All Arkane Studios Games, Ranked From Sci-fi Shooter to Stealth Masterpiece
Ranking every game made by the innovative developers.
Arkane Studios has been crafting unique gaming experiences for over two decades, with many ranking among gamers’ top favorite titles. When you line up every game the studio developed, you’ll notice a clear effort in getting players to interact with the world. Some are inevitably better than others though, and with Redfall on the horizon, we thought it would be worth ranking all of Arkane Studios’ games from worst to best.
7. Wolfenstein: Youngblood
Place Wolfenstein: Youngblood side by side with Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus and it’s clear the two share the same Nazi-killing, action-packed beats. Minute-to-minute gameplay is pretty punchy with weapons to match and fun abilities like Crush and Super-Kinetic Throw. Jessie and Zofia have the agility of Spider-Man and the force of a linebacker, making the gameplay loop solid.
The problems start with the story that hinges on a main antagonist, Lothar Brandt, who doesn’t have the same energy as the more maniacly charismatic Deathshead. This glaring flaw is only made worse by a boss fight that has you filling him with bullets as he flies about the stage, making him more of a nuisance than a legitimate threat. Further aggrevating everything is the leveling system that felt crammed in, and put the brakes on smooth progress through the game.
Worst of all is that the main characters, Jessie and Zofia, sound more like they should be pounding back beers at a frat party than dunking on Nazis. It isn’t that humor isn’t welcome in Wolfenstein — there’s plenty of it — but their constant hooting, hollering, and zaniness gets obnoxious and grating to the ears really quick. It could have been dialed back so the game could lean more into the quiet bonding and jabbing showcased in the opening scene.
6. Dark Messiah of Might & Magic
Dark Messiah of Might & Magic is a relic of a time when gaming used physics as a selling point, and very much leans on the “See how enemies flop around and collide with objects? See how enemies grab onto ledges?” style of design and appeal.
And to be fair, it was and still is pretty cool, which is why Dark Messiah of Might & Magic inches past Youngblood just for the dumb fun you can have with the game. It’s another of Arkane Studios’ titles with a less-than-stellar story, but it’s still worth trying out just for the combat and magic system alone. You can dispatch enemies with a calculated kick straight off a ledge, make them slip around on ice using the Freeze spell or get them to fight each other by using the Charm spell.
It’s honestly a lot of fun, and the game’s low price tag nowadays makes it that much easier to check out.
If there’s anything Deathloop does right, it’s unarguably its style.
The game is presented as a collage of Cold War era tech, science-fiction, and the 60s. It’s wonderful to look at, and really shows that a cohesive and interesting art style can trump realism with ease.
In addition to a great aesthetic, the gameplay loop — no pun intended — is pretty solid in short bursts. You see a lot of Dishonored, a bit of Prey, and Arkane Studios’ signature immersive mechanics in the environment and how you can interact with it. In fact, if you’re hoping to escape the time loop, you need to get acquainted with every area for the best roots. If that means dying over and over to achieve your goal, then so be it.
4. Arx Fatalis
Arx Fatalis was Arkane Studios’ first game, but it ended up setting the benchmark for future titles; specifically, one for the effort put toward giving the player the tools needed to interact with and impact the world.
The way you use everything around you in titles like Dishonored was established by Arx Fatalis, right down to having multiple endings affected by your actions. Of course, Arx Fatalis is more than just a glorified tech demo, as it has what is arguably the most fascinating world Arkane Studios has crafted. It takes high fantasy monsters and races, like goblins and demons, and shoves them into a post-apocalyptic world.
It’s a gem of a game that any fan of RPGs and heavily interactive game worlds should try out.
Dishonored was lighting in a bottle for Arkane Studios, boasting a wonderfully executed steampunk art style, deadly assassins, and supernatural abilities. What more could you possibly ask for?
Well, how about choices and gameplay mechanics that truly affect the story? The Chaos system is the real magic behind Dishonored and its story given that the two were intrinsically tied. Killing more people meant moving the meter towards chaos, which would increase the potential threats to you in any given level. Playing more peacefully, meanwhile, would see the world remain less hostile and easier to exist in.
This system forces you to consider every life you take and action you carry out, because most any of them can drastically alter future levels.
It’s still a breath of fresh air when one gets to experience how well Dishonored handles consequences and doesn’t provide superficial outcomes like so many other titles from the same era did. There’s physical evidence of the outcome, and the player feels responsible for it. And to think it only gets better in the sequel!
Prey is another example of Arkane Studios’ mastery over cohesive art style.
Where Dishonored is steampunk, Prey is a rich blend of science fiction art deco. Wooden panels give way to metal strips of gold and silver, accompanied by walls featuring artwork eerily similar to propaganda pieces and shapely desks with futuristic computers. It’s honestly one of the better examples of how to utilize an alternate timeline story, and carries the same spirit as something like the Fallout or Wolfenstein franchises.
Then there’s the gameplay. On the space station Talos, you’re up against a bizarre alien race known as the Typhon. Unlike your typical alien race in movies and games though, the Typhon aren’t some technologically-advanced lifeform, but rather beings capable of disguising themselves as objects. It makes for some really fun and paranoia-inducing gameplay when you’re questioning whether or not a coffee mug is a coffee mug, and whether or not a threat is lurking in plain sight.
1. Dishonored 2
You’d think with the success of Dishonored, Arkane Studios would stop there, right? Nope!
The developers went on to craft Dishonored 2, continuing the story of the first title and building on the original vision. This time around, Emily is all grown up and is following in her father’s footsteps out of necessity to regain control over her throne.
Every mechanic has been expanded and improved, allowing for more player expression than before. Abilities and mechanics can be combined in even more ways, providing you with even more tools to carry out your assassinations or stealthy infiltrations with. You can even choose whether to continue playing as Corvo or Emily, further differentiating one playthrough from another. It all culminates into more player expression than ever before, right down to your actions affecting the world.
Plus, if you end up enjoying Dishonored 2, you can further feed your fix by playing the game’s DLC, which only serves to build upon the game’s stellar experience and rounds out the series beautifully.
And that’s all of Arkane Studios’ games ranked. It’s honestly a really good resume, given the studio’s pension for creating niche titles that wouldn’t typically be found in the mainstream. How well do you know Arkane Studios’ games, and where would you rank them? Let us know in the comments down below, and be sure to peruse our other Arkane-related articles while you’re there.
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