Are you familiar with the Gothic game series? Did you know that Gothic 4 will be released in October? If you didn’t well here is your chance to learn about it and even play the demo! I got my hands on it today, and decided to do a write up to give my opinions on the demo so far and some incite to those who are interested in the next installment of the Gothic series like I am. If you already know about the Gothic series you should be familiar with the gameplay, and if you want to skip my wall-o-text as I write up about it and try the game out for yourself, a link to the demo is at the bottom of this article. For everyone else, read on, try the demo, and see if you are going to try out this game as well.
No, you can't trade her for someone better looking (I tried)
First off a little back story for those of you who don’t know the Gothic series, it is an rpg series that started back in 2001 and has quite a cult following. The game brought a unique concept of the game, allowing the players to make choices like those done in other games, and doing thing a bit differently from traditional rpgs dealing with things like how you get weapons, to what drops when you kill monsters, even to the point of allowing a lot of choices to the player when they play. Instead of the concept of, “I will get some rare item and goldz if I kill these sheep things.” It is more correct to say, “Once I kill these sheep I can get some meat to cook for when I go fight”. In layman terms this means that animals in the game, unlike other series, don’t drop gold or weapons. Instead they actually drop meat or other parts you can use for cooking and alchemy. You still can get weapons from other sources however. Kill a goblin? If he had a weapon on him you can steal it after his dead corpse eats the dirt you smashed him into. The games also do take one after each other, but don’t require you to play a previous version to be able to enjoy the game. So even if you haven’t played the previous versions, you should still be able to play and enjoy the latest installment. Beyond that you should recognize how the games play if you have played games like The Elder Scroll series from Bethesda. So if you do like games that allow you to explore, craft, and handles how you get your “rares” a bit differently, read on and see if this game is for you. If it doesn’t interest you in the least, read it anyway since I took the time to write all this.
I swear, he ran into my cane. But it's a shame to let the meat go to waste....
Since we are talking about Gothic 4 and its demo, I guess it’s about time to start talking about it right? Okay let’s start then, Gothic 4 takes place about ten years after Gothic 3. Conflict is stirring and war is active in other parts of the world, but it doesn’t affect you. Why? This is because you’re a lazy shepherd on a small island away from all the conflict. The only thing that worries you is if your boss finds out the relationship between you and his daughter, or if he finds out about those sheep you practiced your “fierce warrior training” on. But unfortunately this isn’t all your problems. Someone told your girlfriend’s father that you two have been seeing each other, and you need to convince him to allow you to marry her. This is how you will start out when you first boot up the demo. Without revealing too much I will leave it at that and allow you to discover what happens after that.
Ah the ocean, shame I can't swim.....
Now how does the game play in this installment? If you are familiar with the other games, it is pretty much the same thing but it does seem to be improved somewhat. The combat in the game is fairly simple, left click and you will swing your weapon, right click and you will block. That isn’t all there is to it however, you can also block and roll back to dodge incoming attacks as well. This will help out a lot since it does seem that not all attacks can be blocked with your shield up, at times I still got knocked on the ground from a hit by larger enemies, or took damage to the head from a zombie warrior. There are other elements in the combat that does make things a bit different from other games and does add some other factors to battle. For instance, when using magic you can, and will learn during the demo, that magic does help in battle differently than you think. Using the lightning spell for instance will disable some enemies temporarily allowing you to get close and take a few cheap shots while they’re stunned. During the demo this was helpful during combat with humanoid creatures and larger enemies which cause some issues with the whole smashing your head in easily. There are other uses as well as seen in the demo. In it you need to kill some monsters that look like ants on steroids, but there is a catch. They hide in their shell to avoid you hitting them, while in their shell they actually are immune to all physical damage, and thus magic comes in to play. In it you will be using magical scrolls to get them to come out of their shells to let you whack at them some more. Overall I do like the combat and how it does make you want to get at least some magic spells to help you in your journey. It makes combat a bit more fun while getting you to do more than swing a sword around constantly.
Magic spells, rpg's version of bug spray.
Conversations in the game are something you would recognize even if you never played this series before. In the demo itself you do not have the ability to choose responses but you do get to choose the questions asked. It is nice and all but there is a negative side I have seen to it so far. This is that any conversation that has they say more than one line, ie dialog for a quest or anything of that nature; it is treated more as a cut scene than a normal flowing part of the game. What I mean by this is when the conversation starts; you will load into a close range shot of them and watch as the conversation takes place. Honestly I wasn’t too fond of this and wished that it instead worked with how you were positioned before but with the ability to zoom in if you wanted to. Another bad part so far, though it may be the fault of the demo itself is that the mouth movements are horridly inaccurate. Some times in the game you will see the other people laugh or talk while the character’s mouth itself remains shut. Again this may be the fault of the demo, but if it is on the finished product I would be a bit disappointed. On the positive side, all conversations in the game are voiced, though I bet you all expected this anyway, right? The voice acting in the game so far is good but not great. So you shouldn’t need earplugs for this game at least. Overall I do like how it’s voiced, but I do wish they would alter the conversation set up a bit so it didn’t treat any chat like a cut scene.
You saw me mention crafting in the series in the second paragraph so you are probably curious about how it is in this installment right? Well, sorry to disappoint you but this game actually doesn’t feature any crafting at all so far. But you can collect the items to craft and read the description on what they can be used for. From this alone, even though that crafting feature isn’t added yet, you would at least be able to know what all the things you are gathering can be used for.
Graphics, graphics, graphics, I am sure you are all still curious about them even though screenshots are provided, right? Well the graphics in the demo so far aren’t spectacular but they aren’t ugly either. Some of the scenery actually does look fairly nice, but it could use some work on the characters themselves. The clothing itself looked a little blurry during my play of the demo and wasn’t especially pleasing to look at. The same thing could be said about character faced at times as well. But with the other features as mentioned, I mostly blame this on the demo and cannot give a final ruling on it just yet. But in terms of actual settings there is a wide variety for you to modify in the advanced settings.
Alright by now you all have a taste of what is in the demo and what you can expect from it when you play it. Despite the points I disliked in the game so far, I have to admit I had fun playing the demo. I do recommend you check it out if you’re an rpg fan and want to try something new. Give it a shot and see if you want to pre-order it like I will.
Links and such:
Download the demo here: www.gamershell.com/download_63874.shtml
Pre-order the game here: store.steampowered.com/app/39690/
Official Site: www.arcania-game.com/
Follow me on Twitter here: twitter.com/justanerror