Arx Fatalis: Yet another really impressive RPG?

Any other reviewers seen this one yet? Man, has this game given a great first impression… The audio is amazing and the graphics are at least on par with Morrowind. The combat looks great and the game has real atmosphere and solid mechanics. The developers openly acknowledge that Arx is basically a tribute to Ultima Underworld, which seems pretty humble of them.

The demo was fun, if a bit buggy. But the VA work: aigh, mine ears! I’m looking forward to checking out the final product.

Excuse me? The demo I played a week ago had rather average graphics and really clunky controls…

I’ve been playing for the past few days. I like it so far. Definitely has that Underworld flava. Some tricky spots but overall it’s quite playable and (dare I say) fun. Long too.

I just started messing around with it, so I’m not too far yet, but I’m really digging it.

It doesn’t look nearly as good as Morrowind - the “density” just isn’t there - but it’s not as ugly as I thought at first. The game has a real sense of place, sort of like Underworld did in its time. You get the impression that this isn’t just some random dungeon, but some rough-hewn underground kingdoms. I like the little touches of environmental interaction, like cooking raw food by placing it next to a fire for a few seconds. The AI seems a cut above as well - goblins run away and scream for help when you’re womping on them, then come back with some buddies, for example.

The player physics are also kind of cool. It reminds me of Thief in that there’s just something about your movement speed, the head-bobbing, the sound of your footsteps, etc. that make you feel more like a person moving around than a flying camera. Plus, you can look down and see your legs and arms swinging. ;)

If it’s got a sticking point, it’s some of the production value stuff. Voice acting ranges from adequate to poor, lip-synching is a joke, and the character models don’t look so hot. The interface graphics and little things like the loading screens and options menus are just about as basic as you can get.

I’m not sure I can put my finger on it, but something about the game just feels like a comfortable old pair of shoes. It’s the feeling that so many others got from Divine Divinity, but I just didn’t - to many annoyances for me. Your mileage may vary, but my “two hours in” impression of Arx Fatalis is pretty darn positive.

If it wasn’t for that awesome Sly Cooper game, I’d have been glued to Arx all weekend. :)

The only thing that it lacks (so far) that Underworld had in spades is the opportunities to make decisions. Arx seems pretty linear. That said, the ambience is very Underworld-like, and the sound is very atmospheric. The obstacles are interesting, and I absolutely love the magic system (partly ripped, as it is, from Underworld).

So far, it gets a thumbs-up from me.

Thanks for the heads up; head-bobbing in thief made the game unplayable for me (it makes me sick).

The demo (the buggy one earlier this year) showed alot of promise. I notably liked the creepy atmosphere. If the full game is like this (minus the bugs) its definitely going to be at least cool (or an 82% GS game! hahah!)!!1

Long live the Europeans (Arx, DD, Gothic, Sea Dogs 2) keeping solo crpg’s alive (and Canadians Bioware and Kapitalists Bethesda!). yeehaw…

etc

Thanks for the heads up; head-bobbing in thief made the game unplayable for me (it makes me sick).[/quote]

Was the head bobbing in Thief any worse than in any FPS? Also, don’t FPS’s usually have “viewbob” settings you can alter?

Most let you disable it, but Thief didn’t.

I’m not surprised if the movement is Thiefy, as the French
dudes behind Arx are big, big Looking Glass fans. They
even got Stephen Russell, the guy who does Garrett, to do
some voice work for the game.

I don’t know; I don’t usually play shooters. Thief sucked me in because of the RPG elements, but it made me sick. (I like 3D, but just can’t handle head-bobbing.)

I never understood why anyone would include head bobbing at all. It’s harder from a programming perspective and it’s also both unrealistic and annoying. Our brain can compensate for the “bobbing” in real life, why would a super soldier (or thief) have a problem with this?

Without any sort of head-bobbing or swaying or something, you don’t feel like you’re walking. Our brains compensate for it in real life, and in the virtual computer thing as well - take it away and you get this distinct impression of being just a floating disembodied camera. It just sort of kills the sense of immersion.

Hence the fact that it makes some people sick. Obviously these people are NOT actually moving, but the representation of real motion conflicting with what their inner ear is telling them (“we’re perfectly still”) is nauseating.

By the way, Arx Fatalis’ head bobbing is really rather minor, and it’s probably worth downloading the demo to see if it’s a problem if you’re interested in the game. Also, a friend of mine who gets sick playing 3D shooters clued me in to a trick he uses: he puts a post-it note on the front of his monitor, just off to the side of the screen. The bright contrast-y color with sharp edges reinforces that you’re just looking at a non-moving flat screen, and it apparently makes the whole problem go away for him.

As for Arx Fatalis: I just finished it, and I’ve got mixed feelings. Some of it is very cool, old-school in a great sort of way. But a lot of it is broken or just plain annoying, old-school in a bad sort of way. It’s got “small European developer syndrome,” if I might blatantly generalize here, in that it’s a gem waiting for a metric buttload of polish. It needs more patching (another patch is coming on Oct 30th, and the fix list is enormous), it needs better production values in many places, and it needs better writing. But a whole lot of the core gameplay is really great stuff. Kind of a shame, really.

I down a bottle of Ipecac and ask my wife to stand behind my computer chair and violently jerk it about. I should try the post-it note idea, though.

What was the first game to have head-bobbing? I know Doom had it; did Wolfenstein 3D?

Wolf did not have head bobbing. I used to get sick as a dog playing both the PC and the Jaguar versions of Wolf 3D. No other FPS has done that to me since.

–Dave

Some FPS games made me so queasy that I tried Gravol to get through them. It worked, but the Gravol made me feel worse than the motion sickness did. My head felt like it was stuffed with cotton after I took the pills, and the effect would last for hours

I’ve since given up on Gravol and just tough it out. I’m okay with most games these days, though I can still get the occasional wambly spell.

I just cannot suffer it anymore. Anything with quick camera motions gets me within about 20 mins. Even with non-FPSs.

I rented State of Emergency, sick. Silent Hill II, Sick. MoHAA sick. Latest Wolfenstein…I guess it is readily apparent I am a big puss with an f’ed up inner ear problem.

I truly am getting old. :cry:

Well, the visual system compensates for the actual bobbing, but the inner ear isn’t impressed… I doesn’t make me feel sick though, I just don’t like it. Since I suppose I’m in the minority I guess I’ll just have to learn to live with it. It’s just that in most fps games I’ve played, the disembodied camera is flying around in ~30mph so the immersion gained from realistic running is somewhat irrelevant and maybe not even desired. Arx Fatalis is a game that might benefit from it though, but they should at least include an option to turn the bobbing off.

Not very surprising perhaps. I suppose I’ll wait for the budget (patched) version then.