Jun '23 Monthly Game Club - Arx Fatalis

June 2023's Monthly Game Club game is Arx Fatalis for Windows and Xbox!

_Arx Fatalis_ is an action RPG by Arkane Studios originally released in 2002.


Nominated by @Samograj, here's what they have to say about it:


immersive sim is a genre of cult classics that never sell well, maybe it is ambition what keeps them relevant in spite of that

I have never heard of _Arx Fatalis_ before today, and it looks quite interesting! Curious to see how it plays and what everyone things. It's available on modern platforms fairly easily:

  • - Xbox Game Pass on PC
  • - [GOG for USD$4.99](https://www.gog.com/game/arx_fatalis)
  • - [Steam for USD$4.99](https://store.steampowered.com/app/1700/Arx_Fatalis/) — seems to be playable on Steam Deck too
  • Have ya' played _Arx Fatalis_? What'd you think? If not, are you gonna check it out? I'd like to myself.

    Whoa, there are some legit looking mods & improvements:

  • - Arx Liberatis — takes the open source release and improves it; requires the base game and runs natively on Linux
  • - [Arx Neuralis](https://www.moddb.com/mods/arx-neuralis) — HD texture pack
  • Cool to see this kind of stuff! Will experiment a bit and see how it is to run those.

    I'm on board! I was tempted to try this on Xbox but I read the controls were a bit janky in that version so decided to opt for Steam Deck. Fortunately getting Arx Liberatis to run on Steam Deck is a total breeze due to a tool called Luxtorpeda.

    For anyone else attempting it, here's what you gotta do:

  • - Install the game via Steam as normal
  • - Use ProtonUp-Qt to install the latest version of Luxtorpeda (Add Version, Compatibility Tool: Luxtorpeda, latest version)
  • - In Steam, in the game's options look at the compatibility section. Check the "Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool" and choose Luxtorpeda (you may need to restart Steam after installing before it shows).
  • - On first launch, the game will automatically download and install Arx Liberatis and run as a native Linux app
  • The controls are still pretty rough on Steam Deck, I think it would be a lot smoother on a PC. However there are quite a few community configs for this game. It's a bit of a learning curve but things are already starting to fall into place for me.

    good game

    @“Kez”#p117998 THANKS for this breakdown. As someone who's fairly tech-capable but EXTREMELY lazy, your instructions will probably get me to get me to actually play this. I love a good community configuration for a not-meant-to-play-on-controller game.

    installed (XGP, so no mods for me!) with no prior knowledge of this game and kinda want to go in as uninformed as possible. but i will ask one question at least – you reckon this is more of a controller or a keyboard mouse kinda game?

    Alright, I‘m gonna try to be in for this one! I was gonna start tonight, but instead I spent that time troubleshooting. I had a minor graphical problem, and the suggested solution turned it into a major graphical problem. But now I’ve got that all sorted out and I've got Arx Libertatis installed as a bonus.

    I wish you could play as a girl.

    Booted it up for a few minutes last night. I‘d like to echo @“Mnemogenic”#750 that I would of liked to be able to play as anything other than 4 different white guys. I sorta understand why they don’t give the option to play as a woman because the protag is fully voiced, but it was still pretty wild to me that your options were white guys between 30-35 years old.

    That being said, I picked guy-with-a-pentagram-tattooed-on-his-forehead.

    The spell casting gimmick is what I would call *neat albeit incredibly frustrating*. I think I'm really only going to use it for the puzzles that require it, otherwise I'm just gonna wack the ever living heck out of stuff with a weapon. Love the vibes that the game gives, and it has the goofiness and charm that only a PC game from the early 2000's could have.

    EDIT: @brillpickle deffo a MKB situation. The spellcasting gimmick is that you have to draw the spell on the screen. I have a feeling that would be tough with a controller. Also, it's very *immersive sim* pick up everything, inventory management stuff. Having a mouse seems pretty vital


    I played a little of this game… way way back in the early 2000's. Pirated. The cast system was really interesting, but back in the day using the mouse to make signs on the screen was hard.

    I also remember being stuck in a place and unable to progress.

    I have made it past the first step – installing the game! The gamepass thing was being real weird to me. First it was telling me I wasn't allowed to install the game due to the age rating. I clicked again and it started, but halted after 35mb downloaded. I had to reboot and then it magically started downloading and installing.

    Quest Zero: complete

    Oh no what a conundrum! I was gonna hop into this one but Game Pass froze up while downloading this at 33 MB. Now it will neither continue downloading nor let me cancel the download and start it over. Now it's just a matter of whether or not I want to play this game badly enough to go through the hassle of uninstalling and reinstalling the Game Pass app to see if that fixes it and lets me download.

    @“Coffinwarehouses”#p118585 see above, the exact same happened to me.

