Score: 4/5; I recommend Arx Fatalis
PC; Win XP 32-bit; Arx Fatalis v1.21
completed; playing time: 74 hrs
+ An interesting storyline, NPCs, and quests
+ A wide choice of spells and weapons
+ The locations are varied enough, each with a distinctive atmosphere and decor
+ Immersive sounds and voices in the background, especially in dungeons and catacombs
+ You can use a shovel to dig stuff out of the ground or a pickaxe to get stuff out of rocks and graves, and knock down walls*
+ You can use some weapons to carve wooden stakes to finish off some undead monsters
+ You can steal, break into houses**
+ Over time, you get hungry and need food
+ You can cook your own food, catch fish, pick mushrooms, and prepare potions on your own (of course, you can also buy them)
* not everywhere, only in some locations
** the success depends on how you develop your skills when you level; if you don't develop the right skills, you won't be able to do it successfully
- The spell casting mechanism is extremely annoying. Each spell consists of several rune letters. In order to cast a spell, you need to literally draw the runes on the screen with your mouse. In theory, it seems innovative and sounds like a lot of fun. However, it's not practical. You really need to be very accurate in drawing the runes; otherwise, you'll fail to cast your spells. It's extremely hard to do it in combat, as being under pressure (and battered by monsters), you often feel unable to focus on drawing, and usually fail to draw the runes accurately enough to be able to cast successfully. Luckily, you can pre-cast a few spells, but even pre-casting can sometimes be quite laborious. I would sometimes spend literally minutes trying to cast some spells consisting of the more difficult runes. For me, this was the most irritating part of the game.
- Some aspects of the game seem to be a little unbalanced, e.g. Ylsides are extremely fast and strong, and they kill you within seconds - you can meet them early in the game, but you won't really be able to deal with them successfully until very late in the game; also, towards the end of the game, you may run out of life potions - you won't be able to buy them or find any plants to make them on your own
- There are a few bugs and glitches here and there...
- NPCs and monsters have a tendency to get caught in between various objects, like parts of walls, doors, etc. They simply get stuck and can't move. Well, that's how I killed a few Ylsides...
- When saving, once I gave a name to a save file, I couldn't change it later
- It's a 2002 game, so don't expect visuals like in Skyrim...
All things considered, I experienced a lot more fun than irritation with this game. Therefore, in my opinion, the game is