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Brevity
05-16-2003, 08:42 AM
IGN
Click here to read about a half-naked man wielding a great big bone.

May 16, 2003 - A port of the well-received PC title of the same name, Arx Fatalis is one more title to add to the depressingly small list of upcoming Xbox RPG's. With it's first person perspective, fantasy setting and distinctly PC feel, this game bears a fairly strong resemblance to the only real RPG on the Xbox, Morrowind.

Starting the game, you find yourself trapped in a dark, dingy dungeon, weaponless and nearly naked. Looking around, you notice a bone lying in the corner of your cell. Unimposing as it may look, that's your first weapon. As in Morrowind, items that can be interacted with glow when passed over with the cursor. After picking up the bone via the action key you can equip it with a few taps of the D-pad. Exiting via the mysteriously open cell door, it's time to go kill some monsters with your new melee weapon.

The enemies in Arx Fatalis are divided into two types: Monsters which are mindless and have to be killed or avoided, and people, who you can actually converse with, possibly working out an alternative to fighting.

The big thing that the Arx Fatalis team seems to pride itself on is the various paths which can be taken through the game. Nearly every problem can be handled in one of three ways: With Force, with Skullduggery or with intelligence.

For example, let's say you need a certain key, and you find the character that has it on them. You might kill the character and grab the key, which nets the fewest amount of experience points. If that doesn't suit your fancy, you could use your thieving skills to grab it off his body unnoticed for a few more experience points. If you want to get the most experience, though, you'll have to talk to him, and likely complete a quest before he'll part with the item.

While there's no character class selection at the beginning of the game, you'll slowly gravitate towards being a mage, thief or wizard, depending on your actions.

The game's spell system is also fairly intriguing. Spells are accomplished by entering combinations on the d-pad. While spells can be learned by acquiring runes that contain the combos, you might just want to spend hours trying out different combinations of button presses in the hopes of stumbling over a ridiculously powerful spell.

Since Arx Fatalis is only about a third complete, it still looks absolutely identical to PC version. While the PC version doesn't look bad by any stretch of the imagination, the graphics are scheduled for a slight glossing over before the game ships.

If there's one thing that the Xbox needs, it's decent RPGs. It looks as if Arx Fatalis is shaping up to be a pretty good RPG. This alone is enough to put the game on the top of a lot of people's most wanted lists. We'll keep you posted.

-- Justin Thompson