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Default Arcanum - Review @ GameShard

February 2nd, 2010, 10:44
It's nice to see a review of Arcanum to along side the recent GOG release. GameShard awards a score of 8/10:
Outside the few minor nuisances and outside the combat in general, the game is actually superb, the story is intriguing, the world is very interesting to explore and there are plenty of quirky characters to meet. The graphics are acceptable for the games age; they evoke the world well enough. And that is probably Arcanum’s biggest draw, the atmosphere is simply stunning, the style, the dialogue, the music, everything fits together perfectly to create this world before you. From the portraits of typical fantasy creatures dressed up like Victorian gentlemen. Well acted, and well written dialogue that feels reminiscent of a great Jules Verne style adventure novel. And simply incredible music. You can believe in the world Arcanum presents, and really, that is at the heart of what make a great RPG.
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February 2nd, 2010, 10:44
I agree with the text, which is why I do not agree with the score. I know how many here love Arcanum, but the game's flaws, especially the awkward combat and some uninspired bits later in the game, kept me from completing the game more than once. I also thought that the music didn't offer enough variety. I ended up playing without it.
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February 2nd, 2010, 12:26
And I do not agree with the score either, because Arcanum was (and still is) one of the best and most complex RPGs ever made.
And I really don't know why some people keep complaining about major bugs and mysterious "minor nuisances", while every single computer game (including RPGs which are complex by nature) has at least a dozen of them.
Oblivion was so buggy it damaged my hard disk (the computer crashed and restarted while the game was being saved) and yet, none of the critics seemed to notice. Fallout3 was a bugfest -for crying out loud- and yet, the critic scores were sky-high.
But when we are talking about Arcanum, Planescape Torment or other complex games, bugs and those "minor nuisances" suddenly become important and the score drops to 8.
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February 2nd, 2010, 12:34
Originally Posted by blackcanopus View Post
And I do not agree with the score either, because Arcanum was (and still is) one of the best and most complex RPGs ever made.
And I really don't know why some people keep complaining about major bugs and mysterious "minor nuisances", while every single computer game (including RPGs which are complex by nature) has at least a dozen of them.
Oblivion was so buggy it damaged my hard disk (the computer crashed and restarted while the game was being saved) and yet, none of the critics seemed to notice. Fallout3 was a bugfest -for crying out loud- and yet, the critic scores were sky-high.
But when we are talking about Arcanum, Planescape Torment or other complex games, bugs and those "minor nuisances" suddenly become important and the score drops to 8.
It's about perception and personal experience

Also, Arcanum was a "modest" title and not an AAA game. AAA games have a lot of money behind them, which means developers and publishers have invested a lot of resources to ensure they're hyped and well received.

People who don't invest themselves in the industy and gaming tend to not really have a personal in-depth knowledge about the history of gaming, and the media can be a very powerful influence on the opinions of the masses.

I guess that's why most people you meet will have firm opinions about George Clooney or Britney Spears - even though they've never actually met them or have anything real to base their thoughts on. They have what they're shown, nothing more.

With all that crap said, I certainly recall Arcanum being littered with bugs and massive imbalances.
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February 2nd, 2010, 12:42
I pretty much agree with the score.

I love Arcanum and hate Oblivion with a passion, but to claim that the later had technical or polish issues anywhere near those of Arcanum is silly. Shite RPG as it may be, Oblivion is still a very polished game (not in itself warranting the scores that pile of dung got).
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February 2nd, 2010, 12:42
I saw the "let's play arcanum" video series in youtube, the game looks incredibly interesting but the UI & combat sucks big time , the graphics are looking almost as bad as in daggerfall which IIRC is like 5 years older .
I have not play it yet to express full opinion but i will.
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February 2nd, 2010, 12:45
Arcanum certainly looks better than Daggerfall or any other 90s 3D game, early 3D graphics age horribly
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February 2nd, 2010, 13:04
Daggerfall is certainly an odd comparison, considering Arcanum is an isometric 2D game with prerendered graphics.
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February 2nd, 2010, 13:38
Arcanum is one of my favorite RPGs. Love the world, love the story, LOVE the music, soundtrack still on my iPod, and love the turn-based combat.

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February 2nd, 2010, 13:47
Originally Posted by Tragos View Post
the graphics are looking almost as bad as in daggerfall which IIRC is like 5 years older .

It's not the "graphics" in Arcanum that most people find appealing, but rather the artistic style.
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February 2nd, 2010, 13:56
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
It's not the "graphics" in Arcanum that most people find appealing, but rather the artistic style.
That too , my point is that it looks bad even for a 2001 game .
I can look pass the graphics but UI is striking .
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February 2nd, 2010, 15:19
Don't like the graphics? - just download and install the high definition mod.
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February 2nd, 2010, 23:59
A game I load up only after I've forgotten why I stopped playing the last time, only to get back where I was and quit for the same reason.

I think that just about sums up Arcanum.
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February 3rd, 2010, 03:11
Originally Posted by blackcanopus View Post
Oblivion was so buggy it damaged my hard disk (the computer crashed and restarted while the game was being saved) and yet, none of the critics seemed to notice. Fallout3 was a bugfest -for crying out loud- and yet, the critic scores were sky-high.
Oblivion has its issue but a bugfest? Seriously. Fallout 3 freezes / crashes occasionally but that's all I've experienced. Sadly Arcanum I can't get to play at a decent framerate (it runs at warp speed).

"For Innos!"
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February 3rd, 2010, 12:36
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
Oblivion has its issue but a bugfest? Seriously. Fallout 3 freezes / crashes occasionally but that's all I've experienced. Sadly Arcanum I can't get to play at a decent framerate (it runs at warp speed).
Fallout 3 has more problems than occasional crashes and freezes.

Serious collision-detection bugs: Characters/monsters get stuck around, inside or above objects. Example: My in-game-father got stuck inside a rock (when we were traveling to Megaton) and I had to reload from a very early save.

Numerous clipping bugs: People/creatures walk on the air. They float as if they are ghosts. Imagine what happens when a key characters goes out for a walk on the air, or an enemy starts shooting you from above. RELOAD, and if you haven't saved recently… You're screwed.

Characters disappearance: Some characters disappear without a trace. Imagine what happens when a key character disappears.

Numerous AI problems: Self explanatory. Sometimes when your companions start running around without a reason, you just want to shoot them.

Objects and dead creatures/people start moving and shaking like crazy.

I have made a video of some of these bugs. Maybe I will upload it later.
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February 3rd, 2010, 14:13
Sometimes it's hard to objectively say that one game has more bugs than another, especially when it comes to PC games, which react differently to each person's hardware setup.
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