Arx – End of Sun – Rising…

Six Years Later, It Arrives… After the break…

Arx – End of Sun – Rising…

2010. For sci-fi fans, it’s the sequel to Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

To people who read this blog (all -4 of you), 2010 was the first time I wrote about a mod for the game “Doom 3” called “Arx – End of Sun.”

I’ll be perfectly honest; The more ambitious a mod is, the more likely that all that you will ever get from that mod are a few nice screenshots, maybe a pre-alpha gameplay video on YouTube and a fancy website that soon becomes stagnant and then silently disappears from the Internet. The mortality rate of ambitious mods is so high that when an ambitious mod does emerge from the shadows, it is as common as seeing Bigfoot riding an invisible, pink unicorn over a rainbow while throwing gold coins to the wind. I’ve seen a lot of promising mods just fade into oblivion (the concept, not the Elder Scrolls game), so many that I’ve lost count.

So when I heard that “Arx – End of Sun” had entered a Beta phase and was downloadable… I had to try it out. Had to.

My time for gaming is coming to a close. The world of PC gaming has boiled down to “Go Steam or Go Home.” Sure, games such as Quake 1 will survive the nuclear apocalypse. Everyone and their 8-year old nephew will port Pac-Man or a clone to every conceivable electronic device from now until the end of time. Even I’ve written a version of “snake” in Microsoft Excel while at work (whatever you do, don’t tell my boss). However, all of the AAA games are now on Steam exclusively. And they’ll be there to stay. Forever. Until long after I’m too darn old to care anymore. Seriously… I don’t envision being 80 years old and still yearning to play Elder Scrolls VI: Skyrim.

Anyway, it’s always exciting to see a mod come to fruition, especially one as long-in-the-tooth and ambitious as “Arx – End of Sun.” However, the “beta” in “Beta phase” is very much accurate. There’s a lot to like about this game but there’s also a lot of rough edges about the game as well. I don’t want this article to come off as ungrateful; I’m glad that I live in a future where “Arx – End of Sun” exists even in this form. However, honest feedback is the soundtrack for the story of all successful projects and this needs to be no different.

  • Let’s start with eating. In Arx Fatalis, eating was a big deal. You got hungry and you had to eat. Not necessarily a difficult gameplay mechanic and this was before Minecraft and “crafting” and all of that shenanigans. In End of Sun, though, you eat as though you’re a hyper-active 14 year old student athlete. I understand that eating is a gameplay mechanic but… Every 5 minutes? I eat two carrots and I’m hungry again in a matter of moments? If anything, I would think that drinking water would be a thing instead of eating. So, my advice to the EoS team… Tone down the eating.
  • Loading saved games. Maybe it’s me but… I don’t remember Arx Fatalis being so segmented into small zones. Want to leave the human fort? Loaded into a new area. Want to go to the upper level of the human fort? Loaded into a new area. It’s so frequent that, whenever I walk up to a door and I don’t see the stairway icon indicating a new level, I’m mildly surprised and pleased. It may well be that the EoS team is constantly reaching some sort of hardware/software limitation that dictate new loading zones wherever possible. I don’t know. However, it has made me sort of cautious about continuing to play the game.
  • Part of what made Arx Fatalis a bit wanting was what I considered it’s “barren” landscape. Anyone who walked through the human kingdom would realize that it resembled the set of a fancy college stage play more then a living, breathing city. The same holds true with what I’ve seen with EoS. The bar near the human fort is just as barren as the game that it’s based upon. Considering that the bar is it’s own load zone, you’d think there would be a few more patrons, even if they only padded the storyline which leads me to…
  • Dialog and the lack thereof. Maybe the game is just starting up but, just like Arx Fatalis, the people in EoS really don’t like to talk. At all. With so few people in the game, you’d think that they’d have a story to tell even if that story doesn’t amount to a quest. Yet the people in the game so far are rather purpose-driven in their dialog.
  • Fists a plenty. I’m not sure if putting down your fists can be achieved or not but it feels silly to always have your fists up. All of the time. Unless you have a sword in your hands. I should attempt that pose in real life and see how receptive people are to talking to me.

I don’t want to criticize what is otherwise a worthy effort by the developers. However, I criticize because I care. This is a mod that has achieved something that most mods can only dream of: Being a tangible product that can be played by the masses. I’ve followed this mod off and on for years now. To play something that was only a pipe dream years earlier is wonderful. EoS reminds me more than just a bit of “The Dark Mod,” the free “Thief” clone made off of the same Doom 3 game.

Just as with “The Dark Mod,” though, I remember that the first playable versions of that game were more than a bit rough on my computer. However, with successive revisions, that game became more stable and functional as time went by. I have no doubt that EoS will have the same type of trajectory.

Congratulations to the EoS team for making it this far. I continue to watch their progress with great interest and look forward to playing their game once they reach their 1.0 milestone.

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