Gothic 3 Reader Review
Gothic 3. A review by FortysixterUK
On paper it sounded perfect, a vast free roaming RPG that can be played in first or third person perspective, a limitless level ceiling, hundreds of quests that , whilst I was playing certainly did not feel generic OR dull.
No indeed from the first moment this game booted up and ran I new I was in for one hell of a ride. I love RPGs. Especially PC based RPGs. All the Might & Magics done ? Check. All the Fallouts done? Check. Every PC AD&D game done ? Check. Did I lose my life to Everquest? Check. Am I now losing my life to WOW?�well, you get the picture�.that�s me�uber-RPG- geek.
So when I first saw how beautiful this game looked, and how potentially complex, yet also, conversely ,how easy the combat could be�I was lost. I became the wayward warrior forging his way home after years of hardship, only to arrive at the local dock, head straight for my home town and finding it infested with invading Orcs, dispatched them as best I saw fit. Once that introduction to the combat was complete, I ventured round my home town, picked up a quest, which just so happens to be THE MAIN STORY QUEST. And what was that quest? To find a blind human necromancer called Xardas who had helped the Orcs conquer your homeland. Why had he done this? It was up to you to find out. If you, like me, read into that simple quest description � find the badguy and kill him� then join the club, as inevitably, that is what the game is about.
I sprang out from my town, cocksure and confident I could take down those odd looking insects and weedy looking wolves. I bound forward with sword swinging enthusiasm into my first pack of wolves. � This � I told myself � is what an RPG is all about, hunt the weak mobs, grind some XP and get those levels�. I wailed into the fray supreme in my combat abilities�..
�.After I reloaded my save, I decided perhaps that wasn�t the best way, and obviously a much higher level of badguy had accidentally wandered near my home town. I decided to specialise in bows, and started offing my prey from afar. This worked, albeit slowly, and I eventually prevailed.
A vast number of hours later ,( I had clocked up just over 80 hours at time of writing, ) I was hard and level 56. But every now and then I would get a sober reminder of how much combat was all about timing as a single wild boar gored me all the way back to my last save.
I had spoken to tens of dozens of NPCs, made alliances with rebels, lied to Orcs about my allegiances, double crossed the Nomads and stolen aplenty from the desert race of stoners, the Hashishin. My quest log has an easy 50 outstanding quests, I had easily completed more than that. I had fought every creature known in the game world, from the aforementioned surly boar, to Dragons and Ogres baying for my blood. I could shapeshift into almost any four legged beast in the game thanks to my magic skills and magic druid stones, and could transport myself across the continent at the click of a magic portal stone ( one found in every city)�.And most importantly, I had some of the best weapons and armour available in game and was rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
The orcs, in my mind had almost been conquered, I had freed numerous Orc held villagers from their oppressors, and found allies at nearly every turn�life was good, I had become the eponymous nameless hero , loved by my friends, and the bane of my foes.
I stood atop a snowy clifftop, surveying all I could see on this bright, clear morning, the sun dazzingly bright should I turn to look at it, the sky a stunning azure blue. A few hundred foot below me, creatures broiled about, hunting their prey and going about their business, a distant conversation reaches me, warning me of a patrol�maybe friend�maybe foe. Across the ravine I am standing on the edge of, I see an Ice Golem lumbering his way back and forth, guarding no doubt, a chest with rich loot, planted where he now patrolled, maybe a 100 years ago , and he has been protecting it from all who steal its precious contents ever since. I turn to my left to see a large herd of Buffalo running to and fro, stopping only to feed. A noise somewhere in the forest beyond spooks them, and they break into a run across the fields they had just crossed, and a distant sound of their thundering hooves reaches my ears. To my right I hear a single Wolf howl, as out of the thick under brush five�no make that six, Ice Wolves prowl from the cover they had sought the night before. I am next drawn to the sound of a distant growl, and look to the vast cliff side towering behind me, at its top, a family of Sabre Tooth tigers patrol, dangerously close to the edge�had they caught my scent? I look slightly down and to my left and spy a crudely made sign, little more than a thick twig for a post, and a crudely written word on a piece of rotting wood, readable only if I get close enough��Wolf Clan��surely, that can be my next destination?
How wonderful does this sound? This is simply one region, and one moment in this game, which you truly live�if, like me, you are able to allow yourself to be immersed in this false but oh so intriguing reality.
