Gothic 3 Review

The new RPG game from Piranha Bytes, is it an instant classic or an instant flop?

Gothic 3 is like all new RPG games, big open-space worlds, tons of quests and dozens of enemies. It has some interesting new features, very nice graphics and plenty of things for you to do. It does however have a few nasty bugs to watch out for that detracts from the game play quite a bit…

The game could be considered an Oblivion wannabe, boasting big open spaces to explore and no load times, being able to walk anywhere in the game without having to watch a load bar is certainly a nice feature, but unfortunately it isn’t quite as nicely implemented as that – when moving between some areas there is a noticeable period of lag where the game caches its new data. The game also takes a very long time to load and save, which would not normally be a problem if it were not for the other bugs.

I don’t know what Piranha Bytes did to test the game, or if they did at all, but it certainly doesn’t show. This game suffers from a MAJOR memory leak causing the game to crash out while saving after a few hours of game play. I have observed the game using over 1.6 GB of RAM, considering it started with about 800 MB, this is unacceptable. So to prevent you from losing considerable progress I find the best method is save very regularly and avoid using the quick save (which overwrites the existing save file BEFORE it finishes writing the new one, hence if it crashes you lose your previous quick save as well).

Again, I don’t know if anyone ever actually play tested this game. It is extremely unbalanced. When I began exploring the world a bit I bumped into a Troll. This beast, twice my size I thought would make absolute mince meat out of me. It didn’t. I managed to kill 3 of these giant beasts in a row without dying. This is fair enough; I was level 14 at the time. The problem is that there are other beasts in the game which are significantly more lethal that shouldn’t be so. The Wild Boar for example is an absolute killing machine. It has an extremely fast attack speed, so much so that if you get hit once it can keep you on the ground without you able to get up and even hit it once and be dead in seconds. The same can be said for wolves, blood flies and other things. Surely the wildlife that you bump into at the beginning of the game should not be this lethal, especially when you can take on much harder things. My best advice here is save often and if you see a wild boar, RUN!

My next gripe is the quest system. The game essentially gives you two maps, world maps which you acquire throughout your travels, and a world overview map. The overview map does not show your current position, which is annoying, but it would also be nice if there was a way to get map indicators for quest destinations. Yes it may be unrealistic, but having no clue where to go next is just frustrating.

Another interesting issue is the update system. A box pops up when you start the game with a link to a patch. I only just installed the patch and it wants me to download a patch file with the same name again. Is this a new patch that is badly named, or does the updater not have a clue what version I am running?

I’ve also noticed quite a few other UI bugs, just little things, but annoying enough. There are also a few bad design decisions in my opinion too. Take for example the experience system. It took me a very long time to work out I could visit the shrines to ask the gods to put experience into health, Mana, spells etc. There are no markers over some objects such as camp fires, shrines and other objects that indicate that you can interact with them. So you often only discover these things completely by accident. They need some kind of way of showing you can interact with them (although I later found out it is mentioned in the manual – who honestly reads these things?).

So enough talk about the bugs, what is the game actually like? Overall I like it. Having the ability to choose 3 different paths in the game is a nice touch, certainly better than a single rigid main quest line. It makes it feel like you are actually in control rather than being led through the game.

The game world is huge. Not quite as big as Oblivion’s, nor are there as many dungeons etc to explore, but it is certainly big enough. The quests are varied and interesting; they are not all killing things, which is nice. The respect system is good, although is a little unrealistic in that you don’t lose respect for killing the characters who gave you the respect after you finish the quest (or at least I haven’t observed this yet).

The combat system is ‘interesting’. It is a little complex, having 6 different ways to attack or block using a combination of left and right mouse buttons. Some people seem to dislike it, others like it. I would prefer a simpler system, but I don’t hate it so I won’t complain.

There is a very wide range of skills for you to learn, this can mean that you can go off and make a lot of money by making potions and forging swords, but unfortunately you do not get experience from this, you have to pay to have it taught to you. I would much prefer it if you learned from the things you did as well. Also on the note of potion making, I don’t know if I’m missing something, but finding ‘water’ you need to make potions is hard to come across. If you see a water barrel and have an empty bottle can you not fill and reuse it again?

The user interface is quite nice, the quick bar is quite a nice feature, although it keeps disappearing on me and I’m not sure why.

Verdict? It’s good. Not as good as Oblivion in my honest opinion, but with a possible 3 endings there is certainly a lot of replay ability here which Oblivion lacks. Once they fix the bugs it will definitely be worth your time if you enjoy RPGs.

I’ll give it 9 out of 10 assuming they fix the bugs.

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