classic. However, we need to put things into perspective. Ultima Underworld games were and always will be unsurpassed as astonishing pioneers and founders of an entire sub-genre. That doesn't mean that imitating them while making a few concessions to contemporary demands is a bad thing. That said, these concessions are, of course, bound to irritate the unsatiated Underworld fan. Arx Fatalis is indeed smaller and more linear. There are less things to do, less people to talk to, and less exploration possibilities. Disappointment sinks in particularly strong when you feel the developers' talent flowing into fragments, being spent on minor features instead of embracing the whole game and imbuing it with a bolder vision.

That is, ultimately (no pun intended), the game's biggest problem: it is too insecure. It resembles an enthusiastic, but exceedingly modest youth bowing in awe to a statue of a hero he reveres, too shy to try and become hero himself. Humility is not a virtue when applied to video game design. Arx Fatalis is too meek to go all the way, dare and eclipse the master. That's why there is too much caution everywhere. Dialogue feels underdeveloped, areas that could have been explored are conveniently blocked off by contrived plot devices, and lack of balance becomes more and more evident in character-building when you realize that the developers were afraid to be generous enough to let the player experiment more without being punished by all sorts of confinements.

The Bottom Line
While not quite being the third coming of Ultima Underworld, Arx Fatalis is still a unique and important game for its age. It could have been bigger and more daring; but even so, it is a testimony of talent and love for the genre, and certainly one of the more atmospheric, oddly engrossing RPGs I've come across.

Mar 11th, 2014 · Windows

Arx Fatalis Pays Off For Patient Gamers
by Steelysama (106)

The Good
Arx Fatalis is one of the more ambitious roleplaying games that I have seen for the PC. This is no doubt in part because it is a clear homage to another very ambitious, though better executed, game - Ultima Underworld. But I want to make it clear that "homage" does not by any means indicate a lack of creativity from the developers of Arx. It is very much its own game.

Much like Underworld, Arx Fatalis takes place almost entirely underground. There are glimpses of the world above available for the curious, but since the story involves an entire civilization hidden below the earth to survive the difficult conditions above, this is rare.

This dark environment is both an asset and a shortcoming. It certainly becomes atmospheric and, in some place, tense. And some of the places you end up visiting have an otherwordly beauty to them.

Arx Fatalis is an extremely free-form game. You generally have the ability to roam where you wish while following the primary storyline. The world is populated with various useful items which may be combined at times to make better items. No doubt the best of these are ingredients for alchemical use and food which may be cooked at various fires. There is something satisfying about taking ingredients and making an apple pie yourself.

Exploration can be enjoyable and yield some nice treasure. And the fact that you can definitely run into places that are deeper than you can deal with at your level is a nice touch.

Of course, the real claim to fame for Arx is its spell system. Spells in this game are made up of runic combinations. In order to cast, the player must actually draw these combinations on the screen with the mouse. In a hurried situation, this can be almost painfully difficult - a problem somewhat remedied by the ability to "store" a few spells up for later use. But overall it really adds to the enjoyment and memorability of the game. I would love to see this idea used again with a more forgiving system.

The story of Arx is very standard fantasy fare for the most part. It is serviceable, though. I enjoyed the plot as it unfolded and the ending was satisfying.

The Bad
Graphics looked a bit dated in Arx, even at the time of release. Sound was decent but did not leave a big impression on me. Thankfully, in an RPG, the gameplay takes an even higher place than usual.

The rune casting system was definitely clumsy when it was most important. Some runes I was almost never able to cast properly. This could have been fixed with a more forgiving system.

While I praised it above, the darkness of the game can also get a bit grating. If you play it for too long, you may find yourself longing for brighter colors and daylight.

Finally, the NPC's in the game were largely uninspiring.

The Bottom Line
If you have the patience to deal with the flaws, Arx Fatalis is definitely worth playing. Fans of Ultima Underworld should be especially interested.

Nov 17th, 2008 · Windows

Remake of Ultima Underworld?
by Mattias Kreku (439)

The Good
This game reminds me of one of the games that made me switch from C64 to the trusty PC (386 at the time): Ultima Underworld. It's a heavy RPG that plays out entirely underground and is filled with treasures, problems and difficult quests. It has a complicated real time magic system where you have to draw runes in the air using your mouse pointer! It sounds kinky but it's actually working really well. There's lots of original equipment, boss fights and well written dialogue in there too, plus a great deal of character development. And food. And more!

