A remarkable atmosphere that suck's you in, despite the flaws.
Gothic 1 was among my favorite rpg's when it cam out. I thought it was really good, with full voice acting, a big world and multiple paths through the game. It was like Daggerfall, unfortunately, too much like Daggerfall. It was drenched with bugs that made it almost unplayable at times. Gothic 2 did improve on the bugs, but that’s about it.
So let’s start with what people moan about the most, combat. It is extremely complicated, and if you don't read the manual, you are heading into deep water. So how dose it work. Well you lock on to you're target, and then you strafe around it using the movement key's, right that doesn’t sound so bad. Well, then we come to the actual attack. How you attack is pretty special, you hold down the attack key. Then you press the direction key that correspond to witch swing you want to do. Yeah I know sound weird. And at first it is, it’s cumbersome, as you have to stop moving to attack someone/thing. You do how ever learn the tactics after a while. But it causes a very steep learning curve; witch is not helped much with the fact that the game is damn hard!
Witch brings us to the next problem, this game is friggin hard! Just a couple of swings can kill you. And if you pick a fight with the wrong dude, he can one hit you're scrawny ass straight to Beliar! Wandering of in the wrong direction will also most likely get you killed as well, as the creatures get tougher the longer away you get from the beaten track. This might sound unappealing, but as long as you remember to save frequently its pretty ok. It gives you that sense of accomplishment when you can get to a place where you never had a chance before... and the first time you kill an Orc you will feel like a god! None of that "hold-you're-hand" stuff like Oblivion, mess up and you're dead.
Now to the good part, the world, graphics and sounds of Gothic 2. This is what Gothic is all about! So the world, talk about living breathing world. It’s amazing, it’s lush and green, with a full day and night cycle. With people doing there daily duties, working at the day, eating and going to the Inn at evenings then going to bed at night. But not only that, but the world is sprawling with landmarks. Tower's on high cliff sides, lighthouse guarding the shore, the docks with the paladin’s ship and rural ruins. The full voice acting is back from Gothic 1, same is the nameless hero's voice actor. Its solid voice acting that helps convey the story in that epic kind of feel that you would want. The music is also amazing; it’s an orchestral theme that really sounds good. It's an important part of the atmosphere.
All in all I would say that every one that enjoys a good RPG should definitely try the game. How ever if you have little patients for gameplay issues, then you should probably stay away. If it wasn't for the cumbersome control's this would be a 5 star, how ever, Gothic 2 is yours truly favorite game of all time. It's just not for everybody.