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Review Arx Fatalis Review

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Sol Invictus, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    Tags: Arkane Studios; Arx Fatalis

    French based company Arkane Studios was initially funded by 11 people in the month of October of 1999 with an initial investment of a hundred and eighty thousand dollars. Comprising of developers of various talents from EA, Infogrames, and Interplay, Arx Fatalis was their first and project as a team and the most ambitious one that any of them had ever worked on individually. Published by Austrian publishing house JoWood Productions, Arx Fatalis is the fruit of three years of their long nights at the office. Delve into our review of Arx Fatalis to see if their efforts paid off.

    Read the full article: Arx Fatalis Review
     
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  2. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    You know you want to comment on the review.
     
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  3. DarkUnderlord Professional Throne Sitter

    DarkUnderlord
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    Yes.

    ... should there be a "last" in there somewhere? :)

    I'd also like a link to the review from this topic. I usually bypass the front page (A little crowded for my liking) and head straight to the forums. So it means I have to dig up the front page if I want to get to the article.

    I don't know what this means. A link to whatever it is would be good. I don't know if this is some other computer game, a painting made by a French artist, or just a Latin saying used to refer to an imaginary and paradisal place.

    There's an extra "be" in there.

    A few of the sentences seem overly long with too many ands and missing commas.

    In other sentences there are just too many commas.

    I think there's an "and" missing in there. It could also be broken up. Perhaps: One of the first things you'll notice once playing Arx Fatalis, is the visuals. The almost photo-realistic textures that make up the architecture are very pleasing to look at.

    There's an extra "the" in there.

    There's an extra "that" in there.


    All in all, it's quite a good review. Ignoring the few extra words here and there, as well as the missing/extra/too many commas, it's given me an idea of a game I was interested in. You've gone through all the important parts of the game and detailed them out for me (world, gameplay, graphics, sound, interface etc...), explaining the pros and cons of each. That's a nice change from some of the "tihs gaem r0xx0rs!!1!" or "tihs gaem suxx0rs!!1!" reviews that are out there, most of which focus on the story whilst forgetting that gameplay is the most important thing. Basically, the review has done it's job and let me decide whether I should buy this game or not.

    My decision: I'll buy it when I see it in the bargain bin.
     
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  4. Nexus Novice

    Nexus
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    Et in arcadia ego means "And I in Arcadia." (Arcadia was a place of happiness, much like the Elysium.)
     
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  5. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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  6. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    As for the extra "and", "the" and the mising words, well, I blame MS Word XP for that.
     
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  7. Red Novice

    Red
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    Shouldn't Word XP warn you about those mistakes? I know my damn Word 2000 keeps underlining quite a bit of stuff...

    I've been playing the game for a bit but the bugs in it are really starting to pay their tolls... The last problem I had with it hapenned when I saved and in addition to loosing current game it deleted the savegame I overwrote and lost about 8 hours of gameplay...

    I still haven't met the dwarves... last time I played the game and went to their level they were all dead...
     
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  8. Muze Novice

    Muze
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    Facts incorrect

    Unless I'm misunderstanding something, you seem to have misrepresented the inventory in Arx Fatalis. I agree it was somewhat cumbersome at times but it was still manageable in ways you said that it wasn't.

    "You will notice the lack of an auto-sort feature to arrange the contents of your inventory, as going through your inventory alone can prove tedious, even early in the game."

    If you doubleclick on the inventory button, it does rearrange the items in each bag somewhat. I don't remember if it puts like items together all the time, but it does help to make space for new items.

    "You will have to enter and exit the storage pack for each separate item you wish to add or remove from the inventory of a pack."

    All you have to do here is click the 'use' button (I think that's what it was, I had it bound to the scroll wheel button) on the inventory icon, and all 2 or 3 bags would then appear at once (like 2 or 3 seperate inventories stacked on top of eachother) and you could easily move items from one bag to another.
     
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  9. Muze Novice

    Muze
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    oh I wasn't going to mention this because of the spoiler but a previous poster already spoke up. I finished the game and I too thought the dwarves were all dead. Where did you find them?
     
