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Default Arcanum - Review @ GamersInfo

February 14th, 2007, 23:03
GamersInfo has a look back at Troika's Arcanum - here's the intro:
It has been a long time for me. I try and have faith good things will happen, really, I do. I want to think that the next newest and shiniest game coming out will really be a good game. It so rarely is. I can rant about MMO's being so focused on artwork and technical performance and then shoving all their customers in a empty, heartless world with little to do but grind grind grind. So here I am, reverting back to some old games; games with a heart. Back to a time when game developer's really designed their game, their world, and most importantly, they defined what RPG really means. With hope, I picked up some Arcanum CDs, remembering that it has been a long time, nearly six years now. If you have never played this classic RPG, and maybe feeling a little like me, give it a listen.
More information.
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February 14th, 2007, 23:03
I think that link needs fixin'…

As a side note, I never quite enjoyed Arcanum as much as I so very wanted to. Shame.
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February 15th, 2007, 04:13
Arcanum is a great game, I enjoyed it very much. I still play it from time to time, although not as often as I should.
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February 15th, 2007, 06:32
Arcanum's one of the first rpgs I played through to the end(PS:T was the first). It had a world and a story that refused to let go. I still replay it every other year or so.

In fact, I can't think of any recent games that I replay like that…they're all the oldies. The publishers are probably glad —I'm sure they'd prefer we all buy the new ones.

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February 15th, 2007, 10:25
If they make a new Arcanum (or even redo it with a more recent engine, mind not changing absolutely anything) I'd be first in line, for now I'm happy replaying it from time to time …
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February 15th, 2007, 14:18
If they do an Arcanum 2 it will sully the glory that was the original! It will be an abomination and destroy all that came before it!! Let's start up a whole web site about it with an insular community and post manifestos so we can use our fannish might to crush it should it ever appear!!!

Oh, sorry, just channeling NMA there for a moment.
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February 15th, 2007, 14:18
I was quite LTTP on Arcanum, buying it for $11 in a bundle with PoR2 and Lionheart on eBay … and it immediately grabbed hold of me and didn't let go. It is just one of those games I really love …

— Mike
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February 15th, 2007, 15:39
I still plan on replaying this game as a tech. The only thing holding me back is that I would play the game almost exactly as I did the first time with the same people, which sort of defeats the purpose of replaying it I'd still have to have the dog, Magnus, Virgil and oh, the big hulking guy. Chakka?

Btw, anyone know where Tim Cain is nowadays? A while back, I did a search but couldn't come up with anything really new.

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February 15th, 2007, 16:02
I loved Arcanum too, except for the combat, which was 12 kinds of a$$. If Arcanum had had the combat of Fallout, TOEE, or even if it was just true turn-based, I'd still be playing it.
After tracking down an online demo, I've decided to give Wizardry 8 a shot. Sir-Tech was a textbook example of a company that made stellar, groundbreaking, and fully functional games being rewarded with ignominy and death.
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February 15th, 2007, 16:43
couldnt play Arcanum past like the 1/4 thru mark. Prolly cuz the character I made, it was gun/tech based, and very very weak. Got my ass handed to me constantly. Then random encounters everywhere I turn, it was one frustration after another.

I mean to try it again, one of these days…
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February 16th, 2007, 05:48
The problem is that tech characters tend to star out very weak, and there is hardly any good eqiupment to be found fast (for non-mage non tech characters) or easily available magicks (the lvl requirement for a lvl 5 spell was about 15, if not lower, as I have forgotten if there was a set lvl requirement or just stat based)
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February 16th, 2007, 06:01
Tech characters are very powerful later in the game. I had one with (steam!) powered armor and a flaming axe IIRC and he had no troubles.

Ranged characters of any sort are useless because of the short ranges of all encounters.
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February 16th, 2007, 10:26
And because of the extreme fire rate of certain ranged weapons. You go out of ammo in no time.
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February 16th, 2007, 12:53
As much as I love playing archer type persons in RPGs, I hated that aspect of Arcanum's. My few attemps in that were disaterous.
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February 16th, 2007, 13:09
The big problem with ranged weapons is that most of the time do crappy damage. Melee weapons get extra damage from enchantment, tech effects (like fire), and strength. Guns, bows (though some tech bows look decent on paper), and thrown weapons dont. To make it worse I've NEVER been able to find the boat rigging needed to make the compound bow, which in turn is an ingredient for the more advanced tech bows.

Thrower guys suffer from no bonus damage (AFAIK) and having non-stackable ammo. HOORAY with the idiotic inventory system of Arcanum. Boomerangs and the like dont do all that much damage. The molotov cocktail is pretty nasty tho…

There are exceptions though, particularly for the gunslinger. Once you get to the elephant gun, the tesla rod, the blade launcher, the tesla gun, or Droth's warbringer you will be lethal. Prior to that the hand cannon and the mechanised gun are pretty nasty little buggers. The problem is that you need to be lvl 20-25 to get hold of or build those, and getting there without companions is very hard for a techie… Until you have such weapons you wont be able to kill enemies quickly enough. Theoretically I guess you could prowl and take enemies out from afar with something like a hushed revolver (pitiful damage) or a bow, but then you have to play solo due to the retarded NPC AI:s rushing tendencies, not to mention that enemies are in groups that will rush you as well.

As for ammo there is also the problem that each town has a limited supply of it, which is rather retarded. Towns shouldnt run out of basic arrows or bullets (read this, Piranha Bytes).

Great game world, lots of cool quests, nice branching (you can do things in lots of ways), but rather poor combat and a horrible travel interface. The only tactic I found was that I could tell NPCs who to attack by pressing F2. Timing of healing seems fairly random.
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February 16th, 2007, 17:51
Balancing issues put a big dent in the game for me (melee guys picked up XP way too fast), but the final straw was when I couldn't hand tech recipes to the tech RPC I picked up. Seemed to defeat the whole purpose of putting together a party. I think I got about 2/3 thru before punting.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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February 17th, 2007, 00:37
I played it as a gunfighter in turn-based mode. Never moved up from the looking glass rifle. Screwed up one character's dramatic death scene by killing his attackers before they could bring him down, and had no idea what he meant when he started babbling about going into the light. Still can't believe they named your companion and guide "Virgil". Real subtle, that.

Statues wouldn't be better if they could move. Model airplanes would not be better if they were the same size as airplanes.
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February 17th, 2007, 00:42
The Looking Glass Rifle was way overpowered at release. I believe they neutered it down somewhat with a patch.
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February 17th, 2007, 01:10
I played it with the final patch. As I recall, the appeal of the LG rifle was that it was the last one to spend only one round per shot, and scrabbling through Tarant's garbage cans for charcoal is even less entertaining than it sounds.

Statues wouldn't be better if they could move. Model airplanes would not be better if they were the same size as airplanes.
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February 18th, 2007, 00:12
Hey, I've made several fortunes from selling stuff found in the garbage cans! In Arcanum, at least
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