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Hidden Gem of the Week: Arx Fatalis

It's time for another Hidden Gem from the PC gaming history. This time we're taking a look at an RPG game Arx Fatalis.

On October 1, Arkane Studios, the developer of Arx Fatalis celebrated its 10th anniversary! On this occasion we decided to put a spotlight on the RPG game from the French development studio. David Craddock picked Arx Fatalis and entered the fantasy world of Arx. Here are his impressions on the game and the unique gesture-casting system. As always we're giving you a discount on the Hidden Gem of the Week, so until Sunday, October 11 at 11:59 p.m. EDT you can grab Arx Fatalis for only $4.99!

by David Craddock

Years before Nintendo Wii players fretted over how frantically swinging a remote would look in public, developer Arkane Studios released Arx Fatalis, a first-person RPG in which players drew "arkane" symbols with their mouse to cast spells. More than a gimmick title, Arx Fatalis incorporated a number of mechanics that made for a fun and full-featured fantasy adventure.

As in many RPGs, characters are built by carefully allocating experience points to various statistics. From there, the game takes on elements that were atypical of the genre at the time of Arx Fatalis's release. The first-person perspective of the game further immersed players in the roles of their characters, and added significant tension when they chose to enter Stealth Mode. Applying stealth and skulking through shadowy areas rendered players virtually invisible, creating plenty of opportunities to sneak up on unwary enemies and bash them with a variety of melee weapons. Swords, club, bows, daggers, and even the bones of unfortunate adventurers can all be wielded with brutal efficiency.

By far the most touted and lauded feature was the magic system. Players would collect runes with magical symbols etched on their faces as their journey progressed. By holding the Magic button and drawing rune symbols in specified order, players could light campfires and torches, summon fey beasts, and wield devastating offensive powers.

Like any good RPG, Arx Fatalis boasts a strong story and a deep and enjoyable character-building system, but the toying with runes is the main attraction. Adventurers looking for hours of questing and a hands-on magic system that simulates the feeling of being a powerful mage need only swivel their mouse back and forth in the mannerisms necessary for casting the "Buy Arx Fatalis from GOG" spell.

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