Getting around in Arx Fatalis
is easy. The left thumbstick controls your movement while the right thumbstick controls where you look. The left trigger executes a jump with the right trigger swinging whichever weapon you have equipped. The X and Y buttons activate the various aspects of the magic system (which I’ll cover a bit later on). The B button toggles if you have you weapon our or not and the D-pad controls your inventory. The Back button is used to access the spell composition, map, logbook, and master inventory screens. For the most part the control scheme works well, the game does a nice job of introducing the controls throughout the early part of the game.
My only real with the controls is that managing your inventory is kind of a pain in the ass with the Xbox controller. You can haul a lot of stuff around the dungeon and when you want to look for something to use you have to scroll through quite a bit of stuff before you find what you are looking for. The game alleviates that by automatically selecting an inventory objects that can interact with whatever is under the cursor. Another inventory helper is that can assign items to the black and white buttons but you’ll still spend quite a bit of time cycling through your stuff while you play.
Combat is part of any role-playing game and the combat system in Arx Fatalis
is solid. To attack you hold down the right trigger and release it to strike. The longer you hold the trigger the harder you and the more damage you inflict. Whenever you draw your weapon a “power gem” appears at the bottom of the screen and shows you how hard your strike will be (the longer you hold it the brighter it gets). You can also change your attack by pushing a direction with the left thumbstick when you start to charge your attack. Arx Fatalis
allows you to do a bit of dodging and weaving while you attack as you can attack, back up while charging your attack, and then move in to attack.
It wouldn’t be a fantasy game without magic and the magic system in Arx Fatalis is top notch. The magic system is based around the runes you find scattered around Arx, the runes can then be combined into spells. There are two magic modes in Arx Fatalis, the first is the “magic simulation” mode in which you enter the movement for the runes with the D-pad in order to cast the spell (each rune is represented by a series of directions). Once you’ve entered all of the runes you can either cast the spell using the X button or pre-cast the button pressing the Y button. Pre-casting allows you to save up spells for a later occasion when you may not have the time to enter the runes manually (such as when you are being chased by a bunch of pissed off trolls). The system is cool and helps to draw you further into the game. The second mode is the “Arcade Magic” mode where you just pick the spell that you want to cast and the game automatically selects the runes and casts the spells. This is ideal for those who want to quickly select spells and cast them without having to remember the motions for each rune and the runes by spell.
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