The Bad
I didn't like the weapon deterioration, the fact that you have to eat continously and since I am bad at drawing things, the magic system got on my nerves. Other than that, this is a high quality game.

The Bottom Line
If you liked the Ultima Underworld-series, then you're almost bound to love this. It's a great homeage to those old classics, yet it contains a lot of original ideas and implementations, enough to make it stand on its own proud feet. A hard core 3D RPG with a real time fighitng system and a real time magic system that isn't the best game to choose if you're claustrophobic.

Jul 23rd, 2003 · Windows

Good unbalanced rpg
by Vashna (18)

The Good
First of all the graphics are really good in this game, as is the atmosphere and feeling. In the beginning of the game you come to a castle which is some of the most impressive graphics I have seen in any game. The music also is atmospheric and moody. Similar to Thief: the dark project it has some very cool locations like underground crypts and cathedrals with zombies and mummies. Some quests also reminded me alot of those of Eye of the beholder.

The Bad
It is very unbalanced. The Ylsidies especially are very though to beat without using magic, which is boring if you want to play a warrior and not rely on magic. The other big thing is that it is often quite vague what your next mission is or how to begin it. You feel that the designers have missed something. Also in some scenes the framerate falls very low on my computer which is a 2400+, albeit with a geforce fx5200 graphics card.

The Bottom Line
The flaws in this game hinders it from being a masterpiece although it is a very fun game nevertheless.

Aug 26th, 2005 · Windows

A badly planned and executed "Underworld" game
by worldwideweird (53)

The Good
The graphics are nicely done, not extraordinary, but alright. The sound is quite good, only there is too little of it and no music at all. I especially liked some of the cutscenes, which are done with sparsely animated stills. Sometimes animation will only consist of moving across several elements of the still, or of a flickering light effect, but all in all it's very effectively done and creates more atmosphere than many state-of-the-art rendered cut-scenes in other games.

Some of the dungeon crawling is sufficiently moody as well, I recall an interesting, lofty ice cavern and the last level of the maze was quite spooky.

What else...oh yeah. You can bake bread in "Arx Fatalis". What is it that people like about baking bread in games, I wonder? A rush of primal satisfaction Ă  la "My digital character can live off the work of his own, digital hands?" I never understood that sensation. Neither do I understand why quite a lot of people liked this game.

The Bad
First of all, this game goes out there shouting "I'm the 'Ultima Underworld' for a new generation". Since I played both "Ultima Underworld" and "Arx Fatalis" not too long ago, I can clearly say that this new generation is to be pitied. Let's quickly compare gameplay features.

In "Underworld" you have a great sense of exploration due to an enormous amount of non-linearity in its trail of events. Very often there is more than one way to get through a door, an NPC can be killed, lured away, ignored or bargained with in well written multiple-choice dialogue. The element of "life simulation" is very predominant, too, since your character gets exhausted and has to eat and sleep, furthermore, you can always have a look at the time of the day. The story involves the cliché of a kidnapped daughter, but other elements, like for instance the whole "murder of Cabirus"-affair, are original and well executed (these weird dreams!). Moreover, "Underworld" is delved into an extremely rich background (e.g. the whole colony-founding affair) and, ultimately, even carries a message, namely that for all the bickering and war going on between different races, the ultimate evil can only be defeated when all of them lay aside their differences and contribute, symbolized with the respective talismans the Avatar has to get from each race. It may not be much, but hey, for a game of the early 90's it sure is something.