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  10. Muze Novice

    Muze
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    oh one more thing. You brought up a very good point about linearity in this game. I've seen posts in the RPG newsgroup that denounce Arx for "being on rails," which I just think is not true. To paraphrase your comments - the story is linear, the game is not. There's a HUGE difference there. Nobody every complained that way about Baldur's Gate but that's linear in the same fashion. People compare Arx to Fallout, expecting the same level of open-endedness, which is totally unfair considering the graphical superiority of Arx over top view RPGs which have more freedom to create huge sprawling worlds.

    I know what you're thinking: Morrowind. Well as far as I'm concerned there IS no cohesive story there. I mean sure there's a story that you may follow, but all that open-endedness is just bland and in no way like Fallout.
     
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  11. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    Would you like to retract that?

    Moo, I say! :P
     
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  12. Muze Novice

    Muze
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    nope. But thanks for asking.
     
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  13. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    Thanks. I'm glad to hear that my good points don't go unnoticed. :wink:

    When I first played Baldur's Gate, I didn't think much about it and simply played through the game (several times) and enjoyed my experience with it due to the atmosphere of the game world, and the whole Tolkienesque 'you're a young man going out on an adventure' sort of feeling that the game seemed to have.

    In retrospect, I must say that BG suffered from a lot of downfalls especially in quest solutions, for which there was usually only one way to finish a quest, and the stupidity of the NPCs, which pretty much did everything you told them to, even if it was out of character. I suppose that suspension of disbelief helped alleviate that issue for me, but the developers (i.e. Bioware) shouldn't force that sort of thing upon the player.

    I've nothing to say about your first point, but concerning Morrowind, there IS a cohesive story. It just plays out in a more 'realistic' timeframe (i.e. a few weeks of play!) than any other game I've ever played. Fallout and Baldur's Gate could be finished in a day or two. Arcanum in a couple of weeks (though I've yet to get into it at all, because I'm too busy with Morrowind).

    Anyway, concerning Morrowind's storyline, it's cohesive, but because it follows a realistic timeframe, you won't see much of it happen too fast and it's pretty easy to get sidetracked by the game's three Great Houses, the various Imperial factions and the politics involved. It is, in a word, overwhelming.

    The realistic sociology in Morrowind is but one of the things that's caused my mind to completely immerse itself in Morrowind. If you can grasp that sort of thing, assuming you enjoy the subject (and who in the right mind wouldn't?), Morrowind's definitely a game that'll keep you hooked for months. It is in no way bland. It seems bland at first, but can't you say the same thing about real world politics at first glimpse?

    Most people have this idea that the only reason that America wants to get at Iraq is to get at the oil. But if you bothered to research slightly deeper into the matter you'd quickly realize that the oil issue barely scratches the surface of the whole matter. There's geopolitics involved, not to mention technological arms competitions/races and other thigns like that. It's kind of like how the Gulf War was partly a competition between American equipment and Soviet equipment.
     
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  14. Muze Novice

    Muze
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    Well that does sound intriguing. Your comments make me want to give Morrowind another go. I do remember there being alot to like in it - the character development (throughout the game), the great graphics, the huge sprawling world :) But I didn't like the people. I mean you go to a town, talk to one person and you've basically spoken with everyone there. They all have the same things to say. No personality. I know that's a diffilcult thing to create distinct dialog for so many individual chracters.... I mean Arx sacrificed population for individual characters with things to say. This could bring us to a quantity vs quality debate.

    I was also a little frustrated by noone ever sleeping. I wanted to play as a thief... but the guards hardly moved around enough in the first town to allow me to sneak anywhere. And that obnoxious early quest trying to discover the guy going over to the hidden chest. Man I could never get that to happen in any logical fashion. Also didn't like hearing people make comments whenever I was near them. It just wasn't a convincing world for me. I wanted to like it so badly.

    But maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance.
     
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  15. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    Well, many do consider it very linear, with numerous faults in the dialog including having no real affect upon the game and most choices leading to combat. Quests are often solved just one way and can be the epitome of Fed-Ex (and let's not get into their crap level design, either).

