You’ve likely heard of Gothic 3 and the more recent ‘Arcania: Gothic 4’. Both (as most reviews will tell you) aren’t exactly great games… but the original Gothic and Gothic 2 games are absolute gems. This particular review is about Gothic.
Gothic was one of the first truly free-roam 3D RPGs, it was released around the same time as other great RPGs such as Ocarina of Time and Morrowind, but never really made it out of the European market.
It is a gritty, challenging game with a learning curve to match, but are is in depth when it comes to both the story and the RPG elements of the game. Not many older games can boast about immersion factor, but Gothic can. It also featured fully voiced NPCs and player character which was one of the few great things it had over Morrowind and other RPGs at the time.
Gothic starts you off in a penal colony that has been overrun by prisoners, as a player, you must choose which faction of prisoners you want to join, then the real adventure begins. Each faction has their own political system and different values and rewards, but the main story will be the same regardless.
You don’t get to create your character as the game follows fairly strictly to the story. In all of the Gothic games you play the nameless hero. Normally I don’t enjoy playing a male character in RPGs but I make an exception for Gothic because of the wonderful storyline.
In Gothic, there are no preset classes; you spend your Learning Points (you get 10 LP from leveling up) at certain trainers to learn the skills/attributes that you want. You can increase base strength and dexterity stats or use your LP to learn lockpicking, specialize in a weapon type or learn a great level of magic knowledge, etc.
Players can use magic, bows, crossbows and different types of melee weapons in combat. Melee requires a fair bit of skill, you cannot just continually slash at the enemy, you have to time your attacks properly to combo your swipes. Magic does not regenerate in Gothic so you need to use potions often or spent a lot of LP on mana, I felt like the game didn’t want me to be a caster which made me a little disappointed.
Controls are a huge issue for most players, the game has no tutorial and was released during an era when you had to read a manual to learn how to play most games. For those looking for help with the controls, I made a video tutorial that demonstrates the basic controls.
I consider Gothic to be one of the truest fantasy RPGs out there, it drops the player into a harsh, immersive world full of interesting quests, characters and factions and lets them play how they want. They just don’t make them like this any more.
I give Gothic 8.5/10.