This critically acclaimed first-person RPG takes the player on an amazing journey into the fantasy world of Arx. The game mixes intelligent story with immersive and actual medieval surroundings. Arx Fatalis allows the player to feel that all his actions have a direct consequence on those around him.
User reviews: Very Positive (280 reviews) - 90% of the 280 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Nov 12, 2002

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Recommended By Curators

"Should we call it Ultima Underworld 3? Great first person Dungeon Crawler, underground medieval setting, rune based magic system, great enemy AI - Cool!"


IGN Awards Arx Fatalis an 8/10

"The spell casting system (...) is probably the most fun I've had with magic in a game in a long time."

RPGDot gives Arx Fatalis a 91%

"Clever dungeon design, exciting story and challenging puzzles makes this the most intelligent RPG around"

About This Game

This critically acclaimed first-person RPG takes the player on an amazing journey into the fantasy world of Arx. The game mixes intelligent story with immersive and actual medieval surroundings. Arx Fatalis allows the player to feel that all his actions have a direct consequence on those around him.

The goal of the game is to destroy the secret cult of Akbaa, the god of destruction. As a player, you must prevent the return of such a cruel creature to the physical world. Should you fail, Akbaa is bound to impose its terror upon the world of Arx.

You will become the hero of an underground world - with weapons, spells and magical items to defend against goblins, trolls, rat-men and other vicious opponents.

Besides brute force, stealth and the "onscreen gesture based magic system" are the three alternative ways to succeed. Using the mouse, flaming runes can be drawn in mid-air. A combination of these gestures can create powerful magic spells that will protect you or empower you to defeat opponents and pursue the quest.

System Requirements

    Minimum: Windows XP, 500 MHz Pentium ® III or compatible, 64 MB RAM , DirectX 8 or higher, DirectX 8 compatible sound- and graphics card with 16 MB, 750 MB fixed disks

    Recommended: 900 MHz Pentium ® III or compatible, 256 MB RAM , DirectX 8 or higher, DirectX 8 compatible sound- and graphics card with 32MB, 750 MB fixed disks

Helpful customer reviews
82 of 85 people (96%) found this review helpful
68 people found this review funny
21.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
If you dug Morrowind's oppressive atmosphere (and ultimately totally op magic) but want a far more narrowly-focused experience with sexy snake women, a surprisingly immersive gesture-based magic casting system. Simple trolls wearing sumo diapers - then you have very specific tastes, and while this game does provide those things, you should probably lower your standards in general for your own wellbeing.
You lovable nut.
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17 of 19 people (89%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 20
The game with the most dense atmosphere I ever experienced. Intresting scenario and story, plus very specific controls.
I can recommend this game for any RPG and adventure-games fans, but only if you can look past the very old graphics.
ATTENTION! Arx Fatalis doesn't work well on newer PCs and crashes very often, but luckily the free patch Arx Libetatis fixes all the bugs.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
Arx Fatalis is a pretty difficult and hardcore experience. The game relies heavily on puzzle and problem solving, which I found refreshing over its action oriented counterparts. Not only that, some encounters are downright difficult, but the feeling of conquering these challenges is reward enough. Additionally there is a fun rune drawing system to spell casting that puts an interesting spin on spell combat.

Arx hearkens back to the old days of first person dungeon crawlers which I found to be a blast of nostalgia. Back in the ol' days (Read early 90's PC play), a lot of first person RPGs took place entirely either in a dungeon or underground complex, or indoors in some way (probably due to the fact you didn't have to render much). Arx also has it's share of secret doors and buttons hidden in the underground walls not dissimilar to what you'd expect during that era.

If you're going to play it on a modern PC system, you should probably download Arx Liberatis, a fan made mod that adapts the game to modern systems. I had found that the game was almost unplayable for me until I installed the mod.

