"Gothic 3 scored only 8/10 because producer JoWood 'rushed out' production..." that's a funny complaint because an 8/10 from any major critic is a heavenly blessing upon a game like Gothic 3. Nobody who plays any of the Gothic or Risen games is ever on the fence about them; you either love them or wish that you could set the developer on fire. Allow me to explain:
I love Gothic 3. I come back to it over and over even though by now the graphics are seriously dated (I had originally reviewed the game many years ago and called it beautiful) and I have discovered pretty much everything in the world that there is to discover. There are hours upon hours of quests and content in the game to keep you busy and most of them are pretty easy to figure out. Rarely do you have to trek across an entire continent (like in some other open world RPG's out there) in order to pick up item x and then walk all the way back to drop it off. It happens... but it's rare.
Allow me to first address the number one thing anybody will ever criticize about any Pirhana Bytes game: The combat SUCKS
! Even after official and community patches it's still one of the worst combat systems I've ever experienced and without a doubt the
worst in an RPG. Let me save you some frustration though:
- If you're fighting near a hill, ALWAYS make sure you're below the enemy; if you're fighting downhill you can't hit them for some reason.
- Trying to use any offensive spell other than fireball will most likely get you killed; don't invest any of your learning points into magic. In fact just use archery and you'll be a lot happier with combat once you get the better bows.
- If you do have to fight in melee, just mash the attack button. Never block, it's useless. If the enemy backs up out of range and you can't close the distance, stop attacking for a second and right when they're about to strike, spam attack again.
- Two handed weapons are super strong but while your character is powering up his swing, you will be murdered. With enough points in strenth a one handed sword can one-hit almost every enemy in the game.
Like I said, combat is extremely unbalanced and poorly executed but once you get used to it, it's actually kind of funny. Near the very beginning of the game there is a literal army of orcs camped outside a castle and with very little training and the starting weapon I was able to single handedly kill every last one of them because for some reason they all wait for you to kill the guy you're attacking before another one attacks you. The only exception to that is with archers; they'll shoot you while you're fighting someone else.
The world is huge and unfortunately either due to how old the game is or simply poor design choices (a common theme with Pirhana Bytes' games) the quick travel system is horrible. You have to first find teleporter stones to a town or (very rarely) another location and then use them like an item. A neat idea but it just doesn't work well. For one thing, the cities are in some cases so far apart that even if you use a teleporter stone you still have to walk for 20 minutes to where you're trying to go. Since enemies and items never respawn this gets pretty boring in the mid-game. But on the plus side there is
a lot to see and discover in the world; obviously not as much as say, Oblivion, but it gets relatively close (it has absolutely nothing on Skyrim, though).
As with all of the Gothic and Risen titles, the voice acting is a joke. In Gothic 3 this is compounded by the script also being a joke. I don't think it was given to a native English speaker for proofreading; if it was he just phoned it in that day. I would love to see a Gothic 3 movie that uses the actual game script. That would be comedy gold.
There isn't a WIDE variety of weapons but there are plenty to keep you progressing. Unfortunately theyre's always one obvious choice that's better than what you have, no real reason to experiment with other weapons. For example: I have never used an axe or a quarterstaff. There's no point. That would be really annoying in any other RPG but since, as I mentioned above, combat was little more than an afterthought by the developers of this game... you don't really notice. You just buy the next better weapon so that you can kill faster.
Magic system is broken and they never bothered to fix it, don't even waste your time. Some of the spells have such a long "power-up" (super saiyan) time that you'll be dead before you ever get to see what they do. Having fireball scrolls can be useful in a pinch but they do about the same damage as a strong bow unless you waste a bunch of learning points strengthening your magic (and ultimately losing the game unless you're fairly experienced).
Speaking of learning points, in the Gothic games (and the first Risen) you level up differently than in other RPGs. You gain experience and gain a level like in other games but you don't get anything but learning points when this happens. You then have to find trainers to either increase attributes or teach you new skills. In the beginning of the game you level up super-fast but levelling eventually slows down and then stops so make sure you have a plan on where you want your character to go before you start spending learning points willy-nilly. I like this system, I just wish there were more levels in the game so that you could customize your character a bit more. You can really only MASTER one combat art which is why I say magic is useless... if there were more learning points available it'd be fun to play around with but it stunts your strength in melee or ranged combat.
Reagents for potions never grow back like they do in, say, The Elder Scrolls. On the surface this seems wrong but the fact that there are potions you can make that permanently increase one of your attributes or skills shows you why they did this. If you could just keep making those over and over again there would be no need to ever spend learning points. There are plenty of reagents in the world to make more healing potions than you will ever need, anyway. Honestly come to think of it I don't think I've ever made a healing potion. You find a ton just by fighting and opening chests.
I could go on forever. It's difficult to explain what makes Gothic 3 a good time because, especially as a new player, you will rage quit a few times. You will hear some dialogue exchanges that make you think "why the hell am I playing this?". You will notice some of the skills or crafting recipes never got finished (only 2 or 3) and if you spend money to learn them you basically just wasted your money. Quests will break and you'll have to load a save (and in a couple rare cases I've found, completely start the game over).
But I love it.
Maybe I'm a masochist.