Gothic 2: Gold is a game that you either love it or leave it. If you're willing to put in the time and effort, and there will be quite the effort, you'll find a truly wonderful RPG. Gothic 2 managed to iron out a few of the rougher edges of the first Gothic. The controls have improved, the glitches are fewer and less troublesome and the technical aspects of the game are much improved. I love this game. I loved the first one, I loved Gothic 2 when it first came out in North America in 2003 and I loved Gothic 2 Night of the Raven.
Gothic 2 Gold is the proper mix of quests, exploration and combat. But make no mistake, you will die. This isn't Dark Souls, but it can be brutal. The first ten or so hours see your character, no matter which class you choose, as pretty under powered. Enemies are tough and it's not always just wolves or orcs that will kill you. The controls are a bit stiff and until you get used to them, can get you killed. There are factions to join which can somewhat dictate which abilities you can learn, but no matter which faction you choose to side with you can choose how you want to progress. If you want to be a pure fighter, with a two handed sword, fine. A mage that casts massive fire spells, sure. A thief that likes to hang back, and use his bow, not a problem. Gothic 2 lets you decide and mix and match.
Although the game play is wonderful, I found the story in the first Gothic to be superior. Gothic 2's story is still engaging and fun, but it's not exactly the most original story telling in modern gaming, but still enough to keep you going. The music is effective if not a bit repetitive. The voice acting is where Gothic 2 really shines. In no other game will you hear such a varied and bizarre mix of voice actors. Some of them are terrible, which just makes me love them more. And finally the graphics are somewhat average. Even for 2002 they were a bit dated, but the draw distance is pretty impressive, especially for a game from 12 years ago.
Gothic 2: Gold holds a special place in my heart. It may not have a million mods like Skyrim, a massive budget like Dragon Age or a sound track like GTA 5, it's still great. There aren't too many RPG's out there like the Gothic series and Gothic 2 is still my favourite in both the Gothic and Risen series. It's fun, frustrating, exhilarating, challenging, engaging and satisfying. You could easily put 60 hours into your first play through and even more on a second if you're will to explore every bit that the game has to offer. For the price it's hard to pass up.