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Reviewed By: Dylon 'Kusari' Whyte [10.02.01]
Category: RPG
Developer: Troika Games
Publisher: Sierra

Prices as of writing:
EBWorld.com - $49.99

Don't you hate it when...

On the opposite side of the Bug-a-boos are all the features that the designers have managed to get right, for example, all the firearms use the same kind of bullet. While a slight oversimplification, it is sure easier than tracking down all the different kinds and calibers of ammo found in the Fallout series.

Other highs include

  • A storyline that pulls you along as you learn more and more about the strange history of Arcanum and your fate within that coming history. The main villain is so far very aloof, which builds an excellent tension as you try to piece together what's really going on. 

  • The world of Arcanum has much to discover and as I mentioned previously, side-quests are numerous, simple exploration in the vast outdoor world of Arcanum is often rewarding and sometimes quite deadly.

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  • I have always been a fan of games that allow the player to adventure in a completely non-linear fashion. So Arcanum gets high points for letting players find their own way in the world right from the start.

  • While the voice acting and sound effects are average, the music is a definite plus, adding a rich orchestral feel to the world of Arcanum.

  • Saving and loading time are ultra-quick, a definite plus on the side of patience and the suspension of disbelief.

  • Arcanum features a gritty feeling world, full of dark art in a very specific style. Flashy environments are more the trend nowadays, with the excellent art of Baldur's Gate leading the way, but personally I'm a fan of Arcanum's visual presentation. My only objection is the pixelated look generated by simply increasing sprite size to express larger than normal monster varieties. There's actually quite a bit of detail during battle. I'm constantly impressed to watch a character's weapon cleave beasts in half.

  • Pathfinding is also excellent, using a simple system of waypoints avoids the problems found with characters who decide to wander off on their own, such as the pathfinding issues that plague Baldur's Gate.

  • Arcanum proved to be relatively stable on my system, I can only recall a single crash and I understand that the patch improves stability further.

  • Despite all the strangeness and bugs, Arcanum is actually a fun and compelling jaunt. Somewhat a trip down memory lane for Fallout fanatics, I recommend Arcanum. Especially now that there's a patch that addresses a lot of the issues that I've mentioned.

  • Note: Am I the only one that noticed an anomaly during the opening movie? Featuring two armoured warriors on a battlefield, it looks like one of the poor blokes forgot to put pants on underneath his chainmail codpiece. (Take it from one that knows chainmail inside and out, that's gotta chafe like mad!)

I will be back with an update as I install the new patch and progress to the end of the game. I also wanted to take some time to play with the construction tools provided with Arcanum, it seems at first glance that there's some decent room for user created adventures.

Stuff That Kicks Ass

  • Navigation and pathfinding

  • Compelling storyline

  • Non-linear

  • Homage to the classic Fallouts

Stuff That Sucks

  • Numerous, although non-fatal bugs

  • Questionable play-balance

Overall Score: 84%

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