Developed: Troika Games
Published: Sierra Entertainment
Released: August 21st, 2001
A review by Mark Hickman
Created by the team who developed the original Fallout, Arcanum, at first glance looks similar to said game. However, Arcanum is grounded within an original fantasy setting and boasts a strong steampunk aesthetic.
The most exceptional part of the game is the massive world for the player to explore and numerous quests for them to undertake. Before the game starts, the player will need to create their character. The character creation screen has a large amount of options for the player to choose from, so it is easy to fashion many unique characters for each play-through. Sadly, not all character builds will have much to do. In fact, some prove to be completely useless. But since this is a video game and not a tabletop game, it is understandable why this ends up being the case.
The weakest aspect of the game would have to be the interface layout. At first glance, the layout is not clear and without a guide, walkthrough, or spending an inordinate amount of time with the interface, you may get exhausted trying to ascertain what element does what. For me, I had difficulty switching between the world map and area map. But after several hours of playing, you will likely get used to the layout.
The game does have a multiplayer feature, however given the game’s age, chances are you won’t find anyone to play with. Retail copies also came with software that allows users to create their own custom content for the game. Sadly, digital versions of Arcanum don’t include this add-on.
Arcanum is a special game that, unfortunately, isn’t as well-remembered as the Fallout titles. Hopefully, those who haven’t played it in a long time can find their copy and brush off the dust to have some more fun with it. Likewise, for those who have never played or heard of Arcanum, I recommend checking it out. Despite the off-putting interface, the gameplay itself will bring hours of entertaining role-playing fun.
Final Score: 8/10