Arx Fatalis is GOTY 2024

Like the entire game, this Ratman was very interesting.†

i sprained my neck by existing so im in a bad mood and cant format this properly

Arx Fatalis.

ARX FATALIS. this is my review of Ark Fatalia

i dont like the term "immersive sim", i think it's not only pretentious but better suited for things like flight-training programs for pilots and astronauts. we're playing video games.

there's a little debate over what is an immersive sim. but it's like art. a normal person can be presented with 2 things and know which of them is art and which isn't. or it's like how the Supreme Court "knows it when they see it" when it comes to p*rnography. (idk if that's still their position, who cares)

but even though no-one knows how to define an immersive sim (I just came up with what I thought was a good one, and realized that it excluded Thief) everyone is basically in agreement of what qualifies as an immersive sim. Deus Ex, System Shock, Thief, nu-Prey, *kinda* Dishonored 1 and 2 (not Death of the Outsider, because i hate it), aaand, what, that's about it? Elder Scrolls counts depending on who you ask-- would STALKER be... you know what? Forget it, I'm going to review Arx Fatalis now.

In Arx Fatalis, you're a guy with amnesia (Is that an immersive sim...) and you make a Dark Descent after escaping a goblin prison into the world of humans, goblins, trolls, dwarves, and sexy snake women, who've all been driven underground because the Sun died. It's your job to uh, get your memory back for starters. So you go from npc-to-npc and learn more about the world as you kill lots and lots of rats and spiders and goblins.

Arx Fatalis is neato because you don't actually have to do a HUGE amount of fighting in it. A lot of your quests are solvable with a little diplomacy and puzzle-solving. Sure, you COULD slaughter the entire goblin kingdom to get a certain quest item back, and that's heckin' valid. But if you don't feel like doing that, you could just talk to them and figure out how to get it peacefully.

The fighting that you are forced to participate in is usually pitifully easy. There's not a lot of variety, either. Spiders, rats, cultists, uh... more spiders... oh, there's rat-men lmao. Some zombies... there's 2 enemies in the game who are difficult. Lichs and Ils..Ilysids? idk if I'm spelling that right, it doesn't matter. Both of these enemies are agony to fight, always. But you have options. Even if you're an idiot magiclet warrior like me, you can chug an invisibility potion and go around them lmao, orrr you could poison your weapon, orrrr, use scrolls--

There's something like 4 dozen different spells in the game. If you try to go pure-strength, unlike in most games, you're probably going to have a much harder time than you otherwise would have. That's what I did, thinking I'd have a nice easy time. I was wrong and I paid the price. Yet the game was STILL a mostly-easy experience.

Speaking of experience, uh, build your character wisely. Enemies don't respawn infinitely. I think the level cap is 10 and I only managed to get to level 8 by the end. Even though you can't farm enemies, there's absolutely-no shortage of resources in the game for you to use for crafting/selling/etc. So you should never feel boxed into a corner when there's tons and tons and tons of loot and items to be picked up, and vendors that sell exactly what you need if you can't find it(which you usually can). There's only 8 floors in the game, the main questline isn't long, there's not very many sidequests. There's only a *few* times in the entire game where you might have to chug a lot of health/mana potions. This isn't some a hardcore survival experience. I WOULD say the Lichs are bullshit and unfair to me and my meathead warrior build, but you know what? I coped lmao. and anyone can cope with them. Even if you have to be like me and chug an invisibility potion and just literally run past the last 2 in the game looool.

I beat the final boss on my first attempt, feeling underprepared and underleveled/poorly-spec'd. But I owned his ass, proving that Arx Fatalis is indeed a COMFY game. And that's a big part of why I love it.

The Kingdom of Arx is a small city with a handful of npcs walking around, sometimes fishing. There's a day/night cycle that I have no understanding of because there's no apparent way of telling.(EDIT: the "time" in the game is decided by your progress in quests) But it's there: shops close at "night". You can walk into the castle's barracks and catch guards snoozin'. In the castle's kitchen you'll find a woman where she belongs, complaining about everything as is their wont. It all feels ALIVE, even if when you take a step back, there's not *a whole lot* to it. There's enough, and it's really just pleasant. The human kingdom, the goblin kingdom, the troll... kingdom, they're all filled with the races doing their things.

The goblins are the stars of the entire game. Outside their kingdom, they'll often be aggressive towards you, but you can meet up with 2 different clans that want you to kill the other. (The best choice is siding with the water goblins, because they like to hang out by the lake and fish a lot. the earth goblins suck and just sit around eating rats) And they'll just call you their fren and be pleased to see you. It's so charming. That's what I like about the game. As much combat as there is, there is as much or more just interacting with npcs. And fishing. I love fishing so much, and you can fish as much as you want to ;_; I like to take a fish from the water goblins' barrel and then give them one back. That's what friends do.

There's a lot of little mysteries and secrets in the game you'll never find or figure out on your first playthrough. But they're there, and it's cool that they are. Like apparently you can wear a troll amulet that prevents the ones outside their kingdom from attacking you, but I didn't learn that until I'd killed all of them. oops. Other things might be blocked by your character build. For example, my warrior can't really rob the kingdom's bank since I can't even lockpick or pickpocket my way out of a paper bag.

Anyway, Arx Fatalis isssss. A blast. I loved it, even when it hurt me sometimes with Liches and Ylissids... Ilysid... Lid..ysilids. Even when it gets hard, there's always a way around it, and that's one of the things that make a truly IMMSERSIVE SIM. 9/10, absolutely loved it. *Small* complaints: I wish it was easier to level up, and some of the puzzles are kinda bullshit. But big deal, who cares? 9/10, absolutely freakin great time. And COMFY! COMFY!

†The Tale of the Ratman...