Not having played any of the previous Gothic games (but will do so in the future) I can safely say Arcania, as a standalone game, is a very poor, dumbed down action RPG. It is almost an insult to the RPG genre and this is coming from someone who isn't even such a huge fan of RPG games.
A nameless "simple shepherd from Feshyr", as he is often called, becomes an unexpected hero after his home village is destroyed. He starts to seek for revenge and leaves the village for an adventure which will lead him to a fight against a mysterious evil power.
Arcania can be pretty much described with one word: boring. The more I played the more annoyed and bored I got with the overabundance of flaws showing up. I'm not even sure where to start.
The main character is such a blank character that I never felt sorry for him. Which actually made me not so motivated in completing the game. His attitude was more of a jerkish (if you could get any kind of personality out of him) and many times I wished he would fail with his quest rather than complete it. In general all the characters in the game are really bland and nowhere interesting. The cringeworthy dialogue and the laughable voice acting didn't help either. Nor the horrible looking character models which often looked almost incomplete. Even most of the NPCs you talked to and received quests from had been recycled making you talk to the same men and women multiple times. It wasn't believable at all.
The main problem the game has is that it is far too easy. Everything is easy making it boring. Combat means spamming one button. Well two, if you bother to either block the attacks (so useless when you can only do it if you stay in place) or evade them by rolling. Enemy movement is predictable. Magic instead is in scrolls which you can buy and I found it to be not only useless but unnecessary. You really don't need any skills in playing this game.
Do I still need to go on? Story was so generic that I already forgot what it was. Oh wait, just some everyday generic guy becoming a generic hero and saving the kingdom from generic evil power because he was angry that his generic village was destroyed and finding about that created as much emotion in me as going to the toilet. So many of the enemies too were generic and boring fantasy game enemies such as wolves, skeletons, lizards and orcs.
And why do they have to make endings so bad? Finishing the game I felt like I actually didn't do so. It wasn't rewarding after playing such a poor game.
One of the only good things I can mention is kind of pointless anyway with the game being as easy as it is. There is variety in items: potions, foods, weapons, armour and all the stuff you can craft by yourself. But then again you really don't need any of that. Only after playing 3/4 of the game did I truly need to use a potion. All the stuff you needed were to be found from the world or you got them from finishing quests so you didn't need to buy anything. Arrows were the only things I bought. And by the end of the game I accumulated so much money which kept me wondering what could I have possibly bought with it.
At this point I've had to look hard for positives. The other one I could come up was that all the armour and weapons look pretty great. It think it is sad when you have to put your brain cells to the extreme thinking what you liked about the game. I even put off writing this review for so long because of that.
+ Armour and weapons looks good
+ Lots of items to choose from
- Boring story
- Boring and easy combat
- Boring enemies
- Bad dialogue and voice acting
- Bland main character
- Recycled, awful and incomplete character models
- Useless magic