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Gothic Review

publisher: Xicat Interactive
developer: Piranha Bytes
genre: Action Adventure

PII-400, 128MB RAM, 16MB 3D accelerator
ESRB rating: T

release date: Nov 23, 01
» All About Gothic on ActionTrip

December 25, 2001
Dusan "Lynx" Katilovic

There are a lot of elements that have to be fit into a consistent whole in order to produce a successful and appealing RPG title. If we start from the essence, the game clearly has to have a plot and storyline; right after that come good technical aspects like graphics and sounds. Now, if we had to judge Gothic by all these standards, we'd be looking at some impressive results, or simply put, and excellent game. What about the multiplayer, some of you may ask, well, ladies and gentlemen, Gothic nether has a multiplayer mode, nor does it need one!

Once upon a time, a ruler of a mighty kingdom reigned over his domain. But alas, being too confident in his invincibility, he suffered a horrible fate - hordes of orks ruthlessly attacked the kingdom, destroying it in blood, rage and fury. The defenders cried out: "Arrows, our lord, we need more arrows!" But, there simply were not enough arrows - the royal mines had practically halted their production, and the king decided to send all convicts to work in the mines.

Convicts kept escaping from the hard work, and the king sent twelve of his most powerful mages to conjure up a barrier which would keep all living beings within the area of the mine, and let only new convicts in, and resources out. As it usually happens, something went disastrously wrong, and in the chaos that broke out, the prisoners killed all of the king's guards and seized control of the mines. This gave them a great position for bargaining with the king.

This is where you come in. You carry a letter for the imprisoned mages, hoping to get a decent reward for it. Unfortunately, if you prove any less capable than you should be for the task, you will soon find yourself feeding the vultures. The first thing you will notice about the world within the barrier is that the people have formed three camps; the old one, the new one and the religious one. It might sound challenging to balance between the fractions, but that won't work for an inexperienced, ill-protected character like yours. This is why the first rule in Gothic is - be smart, watch your tongue, and stay alive!

Gothic's gameplay is somewhat specific. It is meant for patient and observant players, and contains a large number of dialogues with characters you may encounter. Once you do something, it remains that way, and the consequences will follow you 'till the end of the game. Right after your first meeting with Diego, at the very beginning of the game, you will realize what quantities of data your RPGing brain has to remember.

The choice-based dialog model in Gothic mostly resembles the dialogue models in Ultima or Baldur's Gate; but it is far richer in choices, making the game even more appealing and difficult. Gothic is primarily defined as an action RPG title, which basically means you can expect a decent number of quests and action sequences. You will acquire a sword and start gathering EXPs from the very start of the game. Your in-game journal will take care off all important information, like quest statuses for you. There is one important condition for solving all major quests - you have to earn the trust of a certain character by solving minor quests for him. While solving those secondary quests, you will run into characters who will offer you to work for them and against your current employer, which opens a large number of possible solutions for quests. It is hard to find your way in the utter mayhem of conflicting personal interests. It is equally difficult to give any advice on how you should act... just remember that all your decisions have consequences.

Even though there is a lot of armors, weapons and spells in the game, controlling your character is practically as simple as in Tomb Raider. All movement and actions are controlled via the keyboard, with a fixed camera behind your back. All actions are performed by pressing the single "action" key. If you happen to be in combat, pressing it in combination with a direction key will result in your character performing a combat move, and if you happen to be trading in stead, the same combination of keys will do the trick. All items can easily be spotted, as the engine opens a box with item description if you run across an item.

The 3D engine looks unbelievably good! The surroundings are impeccable, and bear a surreal and depressive atmosphere. All the objects and buildings look just as great. The graphics look that good, in fact, that I simply cannot think of any downside to them... and that especially goes for the eerily detailed textures on characters and monsters you will encounter.

Gothic is an excellent, even though a bit odd and unusual FRP game. I wouldn't feel comfortable with defining it as a member of any particular sub-genre either. I might compare it to The Summoner or Baldur's Gate, but I found it far more interesting for longer playing.


8.8   Very Good

Great graphics, plot and storyline;

No mistake will be forgiven.


1 post(s)
Reader Comments
uk_john Jan 25 2010, 07:32 am EST
Fantastic game that got bad scores in most places because major gaming sites want dumbed down games. IGN said, "if the difficulty level was lower and combat was easier" - what's that if not 'please dumb it down'!!!


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