What do you have in "Arx Fatalis"? Level exploration is extremely linear, there are dozens of doors one can only open when they're supposed to be opened and if, by mere chance, one gets into a new place before the story would expect one to be sent there, confusion quickly claims its toll, because linear item A is missing to perform linear task B and there's no other way to get around mentioned B. Dialogue is non-existent, the number of NPCs is little, there are no memorable or even remotely talkative NPCs at all and one simply cannot talk to them - except in generic one liners which the computer conveniently chooses to say for the player (I would have loved to at least have the option of not saying anything and keep my mouth shut). Considering the "life simulation"-element, well, there is no way of measuring time, your character has to eat, but doesn't need sleep. Did they do that to come closer to a roleplayer's life? As for the story of "Arx" - all right, so what if this game is linear, as long as it would come up with a decent story I wouldn't have minded, but truthfully, this is just a perfect example of the most boring "You are the chosen one and have to save earth against evil-evil god" mumbo jumbo. At least they put some fine twists and turns in between, like for instance "find this to get that to wield those against them to destroy said evil-evil god!" As I mentioned, there is no dialogue, so you're not even allowed to protest, neither are you allowed to solve these formidable "quests" in any other (perhaps more intelligent?) way. It's all destiny and prophecy, and this streak of thought is not only still a predominant one in many games, it's also an archaic one, based on the old and wrong assumption that each of us just has to do what we're "chosen" to do and everything will be sugar & spice. Last but not least: as for a background to its abominable tale, "Arx Fatalis" has nothing to little of it. Never does any of the numerous races really go beyond your stereotypical fantasy alphabet: trolls are stupid, goblins are stupid but think they're clever...etc., etc. The initial idea of people having to live underground because of a fading sun might have been a nice one, but "Arx Fatalis" simply fails to fill it with meaning.

However, the trail of mistakes doesn't end there. Worse than the contents of "Arx Fatalis" are its gameplay mechanics and balancing. Some quick facts: there is hardly any light anywhere, torches will last about a minute, and the appropriate spell to see in the dark colours your screen pink (quite psychedelic, that, but obviously destroys any means of "dramatic" lighting). Still worse, the game is haunted by some peculiar sort of "riddles", especially in the crypt levels. These riddles consist mostly of illogical, trial-and-error switching of large numbers of levers, clues as to what one should be doing are either rare or non-existent and - worst of all - these sequences are in no way integrated into the game. They appear to be present merely to stretch the "gaming experience", never is anything explained, leading to questions such as "Why did they put all these levers in a tomb anyway?" popping up, or "If they didn't want anyone to enter that grate, why didn't they just lock it and threw away the key? If they did only want those to enter who knew a certain combination, why can I still solve the riddle and open it, i.e. why is the combination not insolubly complex?" And - the most important question - "Why does the almighty hero-from-another-world player-character not carry a file around to get rid of mentioned grate in a more 'in-yer-face"-way?" You can carry a shovel and a sledgehammer, or wield fiery spells of mass destruction, after all...

Finishing off this rather bleak review, the "Arx Fatalis"-interface is clumsy and reacts outright strangely from time to time. Jumping is imprecise at best, fighting can be quite tricky to manage, which is not helped by the game's absolutely horrible balancing. I know that everybody who played this game has said it already, but here it goes: the battles against these tough-looking, bald-headed Ylsides are laughable. I didn't need a single healing potion for five huge levels of "Arx", I pondered selling them because I thought they might be obsolete after all...and then - I used twenty of 'em during one fight which lasted ten seconds max. Whoever came up with such a weird "twist" really has to re-enter game-school, or rather fun-school - because that simply isn't fun.

The Bottom Line
I know this has been a long review, but I felt that someone had to say something negative about this game because, although it wasn't hyped, it nevertheless acquired some "cool indie stuff"-status. Well, here's the short of it: "Arx Fatalis" is mediocre in presentation, generic and boring in content, boasts a whole lot of horribly executed, "original" gameplay features while not even being able to implement standard stuff such as jumping and fighting well. In the end, it's not a step ahead but a large leap backwards compared to a classic such as "Ultima Underworld" (which also had its faults, but more than enough virtues to redeem itself).

Feb 25th, 2011 · Windows

Plus 66 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Wizo, jaXen, Jeanne, Alsy, Alaedrain, Picard, vedder, Cantillon, Yearman, Emmanuel de Chezelles, Caliner, PCGamer77, Patrick Bregger, Zeikman, Xoleras, Kabushi, Sciere, lights out party, Samuel Smith, Flapco, eradix, CalaisianMindthief, Parf, Scaryfun.