My First Thoughts on ArcaniA

I was a little bit of a latecomer to the Gothic series, having only recently played Gothic 3.  I didn't actually beat it, which is partly my fault because life interrupted my play on this game, but also partly the game's fault because it was buggy and the best patch was produced by the community and is not an official Gothic patch.  But I really enjoyed some of the gameplay, particularly the vastness of the world and some of the choice given as to how problems would be solved and when the player would tackle certain missions.   I understand Gothic fans will probably say Gothic 1 and 2 were much better, but I haven't played them and at this point the graphics may be too dated for me to be able to get into them.
 
So, ArcaniA is very different in these areas.  The world seems substantially smaller, and the game seems pretty linear so far.  I am maybe 5 hours into the game, and it seems like there are levels, more or less, that encompass each area.  In that level, you have a handful of side quests and a main quest that must be completed before you can move on to the next area.  Each area is pretty self-contained; I haven't had to go back to a previous town yet.  Further, there is very little of the map that isn't used for a quest.  So there isn't much benefit to just exploring the world, which is something I really enjoyed doing in Gothic 3.  You don't really seem to find any special hidden items or story points interspersed throughout the world.  Every cave you find appears to be related to some quest or another, and built such that the end of the cave takes you back to the beginning of the cave.  I understand the reason behind that last item (no one likes back-tracking), but it really hurts immersion for me.  It's just hard for me to believe that every cave in the world is built more or less like a circle. 
 
So the game is pretty, and the combat is a bit better than in Gothic 3, but the design of the game and the scope of the world seem a lot worse to me.  And that has generally made me pretty disappointed with the game so far.  I'm going to keep giving it a shot, but for now I'd say I regret getting it; I'd probably prefer playing Gothic 3 again.

5 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by mzuckerm

I was a little bit of a latecomer to the Gothic series, having only recently played Gothic 3.  I didn't actually beat it, which is partly my fault because life interrupted my play on this game, but also partly the game's fault because it was buggy and the best patch was produced by the community and is not an official Gothic patch.  But I really enjoyed some of the gameplay, particularly the vastness of the world and some of the choice given as to how problems would be solved and when the player would tackle certain missions.   I understand Gothic fans will probably say Gothic 1 and 2 were much better, but I haven't played them and at this point the graphics may be too dated for me to be able to get into them.
 
So, ArcaniA is very different in these areas.  The world seems substantially smaller, and the game seems pretty linear so far.  I am maybe 5 hours into the game, and it seems like there are levels, more or less, that encompass each area.  In that level, you have a handful of side quests and a main quest that must be completed before you can move on to the next area.  Each area is pretty self-contained; I haven't had to go back to a previous town yet.  Further, there is very little of the map that isn't used for a quest.  So there isn't much benefit to just exploring the world, which is something I really enjoyed doing in Gothic 3.  You don't really seem to find any special hidden items or story points interspersed throughout the world.  Every cave you find appears to be related to some quest or another, and built such that the end of the cave takes you back to the beginning of the cave.  I understand the reason behind that last item (no one likes back-tracking), but it really hurts immersion for me.  It's just hard for me to believe that every cave in the world is built more or less like a circle. 
 
So the game is pretty, and the combat is a bit better than in Gothic 3, but the design of the game and the scope of the world seem a lot worse to me.  And that has generally made me pretty disappointed with the game so far.  I'm going to keep giving it a shot, but for now I'd say I regret getting it; I'd probably prefer playing Gothic 3 again.

Posted by snide

I pretty much agree with a lot of what you're saying. Also, I know it's pretty much a given in a Gothic game, but the voice acting in this one is probably the worst I've heard in awhile. Story is utterly throwaway as well. 
 
Still somehow having fun with it mostly because of the improved combat and controls this time around. The draw distance of the world is pretty insane and as much as I want to discount the linear design I'll admit that it's nice to have a tunnel end by dropping you off at the quest-giver. If the game was better on the whole I'd likely neg that kind of closed design, but for a quick action romp (of which this iteration of the game seems) I'll take it vs. having to travel back and forth.

Posted by FirePrince

Agreed.I very much enjoy the loot in this game,and streamlined skill tree.Gothic 1 was complicated to say the least in the skills,with the trainers and the fact that you had to fork over cash for skills.It's simple,but it works.
The problem is-It does not run for shit.I tested the game on another guy's computer,wich is way better then mine,and it ran like crap.I barely get like 25 frames,and my friend barely over 30,but it is still annoying.

Posted by ryanwho
@snide: QL in the near future?
Posted by mzuckerm
@snide: I think I'd be having a lot more fun with it if I just plowed my way through it.  But in these types of games, I have a compulsion to not miss anything, so I'm constantly scouring every inch of each level before starting missions, and ransacking every house I can find for random potions that I don't even need to use in fights.  So that slows the game down for me.  
 
One other thing that is bugging me is that you can just steal from anybody, and nobody cares.  After playing the modern generation of RPGs that doesn't allow that (including the previous Gothic game), it's hard to go back and it's one more thing that breaks immersion.  In Oblivion and Gothic 3, I treated stealing from people as a little puzzle to solve, and that added a lot to the gameplay for me.   
 
I do agree that the game is fairly pretty, the combat is not bad (although using a Bioshock-type electricity stun-and-hack is a little too effective), and I haven't had major performance issues or crashes yet, even though I'm on a laptop.  So that's something.
Posted by SileoNex

As someone who played Gothic since the first game. I find Gothic 4 to be a huge bummer, it is a big step back in the gameplay and it ends up making the game seem very "simple".  Gothic 3 was such a great game in spite of the numerous bugs that Gothic 4 feels like a huge disappointment.