Don't look at my play time. I bought the game just so I can write a review.
What? Yep.. I did.
For the last 12 years I played Gothic franchise. Every winter, when the weather goes bad outside, I have to follow my tradition of playing one of the Gothic games. For 12 years...
If you read this far and you never played this game but you call yourself a RPG fan, then do yourself a favor and buy it!
Buy it and play it for at least 1 hour. This is how long it will take you to get used to the controls and to the open-world-no-hand-holding ideology.
If I could wrap up the review in some simple words, they would be: Gothic = immersion.
This is a common scene that you will find in Gothic 2:
Heavy grey sky, raining. It's night and you see the soldiers gathering around a camp fire and chat. One of them even starts roasting the carcass of a hunted animal over the fire, preparing the dinner. The merchants sit down in front of big water pipes and relax, smoking different types of weeds. An owl can be heard in the forest close to the camp while through the trees, you can see some Scavangers going to sleep for the night. You decide to also sit on a log and enjoy some socialization time after all the fighting and hunting done over the day.
- solid story with deep lore, a mix between religion, mysticism and politics.
- unprecedented AI behavior! Seriously, this franchise is 16 years old but even today the Ai scripting, behavior and combat is unmatched in any other RPG. Sure some other games excel in certain segments of AI implementation, but overall, you wont see a more vivid and realistic AI.
- a true open world. If you see something in the distance, you will most likely be able to reach and explore it. There are many level designers that can provide good content with a large world, but only geniuses can make every inch of a small world filled with content.
- your actions matter. Stealing from someones house or chest? Bad idea. Beating up some important NPC that has many friends and connections? Really bad idea. Betraying a whole faction and be responsible for their deaths? Awesome!
- a very natural and diverse quest system. Make friends, make enemies, steal, hijack, frame some or prove the innocence of others in order to unlock more quests.
- choose your path. This is not Skyrim or Mass Effect. Once you chosen a faction, there is no turning back! Playing each faction it's basically a separate playthrough. This is how much the game changes depending on the path taken!
- absolutely beautiful soundtrack, realistic nature sounds and good voice over.
- somewhat awkward control scheme, but it's consistent! Once you learn to handle it, the controls feel smooth.
- outdated graphics. D'oh! 16 years old engine.
- almost no hand holding. No flashing quest marks over NPC heads, no minimap, no pointers all over the screen (probably this is also a reason why the game is so immersive... nothing to distract you from the actual game)
- high difficulty in combat, but not unfair!
- access violation error for some systems, that can be easily solved by running the game in Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode + Administrator rights.
By today standards the game is 7 / 10. But, by taking a look at the game industry today... this game is a 10/10 from head to toes. This is a rough gem that deserves a chance to be discovered.
Piranha Bytes, thank you for creating Gothic series. With all my heart, thank you!