    The second one wasn't much better and had the same linear game with a stuffing of bullshit side-quests to offer as padding to try and fool the player into thinking the game had variety.

    So I would call it a bit laughably wrong that "Nobody every[sic] complained that way about Baldur's Gate but that's linear in the same fashion." You'd be surprised to know how many don't care for the game, namely because there's essentially only one way to play through the game.

    As for quality vs quantity, it's still amusing to see that 3d is still running into its limitations. Nobody has made a world as populated and quality-filled as Ultima 7 so far that I've seen.
     
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  16. Muze Novice

    Muze
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    oh that's what you meant. I suppose you're right but it was just a passing comment anyways. I enjoyed BG1 alot and BG2 even more but it was too long and I had to give up. I still think they are great games but yes they are linear. I played Fallout 1 after BG1 so I wasn't spoiled in that way yet. In fact BG was a breath of fresh air to me because it was the first RPG I had played since the Ultimas.

    Anyways let me rephrase my point: I guess what I was trying to say was BG was a very popular and widely enjoyed game in spite of it's linearity, and Arx should be appreciated (more so) as well in spite of having a linear story.
     
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  17. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    I haven't played it, but if the story is linear, then the game is linear. Side quests don't make a CRPG less linear, nor do having multiple methods of solving things through that story make it less linear. Regardless of how you do a quest, if you're still doing those in a set, sequential order, it's linear.

    I'm not saying multiple methods through quests is a bad thing. I'd actually say, it's great! More games need to do it! I'm just saying that if the game forces you through it in a set manner that's never open to how the order of things are done, if they are done at all, is linear.

    Baldur's Gate was compared to Fallout by a lot of people, and has been since it came out. Honestly, the success of Baldur's Gate has always amazed me, since it came a year after Fallout and didn't do a single thing better than Fallout. In fact, there's a large number things even the older games, like Ultima, did more of and did better than Baldur's Gate.

    I really don't consider "graphical superiority" as a plus over "non-linear", or even an equal. In fact, I never rate CRPGs on the quality of their graphics because they're not interactive screensavers.

    Morrowind has a story, but it's fairly linear. I just ignored it and roamed free. :)
     
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  18. Constipated Craprunner Erudite

    Constipated Craprunner
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    Exitium, my current game of Arcanum has lasted about 4.5 game years.
    Games of Fallout usually take about 1-2 game years as well.
    If anything, it is the opposite.
    I have walked across Morrorwind in about 1-2 hours, and have taken Stilt Striders that do it faster. It seems to me that the gameworld should at least try to give the impression that it is not small enough to make Rhode Island look like the Golden Khanate.
     
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  19. Muze Novice

    Muze
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    Well you haven't played it so I don't see how you can personally decide if Arx is a linear game or not. Either way I disagree. The story in Arx is (mostly) linear, but the game is not. The way I experienced the game, sidequests included, made the game quite open-ended for me. It simply was not a linear experience.

    There were actually several areas in Arx's main story that could be done out of order, and several different ways that different quest outcomes changed the gameworld permanently, or resulted in a divergence in the main story. Not every player experiences the same exact story "on rails." Even the linear story in Arx wasn't THAT linear.

    I'm not surprised at all by the success of BG. Forget how good or bad you think it is for a minute and realize that it had much better marketing, a much more accessible and traditional story, AD&D.... Great games like Fallout get overlooked quite often in favor of safer, more agressively marketed games like the BG series. Don't get me wrong, even though I thought the BG series was great, Fallout blew them away and still does. But the masses followed the hype and went for BG.

    That's not what I meant at all. I'm referring to the amount of time it takes to create a diverse 3D world with as much personality and interest as there was in Arx. Every place looked and felt different... So with more attention to that kind of detail, it results in a smaller world with less time available to create areas/quests/etc to facilitate the multitude of branching storylines you can find in Fallout, which in return has much more emphasis on story and much less emphasis on graphics.

