Arx Fatalis

Review

posted 1/9/2004 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Ah, the good old-fashioned dungeon crawl, you don’t really see a lot of them these days. Everyone’s about the big open outdoor environments and their fancy sky effects. Me, I find it kind of relaxing to crawl around dark, dank environments exploring the nocks and killing the various things that inhabit those dark spaces. I remember the first time I booted up the first Wizardry…oh, wait, you’re here for Arx Fatalis, I guess I can save the stories for another time.

Arx Fatalis is a port of the PC RPG that came out last year. It was a solid first person perspective RPG and Dreamcatcher is hoping to expose it to a new audience by releasing it for the Xbox. The back-story of the game is that at one point all of the inhabitants of the world lived in one big city on the surface of the world. One day the sun disappeared and everything on the surface died and iced over. In order to survive all of the inhabitants of the world moved below the surface. This traumatic event did have the benefit of creating a bond between the races of the planet and they helped each other out during the transition, however now that they’ve been down there a while old tensions are re-surfacing.

As with most RPG’s the first thing you do is to create your character. You have the choice of four male faces for your character (sorry ladies, you’re SOL). Once you’ve picked what your character looks like you have to assign your characters physical attributes. You start with 16 attribute points to distribute between strength, dexterity, mental, and constitution. Once you’ve assigned those attributes you have 18 skill points to assign. The skills are fun things like stealth, melee weapon, ranged weapons, and lock-picking. The skills determine how you play the game. Want to be a sneaky bastard? Then crank up the dexterity and stealth skills. Going the vicious warrior route? Then crank up the melee and strength. With nine skills there are a lot of options to how you can approach the game, which is nice.

Once you’ve got that done it’s time to enter the game. The game starts off with you not knowing who you are or where you are. The good news is that you quickly find out where you are, the bad news is that you are stuck in a goblin prison. Thus begins the adventure, which has you breaking out of prison in search of your identity and how you ended up in a goblin prison. The plot of the game is rock solid and there are enough plot twists to keep you involved in the game. The developers have also done a nice job of allowing you to play the game however you want to. Each puzzle has a few different solutions so you’ve got options on how you approach each one.

There are some other nifty things about the game as well. Need to heal yourself, eat some food. Don’t have any food? Make some. You can bake pies and bread from flour and water. Want some more protein in your diet? You can kill a pig, get the ribs, cook the ribs and then dine out. You can even fish some of the watering holes in the game to collect fish to cook and eat. In addition to cooking your own food you can also brew your own potions and then use these potions to enhance your weapons.
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