Arx Fatalis - JoWooD Production Software AG
Update: The old link here was directly to the www.arxfatalis-online.com, but there is a "page not found" error now. The specific link to the index page still works, but you must assume that the site will go down eventually. There seems to be four major game products on JoWood's page now, but non of them associated with Arx Fatalis. One of them is Gothic 4, to which Gamespot award 5.0 out of ten and wrote "Arcania has been dumbed down into a generic action role-playing game, so it isn't a Gothic game in anything but its subtitle." Shame on you, JoWood, you lost a great soul.
Do you know how some games have so much publicity spin on them and so much advertising that they immediately start making money and becoming "the most popular game"? Arx Fatalis is not one of those. This game is a rediscovery of the good old values of Ultima Underworld: good story, great playability, nice AI, very little or no getting stuck possibilities, fantastic immersion in another world. If you loved Ultima Underworld (which can be found free on the net, but I am not sure you can make it work on the newest computers around), you will definetely fall in love with Arx Fatalis. I am telling you, I am hooked. I finished the game in a working week and two weekends and I did it so fast because my wife wanted me to give some attention to her. Yes, you read right, Arx Fatalis IS better than sex.
Ok, what is so great about it? I will give a few hints and let you discover the rest for yourselves:
- you make magic by mouse gestures (you move the mouse in certain patterns, like in Black and White)
- the AI characters yell for help from associated NPCs and run away when too hurt
- I once ran into an impenetrable beast that could kill me with one touch. Running away from it I reached a dead end. I expected to find no way out, but the beast disappeared and reappeared a few feet behind, just enough to let me run away.
- I couldn't find ONE spot where I would have gotten stuck in the entire game.
- the quests are intelligent. You need to use brains to finish this one. It's not something that must be searched on google to finish, either. If you have the will, there is a way.
- you can kill almost every character in the game as well as finish their quests.
- a lot of side quests. You can finish the game in a week or in a few months, it depends on you.
- hidden magic spells. Each rune has a specific meaning. Try combining them in innovative ways.
Not interested yet? Oh, come on!
Update: I have found a Doom3 mod that tries to be a prequel to Arx Fatalis. A pretty neat effort and I am glad I found a new reason to upgrade my computer :). This is their site: Arx – End Of Sun and this is a gameplay video: Arx - End of Sun (Gameplay Video #1) [Doom 3 SP Mod].