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The story opens with an amnesiac person waking up in a damp prison cell. Luckily the writing is not _all_ clichés and they have managed to add a somewhat complex plot to the game. During the prison break out, the player is introduced to the world of Arx. A world where the sun has long since stopped shining, the topside is covered in snow and people live in abandoned mining complexes.
The game has a skill point based class system. In which each "class" is divided in to separate skills and the player is awarded points at level up to spend as they will.
One of the bright lights in the dark depths of Arx is the magic system, which is similar in some ways to that of Dungeon Master II: Legend of Skullkeep. The player finds, steals or buys different runes and combining these as mouse gestures releases the appropriate spell. Different from DM2, there is no power setting, but the spells are divided in to nine tiers, in which the power increases the further down one goes. Usually the spells are revealed once the required runes are discovered, but the game has also several "hidden" spells, in which the player just has to keep guessing which symbols to use for a spell. But this system is twofold, spell casting happens in real time, and going through the (often half a dozen) required gestures to cast a spell, can cause a reload to a previous save. Luckily spells can be "pre cast" to a buffer, but it only holds three spells. Usually not enough to take down but the normal enemies.
Game Traits applied to Arx Fatalis (PC) by Morwing