A game with massive potential, that it almost lives up to�but brace yourself, because I am about to tear down your walls of hope and optimism with the brutality of simple facts.
The game has a few problems:-
Once installed the first thing the game insists you do is download and install a 60 Gb patch. Oh well.
Once this is done and you are playing, if you are using AMD processors, after a few in game days of gameplay, you will notice that your day / night cycle appears to be happening approximately every ten seconds�save once and its day three on your save game, save a few minutes later and it�s day 171 ! A quick perusal of the README and some forums reveals the fact that you need to install some special driver software for your AMD processor that is, fortunately , included on the game DVD. Of course, installing these drivers makes all your previous save games incompatible. Restart time.
Those two Items are frankly minor annoyances to what comes next.
Random game crashes, often when using the portal stone, or when an enemy casts one of the, admittedly, spectacular spells at you. Maybe you�ll get an exception message, maybe the PC will just lock up. Either way, it�s a reboot or if you are lucky, it�s CTRL-ALT-DEL time. So save regularly.
All those problems above are small fry and can , frankly be lived with, welcome to the world of PC gaming. But�..
�.Some quests cannot always be completed due to you maybe killing a vital NPC for said quest, or maybe for the simple fact that the quest is bugged. Of course, and this is the real slap in the face, you don�t really expect this to be the case with the aforementioned ( at start of review) MAIN GAME QUEST.
Yes you read that right, the game world is so wide open, that you can do what you want, but the game will actually let you do things that break THE MAIN GAME QUEST thus rendering the game un-completable ( no that�s not a real word, I know ) !
You are tasked with finding the big badguy of the game, Xardas. Later on, you are further tasked, by your King no less, to find out Xardas� plans. To do this you must speak with him before you do anything else to him. But seeing as Xardas is in one of the toughest regions in the game with many, many strong foes on the only path to him, this of course , has to be left until later in the game. By default you will need to have good weapons, good armour and the skill to fight you way to him. By then of course, maybe you have freed a few villages from the conquering Orcs? Well put it this way, if you have freed four or more villages, the moment Xardas claps eyes on you, he attacks you�and unless you kill him, he kills you and that�s it.
There is no warning about this anywhere in the game, there is no friendly NPC who mentions to you that actually freeing said NPC from his Orc oppressors ( the POINT of the game) will mean that you can�t actually complete the game. This is an unforgiveable schoolboy error by the company who made this game, and a genuine showstopper. There is no way I am going back to an earlier save in the hope that I have only wiped out three Orc villages instead of four, or indeed, restarting from scratch and repeating the last 80 hours.
You should be able to do as you wish in game, but not at the cost of bring said game �to it�s knees� rendering it a game that cannot be completed.
There are a few other issues like this in game, for instance the fire chalice quest. You are expected to find the twelve fire chalices, take them to the Monastery and endow them with magic. This done, at no point are you told you then need to take all 12 chalices to 12 Paladins placed throughout the gameworld. No, that you need to work out for yourself. At least NOT doing that does not make the game un-finish-able ( way to many hyphens just then ), but it does highlight a crucial fact in this game. It�s not quite finished.
I loved this game, bugs and all, right up until the last 10 minutes of MY gameplay , where it became apparent that the game was broken due to action I had taken 40 hours earlier. A lengthy scan of a few forums confirmed this gutting fact to me. Forewarned is forearmed, now you , dear reader, know what can happen, do your homework before embarking in the beautiful adventure with its flawed endgame, and you may reach the end with some satisfaction.
I must admit, now with the final patch having been released, and a couple of community patches now available, a lot of issues have been competently tamed and dealt with, which is, of course, a good thing, so onto the closing paragraph�.
To close this review, my final comment :-
This game needed another 6 months of development , beta testing and system stabilisation BEFORE release. As it is, the initially unfinished product ( the UN-PATCHED version) will bring ill repute upon the games developers, and exasperation to the seasoned RPGers out there hoping for the next big thing. A sad day indeed for the RPG fan. Bear this review in mind and play the game with tolerance ,caution and ALL the patches however , and you will be rewarded with a rich and deep adventure.
SCORE ( once patched 8/10) ( pre patch 5/10)
Review by FortysixterUK
8 / 10