    Having said that, while I too don't judge a game solely on aesthetics, I love great graphics. I think that we are talking about the wrong aspect of Arx, and one of the reasons I loved the game so much: immersion, which only gets more and more convincing when the graphics and audio are as great as they are in this game. Arkane wanted to make the player feel like they were a part of the game world more than they wanted to provide a sprawling open ended story, and the suspension of disbelief I experienced in this game which made me feel like I was there experiencing everything is what made the game work so well.
     
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  20. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    If there's not a sequential order in the story, then it's not linear.

    Right, marketting had a lot to do with Baldur's Gate's success. They hyped that game heavily, claiming it would be as close to PnP as any game was ever made. Multiplayer would be just like playing PnP with your friends. They made all kinds of claims, and BG didn't deliver on any of them.

    The part that shocks me is that BG lived up to almost none of the hype it had, yet there's still an amazing number of people out there who think the game is the best CRPG ever made. Most likely, they haven't really tried much else, but they still wave the game around like a banner.

    Well, Fallout was dealing with P100s with 32MB RAM, 4GB harddrives, and 1MB video cards. There's only so much tile/sprite caching that can be done on those systems and only so much storage space for them. You can't really have every house look radically different within those limits.

    Honestly though, I think the best CRPG this year is the one with the worst graphics, Geneforge. The graphics might not have been very good at all, but the world manages to capture you without those graphics. When you can do that, you've done something great.
     
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  21. Muze Novice

    Muze
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    That's exactly my point. I wasn't complaining about the graphics, I thought they looked really cool (and I played it several years after it came out). Maybe that's why so few subsequent RPGs (if any) can compare to Fallout; the newer ones spend less time on an open-ended multibranching story and more time on the graphics. Especially Arx, which had huge emphasis on graphics/audio and immersion. There is a trade-off here, and I wasn't immersed by Fallout like I was with Arx.

    I'm going to check out Geneforge... gives me a tingly Ultima vibe but we'll see.
     
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  22. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    I think it has more to do with marketting than anything else. Most publishers don't consider "hardcore" CRPGs to be viable in terms of sales. "Hardcore" CRPGs aren't "accessable" to the masses. The masses just aren't smart enough to handle those types of games.

    So, what do they do? They dumb the genre down. They remove the tactical, turn based combat and replace it with RTS style combat. Add a few layers of automation, and you now have combat any fool can master rather quickly and effortlessly.

    Of course, graphics helps to lure the masses in to buying a game. Lots of particle effects, flashy lighting, things that constantly zip around the screen.. All that is can distract the masses from noticing how shallow the game itself may or may not be.

    The problem with all this is, when you tailor games towards idiots, only idiots will be your market in the end. Eventually, you're going to end up losing the people who want more decent options, because those options have been removed and replaced with things like selecting hair color and other superfluous gimmicks and eye candy. Remove tough choices in gameplay, replace with pretty artwork. That seems to be the theme now.

    It's a good game. Well worth the $25 registration fee.
     
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  23. Mistress Liturgist

    Mistress
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    Definitely. It no longer amazes me that one of the main complaints from players of certain games, relates to the quality of the player portraits the game ships with. For me, portraits are just a nice little addition, something pretty to look at and by no means a major part of the game.

    Definitely - Geneforge rocks! :D
     
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  24. Deathy Liturgist

    Deathy
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    I think that they detract from a CRPG more than add anything to it.

    I hate Player Character portraits.
     
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  25. Mistress Liturgist

    Mistress
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    Just to clarify - by "nice little addition", I didn't mean to the game itself really - more of an extra. What I dislike is the fact that so many people seem to view them as an essential part of the game, and whine about the quality of the portraits included with the game, while ignoring actual problems such as poor combat, lack of actual roleplaying etc. In fact, many seem to see custom portraits and soundsets as one of the major ways in which they roleplay a character in games such as IWD. So yes, the portraits do detract from things in the sense that so many people miss the actual idea of "role-playing" and become engrossed with the look of their character rather than the role, development and impact of that character and their choices in the game.
     
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