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Default Arcanum - Aged Well @ Bitmob

November 29th, 2009, 23:25
Another 'Aged Well' article at Bitmob. This article on Arcanum is, of course, very positive.
I had gotten hooked at the meticulous webwork of Arcanum's Victorian-esque society; I was reeled in by the clashing ideals of ancient magick and progressive technology, befitting of the steampunk genre; I was awestruck at the sheer multitudes of items and monsters that populated the game world, without being too overbearing; I was dumbfounded as to how Troika managed to pull it off.

Tying in to Cosmo's earlier writeup on the often fickle process of choice within video games, Arcanum continued the happy tradition set by Fallout that placed you in a game world in which you can practically do whatever the hell you want. That was another alluring element of the game — if I wanted to strip off all of my armor and streak through the town while drunk, nothing could stop me! Well, except maybe the local constabulary, of course. Still, the freedom to actually pull off a stunt like that was a refreshing take on stuffy video game parameters that typically shunted you from linearity to linearity.
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November 29th, 2009, 23:25
I was playing a bit of Arcanum after I gave up on Risen, but before DA came out. It has aged well, if you like top-down isometric games. I quite like the combat, I tend to real time it on trash fights, then hit space to switch to turn-based for the more serious fights. It's quite a good compromise. One thing I didn't like about Fallout was the game going into turn based mode any time you encounter a single trash mob. It could get tedious. In Arcanum, I can just Harm them dead, bam. It's good for the pacing of the game. I really feel like I can just do whatever in that game. Your character can actually show initiative instead of just going from quest-giver to quest-giver and doing what the game tells you to. That spell that allows you bind the spirit of a dead person is brilliant. If someone simply refuses to tell you what you want to know, you can just kill them and bind their spirit until they tell you. Gold. In theory you could then Res the victim, so it's sort of like the ultimate torture. I'm going to make an evil Necromancer next time I play that game.

Top 5 RPG for me, easy.

Edit: also, there is no excuse to not play this game. If anyone would like to be pointed in the right direction, PM me.
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November 30th, 2009, 05:52
When the game first came out I played as a gnome who specialized in explosives. I remember I chose a gnome to take the opportunity to role play something unique in a game that would acknowledge my choices. The explosives were cool, but after a while I felt silly playing as a gnome that was dwarfed (gnomed?) by the other party members and I lost interest around the dwarven mountains. Even though I really like that area. I finally got around to replaying it this year and completed the game as a human who specialized in electronics, which allowed for some really neat items to be created. The choices were great and you do feel a sense of freedom when conversing with NPCs. It was a very good gaming experience. I started another replay where I intended to murder everyone but then I got busy with Risen and Dragon Age. Might go back when things dry up although I might be satisfied as I rarely replay games.
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November 30th, 2009, 06:47
I liked this game but I really wish they could have budgeted 3 more months to polish out the kinks before the initial release.

I really liked this game but the areas I visited in the latter half of the game, particularly Caladon and Dernholm, felt so empty and unfinished. While I understand Dernholm was a dying kingdom, it felt like they spent about the same time fleshing it out as Shrouded Hills. I suppose part of the problem was that they did such good detail work and packed relatively many sidequests into that small town - which you never really need to revisit- that it leaves some of the latter cities feeling sparse and rushed.

I would still recommend it, though only with the latest community patches, to people who liked Fallout. I just wish they could have spent more time on it before releasing it so it wouldn't have been so incredibly disappointing. Let me be clear though- it was disappointing not because it was bad but because it was so obvious that it was intended to be far better.
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November 30th, 2009, 07:55
As jhwisner points out the early parts of the game are best and towards the middle it just feels empty. There's that HUGE map with nothing in it.
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November 30th, 2009, 08:08
Finished Arcanum last year I think, and it was the best RPG experience I had in ages. Tells you a bit about the RPG's released the recent years I think. "They don't do games like these anymore" is an expression that comes to mind.

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November 30th, 2009, 09:11
Replayed it a few months back. Several times. Yes, it's still *that* good. One of the best ever made, no doubt.
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November 30th, 2009, 13:27
Another typical Troika game - absolute brilliance with some serious flaws. Definitely one of my top 10 RpGs.

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November 30th, 2009, 13:31
Yup, agree here.