    I didn’t need to reinstall gamepass, but a full system reboot fixed it

    I‘ve played quite a lot of Arx this week. This is one of those genres that always grabs me when I play them, but I rarely feel compelled to do so. I spent a large chunk of the early game fumbling my way around, and as things have gotten more complex I have been referring a little more to online resources. There is a ton of stuff in this game that I just wouldn’t have even known was possible without reading about it externally - which is pretty cool!

    I am trying to do the critical path stuff mostly without help and that's going okay, but there are a couple of places where I had a decent idea what I should be doing but missed out on something small but crucial. I have this experience sometimes in games, where I try something and it doesn't work out and then I just completely seal off that avenue of inquiry, so I end up banging my head against the wall trying increasingly whacky stuff before looking it up and realising my initial instinct was correct.

    The game does not hold your hand at all, even the quest logs are super vague and quite often you are relying on information you received once in a cutscene you cannot revisit and there are no logs for, or that you read some book in the library. It's quite easy to check out when people start talking (although I appreciate the vibe of the low effort voice acting).. but I've learned it's quite important to pay attention.

    I've also learned that this is one of those games where you have a lot of freedom in your build, but actually some builds are extremely difficult to find success with. I was initially tempted by the stealth stuff, but decided to go with the warrior approach like @"KingTubb"#730. I've done a bit more reading around this and it turns out that stealth is incredibly difficult to pull off and not recommended for a first playthrough. As a warrior, things started out okay but combat encounters got progressively difficult and I scraped through many by just exploiting the AI (which is pretty satisfying). I now know that magic is far and away the most effective way to play the game, and have pivoted into a sort of hybrid warrior/mage build which is working out well. You can pre-cast three spells between encounters, so I have been mostly just queuing up three fireballs and spamming them then using swords to finish up.

    So far, having a pretty great time with this game. For me, looking up extra details online and then implementing them has been a fun part of the experience. I really dig the atmosphere here, it's very evocative of this era of PC gaming. The premise is neat, humanity forced underground due to the surface becoming unlivable. Cool to see in a fantasy setting, with all the different races needing to get along (some more comfortable underground than others), the labyrinthine structures with secret passages and ominous ventilation structures, lots of intrigue and some amusing side content.

    @“rejj”#p118604 nice! this did not fix it for me and after uninstalling/reinstalling Xbox app it now won‘t load/play any games at all. apparently this is a known issue which has some fixes, but all the troubleshooting i tried with Xbox support didn’t work. last troubleshooting advice was to reinstall Windows OS so i guess i'm cancelling Game Pass!

    Well, I‘ve completed it! It took me around 30 hours, with a lot of aimless wandering around. Here’s a screenshot: (spoilers)


    Final boss defeated

    Here's what my character's stats looked like heading into the final room, definitely not how I would approach it on a new playthrough but it did the job. Endgame gear does most of the work tbh:



    This game really captured my attention. I played the whole thing on the Steam Deck, which worked just fine. Performing magic runes on the little touchpad was surprisingly effective once I got the hang of it (I really think those touchpads are killer features on the Steam Deck, and a big reason why I have no interest in any of the competing handheld PCs on the market - especially for playing older games like this with unusual keyboard and mouse controls). The game was extremely obtuse in places, and I ended up using a lot of google searching to tie up all the loose ends.

    There is so much detail everywhere you look here! The cooking system, hidden spells, hidden quests, all the secret passages and hidden item caches. I uncovered quite a lot of little things just by noticing something and messing around with it for a while - there is a real sense of joy uncovering secrets like that. I am sure there are many more as well. Information around the game is quite thin on the ground, and I had to get creative when trying to solve some problems, with satisfying results. For example (spoilers): >!there's a bank in the main city which you can rob, but all the reading I did online indicated there is a certain part of the game where the bank manager is at home (which I missed), when you need to gain access to his house to complete the quest. Normally he is in this impenetrable cage at the bank, I was able to paralyze a guard with magic, then kill the bank manager through the wall with a fireball, then use telekenesis magic to loot the corpse while invisible to get his keys - all without alerting the guard in the same room!!<

    I really get the sense that if I had access to this game when it released (in my early teens), I would have absolutely adored it, played through it multiple times and had a great time uncovering all its myriad secrets, talking on online messageboards about it, etc. I don't have as much patience for that style of game experience nowadays, but I still had a great time nonetheless. I enjoyed the simple premise, the surprisingly diverse environments, the sense of humour the game has. Good stuff all round.

    I haven't played many Arkane games, I may have to check some more of them out! They have a new one out right? I think based purely on _Arx Fatalis_ I can confidently purchase it forthwith, without wasting any time looking into reviews or online discourse and such.


    @“Kez”#p119873 I haven’t played many Arkane games, I may have to check some more of them out!

    I highly recommend 2017's _Prey_ from them.

    Wanted to bump this because I‘m curious how everybody is getting along. I got a very small way in (I got to a tavern), but I haven’t gotten much farther than that. I was having a good time, but I fell off. I think my mistake was trying to treat this as a side game instead of giving it my full attention. When I think about going back to it now, I worry about what I may have forgotten.