You can find more of my ramblings about video games at
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 25
Old but gold.
Has a problem with chrashing sometimes.
10/10 would take the short road again.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
23.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
Arx Fatalis is the 2002 brainchild of Arkane Studios, a studio that went on to make Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, and Dishonoured. Notably, the game was intended to be Ultima: Underworld III, but the studio was unable to obtain the license. Even without it, this has been hailed as the spiritual successor to Ultima: Underworld, and rightfully so.

It's "inspirations" are as evident as they are positive. The right-click menu overlay, popular in its early 2000s peers, once again makes it return and proving that it never gets old. Arx Fatalis handles it a tad differently to others, keeping the overlay mostly bereft except for inventory and controlling the bulk through separate windows brought up via the journal.

While manipulating the environment never gets old, the overlay itself does get clunky compared System Shock 2 or Morrowind. From inventories that give you separate windows when upgraded, instead of just making the existing window bigger, to useless, nigh unreadable maps, to the journal system that is Morrowind's, without all those pesky "search" functions.

Arx Fatalis boasts an "intelligent story", which is laughable. You start as the amnesiac named Am Shaegar, find out your purpose is to save the world, and then save the world. Along the way you bear witness to some incredibly hammy voice-acting, which falls directly into "so bad it's good" tier.

The worldbuilding itself is less hilariously trite. While the generic fantasy races stay generic fantasy races, the premise of being forced to live inside one big cavern system lends itself to some interesting towns and details - the giant pumps that flood the levels with air, for example. But Arx Fatalis hails to an era where the story wasn't the focal point of RPGs, pre-Infinity Engine.

King Lunshire's one-dimensional antics and cults that just evil cults only provide the background for the real draw: dungeon delving.

The game boasts being able to take care of enemies in a variety of ways. This is a lie. The game is based around a single playstyle - spellsword.

  • DEX skills are useless and will get you killed
  • Stealth attacks cap out at 1.5 times the damage of a regular hit
  • The gesture system only recognizes perfectly drawn signs
  • Particles of your runes fly off while running
  • Your mana regen is incredibly slow
  • There's barely any bloody potions

You may be able to fireball or stealth a goblin to death, but try pulling that on a Ylside warrior and watch your dangly bits get plastered to the ceiling. Your magic will always play second fiddle to your sword, and DEX doesn't get a fiddle at all.

It's therefore a shame that the swordplay is so limited. Arx Fatalis falls into the traditional aRPG trap of having the majority of the combat be incredibly simple and boring. You take out your weapon. You charge up your weapon. You hit things with your weapon. There's several different animations but they change nothing. Footsies that amount to kiting. No real movesets, no real variety, and even the speed of combat is deplorably slow.

It fails basic decisions/time game design, a common problem with these games. Buffs aside, you will largely be doing the same exact 3-step sequence from beginning to end.

Thankfully the incredibly hard-hitting enemies combined with limited resources in the midst of battle, especially when up against a Ylside or a Lich, keeps these battles engaging to the end. They never become a chore. The payoff of lobbed limbs and exploding enemies is a bonus.

The dungeons themselves are fantastic. Far from open-world, these areas are distinctly level based and are flooded with hidden secrets - which unlike the barren and uninteresting landscapes of open world games, have withstood the test of time.

The rest of the game's elements are particularly notable. There's some sidequests, but the triggers are arbitrary and you'll most likely just luck into them. The puzzles you encounter within the dungeons themselves can quickly get tedious, and rely on searching the area for items or buttons which are hidden in annoying locations. Occasionally with physics, and Fatalis' physics system isn't as great as its item manipulation system.

But it wouldn't be a true dungeon delver without puzzles, would it?

Arx Fatalis is a relic, and its a relic in the best possible way. Hailing back to the best of Looking Glass' work and Ultima Underworld itself, for every clunky mechanic there's another aspect that counters it to make it work.

If you're looking for an oppressive dungeon-delving game with brilliantly designed levels and inventory mechanics which don't treat you liked a fool, then I couldn't recommend Arx Fatalis more.
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