Role playing games from an isometric perspective are a trademark 1990s RPG aesthetic. Usually, these kinds of games were accompanied by complex gaming systems and a detailed, twisting narrative. In short, traditional role-playing games on the PC borrowed heavily from tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons. The now-downloadable title Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is no exception.
Download Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
To download this steampunk-fantasy RPG from Troika Games click on the Download button at the end of the review. The game can be purchased from GOG.com or Steam.
The Game Review
Developed by Troika Games and published by Sierra On-Line, the title was released in 2001 for Windows PCs and became a critical and commercial success.
Employing a steampunk aesthetic before such a thing was really popular, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura begins on a crashing airship and ends with you searching the world for answers. In this respect, the game is more modern than many of its compatriots in that it has crude open-world elements.
This is because core to the gameplay of this steampunk RPG is exploring the world around you and talking to its inhabitants in order to solve the mystery of what happened to you. Interestingly, combat can be real-time or the traditional turn-based system often found in role-playing games. Typical to games of today but somewhat novel for the time, side quests and such are given by non-player characters and often have multiple solutions to their quandary. In fact, players are often given a diplomatic solution to a problem and can even sneak past hostile opponents.
While there are primarily three modes of combat there is a third, variant on the turn-based mode that speeds things up considerably for those players that don’t have a lot of patience.
And, as is also common among role-playing games of this era, you can easily place your points in the wrong category and make your class unviable for further play. Aside from being obscure, some elements in this area are also unbalanced or ineffective entirely. As in role-playing games now, much of what you can do or accomplish is based upon your stats and equipment.
As is par for the course in many role-playing games, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura allows you to customize your avatar’s races, attributes, technological skills, magical abilities, and background lore. Each thing has a small impact on the course of the game and how the player interacts with the world around them.
Initially a commercial success, time seemingly ran out for Troika Games and a planned sequel to be launched in 2005 never came to be.
Knowing that you notice that a lot of the game is filled with good yet half-baked ideas as if the devs were testing out concepts for later refinement.
It is sad that this never came but the original Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura exists as a testament to later 1990s PC role role-playings.
A thorough challenge and an immersive, engaging world, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is a modern PC classic whose time was all too brief in this world.