Implayed (Episode 19): ArcaniA – Gothic 4

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I played the first two Gothic titles, and while I enjoyed them thoroughly despite my rather early age at the time, there were elements that would be seen as antiquated nowadays, like picking up whatever you’d find on the floor of the forests to craft random stuff, or the fact that enemies would have a fixed difficulty to them, killing you almost instantly if you didn’t know any better. On the other hand, the two titles were open world RPGs with plenty of opportunities to enter weaving quest lines, even going so far as to enter warzones and influence them somewhat. They were large ambitious games, sitting well alongside The Elder Scrolls series.

Gothic 4 however disappoints. I’ve only played a few hours of it, but even after you get past the linear starting area (which is really just exposition and an extended tutorial), you don’t get to see the truly open world we’ve been used to. Rarely do you see sprawling vistas that make advantage of the game’s generous view distances, rarely can you actually take a less direct route, and when you do find some sort of clever route, you die horribly in-between geometry.

Floating through geometry, my biggest weakness!

Floating through geometry, my biggest weakness!

The combat doesn’t do much to alleviate matters. Arrows do seem to do good damage and have appropriate impact, but spells are all flash and no substance. Close combat generally devolves in a spam-fest of left clicks, keeping enemies in a constant state of stunlock. That counts for bigger enemies too – it’s kind of sad to see an archdevil unable to do absolutely anything because you keep whacking him in the head with your sword. The enemies do have an uninterruptible attack sometimes, but it’s extremely easy to see, has a huge wind-up time and is hence easy to dodge. The combat may get better later on in the game, but early in it’s simply uninspired. You can’t even move while holding your shield up, as hitting any direction while holding the shield button up will make you roll out of the way.

Vistas like this exist, but they're rare.

Vistas like these exist, but they’re rare.

There are good elements to the game. For one thing, the weather effects are nice. The wind feels… windy, and the way that rain starts with the flash of lightning is a great touch. The vegetation also looks rather nice. There’s a lot of items you can craft, and some of them have really nice effects, giving you a reason to pick up all the random plants and trash. Unfortunately, these elements are not enough to save a sub-par game with a great history.

The game is on Steam for 20 Euros. I’d say avoid, it’s not worth the price.

BONUS:

This guy may soon be trippin' balls.

This guy may soon be trippin’ balls.

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