To be fair, it has serious flaws that I can't ignore - such as the meaty stuff thinning out towards the latter part of the game.

But it has a tremendously satisfying character system, with tons of replay value and great choices.
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November 30th, 2009, 15:49
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Yup, agree here.

To be fair, it has serious flaws that I can't ignore - such as the meaty stuff thinning out towards the latter part of the game.

But it has a tremendously satisfying character system, with tons of replay value and great choices.
Oh yeah, there are the problems with the character system too. While there are many choices they are horribly unbalanced. And the combat system is fundamentally broken, too.
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November 30th, 2009, 16:41
I've started this game 3 times or so since its release, and love the setting, vibe etc, but for whatever reason I've lost interest and have stopped playing. Each time I've started the game, I catch myself loving the character creation and early bits, and I say to myself, "why on earth didn't I finish this game?". I've forgotten why I can't seem to keep at it. What jhwisner said about places feeling empty rings a bell now though. It's probably been a year since I last tried it so maybe it's time to give it another shot.
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November 30th, 2009, 17:29
I had a hard time getting going with Arcanum, but it was rewarding once I got into the game.

Arcanum would be a superb game if ported to a better engine. The dumb combat and some pretty stupid design decisions make some dungeons (the first dwarven clan being the main culprit) rather painful. As things stand it is a flawed gem at best. Setting and replayability/non-linearity are great, but the UI and the combat just stink.
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November 30th, 2009, 18:22
A brilliant game marred by a permeating "clunkiness".

The fan patches by Drog make the game much better though.

Still, I would kill for a full remake using the TOEE engine!!!!

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November 30th, 2009, 20:56
You're all mirroring my thoughts as I read the article. I wish this was redone with a good engine and some serious character re-balancing.

Ya know, the dragon age engine would probably work pretty well to redo this game. A lot of the same map mechanics, no turn-based combat but other than that…. I should look into the DA toolset.
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November 30th, 2009, 21:54
I tried it and couldn't get into it. Don't remember why, think I just didn't like the 'steam-punk' setting. Might give it another go to see if my 'setting' requirements are more relaxed now.
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November 30th, 2009, 23:08
So I'm a little off the reservation, but I can never get into this game. It's not the combat, or the repetitive environments, or the skill balance issues…hehe, my least favorite Troika game.
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December 1st, 2009, 00:26
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
Oh yeah, there are the problems with the character system too. While there are many choices they are horribly unbalanced .

That's my main complaint, Arcanum is far too biased towards magic use. Trying to play a gun-slinging techie seems at least 2-3X harder than playing a mage.
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December 1st, 2009, 00:44
It is to bad someone has not gone back and moded the game to fill it out more…
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December 1st, 2009, 02:35
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
That's my main complaint, Arcanum is far too biased towards magic use. Trying to play a gun-slinging techie seems at least 2-3X harder than playing a mage.
Exactly. A few of the skill grouping are fairly useless and some are awesome. Ranged combat is totally broken for several reasons not the least of which is that combat starts out within melee range almost every time.

The setting and to a lesser extent the story are what makes Arcanum good.
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December 1st, 2009, 06:35
I've heard this before about guns in Arcanum and it's not exactly correct. If you use turn-based mode with a gun slinger then yes, you are in for a world of pain. But if you start out in turnbased and then switch to real-time you will find battles much more managable.

In rt combat your character gets a lot of shots before the enemy reaches you. I never counted, but it could easily be 10 to 15 shots using a revolver that I got from the doc. Using slower guns of course slows this down, but not as much as switching to TB mode would. In tb combat you may have 3 or 4 shots and then you're face to face with the enemy.

If things got too hectic or I was swarmed then I would switch back to TB, do what I needed to do like heal, switch weapons, throw a grenade or two and then I would switch back to real time. It just didn't make any sense to stick with TB when using guns. You recieved way too many more shots in real time than TB and it felt more balanced. The enemies were still tough, but they were not in my face in every single encounter.

Bottom line use both types of combat for a gunslinger. TB for when things get overwhelming or you need to fine tune your strategy like using objects or moving around and then switch back to realtime for the actual fighting with a gun part. Targeting the legs helps a lot if you are halfway decent with a gun.

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