This is a spoiler-free review of the game Gothic 3. The Gothic franchise consists of three full games and two add-ons. In my review of “Gothic”, I compared the game to “The Elderscrolls 3 – Morrowind”. In this review, I will compare Gothic 3 to its predecessors: Gothic, “Gothic 2” and “Gothic 2 – Night of the Raven”. Since its release, Gothic 3 has had its ups and downs. When it was released in 2006 it was riddled with bugs. It was such a mess that IGN (ign.com) labelled it as “a sprawling, sputtering experience and rated it 4.9 out of 10.
It received a series of updates and with the final update the game was renamed as “Gothic 3 – Enhanced Edition”. In the patched game, most bugs have been eliminated so players should experience few if any problems. The patched version is a good game. It does certain things much better than most games but the game is not without its flaws. From now on, when I refer to Gothic 3 I will be referring to Gothic 3 – Enhanced Edition.
Combat System and Combat Animation
Once again, Piranha Bytes delivers in one of the most important areas of an RPG. I really like the combat system and combat animation in Gothic and Gothic 2 but I like the way these are done in Gothic 3 even more. Although the player can’t do the same strikes in Gothic 3 that are available in the previous games, Gothic 3 gives the player more strikes to choose from. Gothic 3 combat is designed so that enemies move slow enough for the player to avoid attacks and counter them.
Enemies and the player both have several strikes to choose from. Each time the player clicks the mouse the hero does 1 strike. No strikes are done automatically for the player. This makes the combat challenging especially for new players. However, since the player is in control of everything he does, the combat feels very satisfying once the player has become proficient.
In my review of Gothic, I stated that the animation doesn’t stop when the hero’s sword makes contact with an enemy but instead continues until the hero’s sword is at his side – on the opposite side from where it started. This is also the case in Gothic 3. If you do a forehand strike, the sword will pass through the enemy, ending up on your left side, at which point you can do a backhand strike. Another similarity with the previous games is the fluidity and realism of the animation. The strikes flow together very well and look very realistic.
As is always the case with Piranha Bytes games, you must practice to become proficient at combat. In time, you’ll realize when enemies are vulnerable and what strikes you should do to maximize damage.
Gothic 3’s in-game interface is excellent. It’s the best of any game I’ve ever played. Everything you could possibly want to know about your character is displayed in one very well organized window. The information is broken down into major categories accessible through tabs located on the right side of the window. One tab contains your inventory, another displays the skills you’ve learned, another lists the magic spells you’ve learned. etc. If you click on one of the tabs, the information in the corresponding category may be broken down further into small sub-categories accessible through tabs across the top.
The games preceding Gothic 3 have excellent musical compositions but they can’t compare to the music in Gothic 3. I have read posts in forums from fans of the game who feel that Gothic 3 has the most beautiful music to be found in any game. I agree with that opinion. A good way to experience the different compositions is to launch the game and then remain at the main menu when it loads. You will then hear samples of the game’s music play on a loop of about 3 minutes.
Voice acting is a strength for the games preceding Gothic 3. In fact, it is one of the best features of each game. For the original Gothic, in particular, it is truly outstanding. However, it is not one of Gothic 3’s strengths. The voice acting for the orcs is well done and at times the dialogue is funny. However, the voice acting for the human characters is often lifeless and boring. So, overall, I would say that the voice acting for Gothic 3 is mediocre.
Game-world and Graphics
Gothic 3 is a big game. The game-world is divided up into three major areas, each with a unique climate and terrain. n the early part of the game the player does a lot of walking. The fact that it’s big is in one way a benefit since it means that there is a lot to explore. However, it can also be a detriment to the game if the environment does not have enough variety. That is the case in Gothic 3. There are areas that are interesting and fun to explore but there are also areas that are not at all interesting.
This is in sharp contrast to the game-world in Gothic 2 which is extremely well designed with great variety and always holds your interest. So, overall, I would say that the Gothic 3 game-world, like the voice acting, is mediocre.
The graphics in Gothic 3 are fairly good but can be improved with mods, making the game look as good as possible.
In Gothic 3 there are several factions but they are all divided into two forces competing against one another. You can end the game supporting one or the other or you can choose a third option and support neither. This gives you three ways to end the game. The option you choose determines the quests you will be given near the end of the game. This gives the game replayability.
Gothic 3 is a game with its good points and bad points. The things it does well, it does extremely well. However, it definitely has its flaws. Overall, it is a good game and contributes a worthy chapter in the Gothic story.
Gothic 3 Mods
Gothic 3 can be improved with some third party files. To get the most out of this game I suggest you download and install these files. Links to download all files and installation Instructions can be found on the Gothic 3 Enhancement Project’s website: http://www.skyrim-beautification-project.com/gothic3/index.htm