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Arcania: Gothic 4 Reviews

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Arcania: Gothic 4 Reviews

Review - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Mon 18 October 2010, 14:10:23

Tags: Gothic 4: Arcania; JoWood Productions

Let's take a look at how Gothic 4 has been received so far.
 
NowGamer scores it 4.9/10, mostly because of stats, quests, swords, magic and loads of exploring, this stuff doesn't belong into any modern RPG apparently.


But while perusing the info there’s something you should know about the Arcania series of games: they are universally considered to be rubbish. Gothic 4 doesn’t really buck this trend, but it at least has made a few changes that make this the best the series has ever been, but that’s not really saying much.
Gothic 4’s narrative is as clichéd as they come: young, reluctant hero, wise old guide, an evil blight and the customary coming of age story. No sooner does the game open, with you taking up the role of a powerful but admittedly mental king, than you’re shoved straight into the rags of a Shepard who has no redeeming features. Presumably, so that he can indulge in that lovely levelling up and grinding that these RPGs insist you do.
One of Gothic 4’s major problems is its adherence to the old-school setup – stats, quests, swords, magic and loads of exploring. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the frame rate wasn’t horrendous, the combat dull and awkward, and the map system practically illegible – not to mention the truly embarrassing acting and character design.
Well despite all the shortcomings and the abysmal score Arcania still seems to be the best of all Gothic games. One should always try to focus on the positive aspects. I congratulate NowGamer to their choice of a reviewer, it's no small feat to find such a clown.
 
Hold Start Select gave a 6.5/10 and basically all things they mentioned were disappointing, except they got hooked anyway because the game doesn't require thinking. Good to know where your priorities lie.


Where Gothic 4 does excel though is in its ability to get you hooked. With a simple and functional style of play, you don’t have to think, and the game is not at all hard. Maybe a few levels will challenge you but not many. Gothic 4 is in essence a dungeon basher, and it will have you hooked and churning through missions even if just to get through to the next area so you can explore more of the landscape.
And I must say it looks good, very good in fact. The landscape seamlessly rolls in front of you as you progress, only needing to load between cutscenes, which makes the hours roll past as you mindlessly hack apart various bugs and goblins.
Ah, OK. The game also looks good. Very good in fact. At least one RPG element done right. Duh!
 
And finally Hooked Gamers dish out a score of 6.9/10, pondering the lack of an indian tone map.


It's over. I win. I've revealed every area of the map, crawled into every cave, and accepted every menial task - at least every one I could find. ArcaniA was interesting and a little exciting during the final hour or two, once the main quests became more story-driven and ancillary concerns disappeared. Still, I don't think sixteen hours of drudgery is worth two good hours.

Maybe drudgery is too harsh. What Spellbound did, it did with polish. It executed the RPG genre's most basic mechanics well. Every object in the game is meticulously detailed and all the interfaces are easy to use. Not once did the game crash, and I never encountered a broken quest or even an errant pixel.

But I also never encountered a memorable moment. I never experienced an epic battle or even felt challenged. I started out with the purpose of avenging my murdered family, and then I succeeded. Everything in between seems so inconsequential and forgettable.

Sadly, the most interesting thing about ArcaniA: Gothic 4 is its tone maps.
If you don't like thinking you might want to pick up this game asap. It's got electrolytes.
 
Spotted at: Gamebanshee

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