When you play ArcaniA aka Gothic 4, it seems to be very important how the game is compared to it's predecessors. And there's a lot to live up to because the first 2 games were considered sort of icons of the genre. Here’s a list of remarks made while playing:
+ Looting is fast and simple. You’ll get to feel since there’ll be A LOT of looting.
+ One of the coolest looking minimaps I've seen.
+ Main quest conversations trigger automatically when approaching the right npc. This prevents fruitless dialogues with npc's who don't really have anything to say.
+ Health regenerates
+ Interesting lock picking system
+ Game creates savegames itself in important places. Don't remember the previous ones doing that.
- If the quest location stays out of the range of the minimap then the minimap doesn't show you the direction towards the location.
- Minor bugs with characters getting stuck behind invisible obstacles.
- The question weather it is open world or not. Fans of Gothic say that ArcaniA is not open world like the other Gothic games were. I ask: was Gothic 1 open world? They say 'yes, but a really small open world'. I say: well, there you have it. Arcania has those small areas, bigger than in Witcher, but it's not open in the same way Gothic 3, Skyrim and GTA were. I bring it up because it has been noted as a flaw.
- Levelling up badly balanced. The game is way too generous in helping you max your stats. By the time I was through two thirds of the game I had maxed out everything I needed.
+ Beautiful textures, highly improved compared to Gothic 3 BUT they blend together horribly.
+ Weirdly the game get's better designwise as the it advances. Looks like they created the first chapter just to learn how to do the job.
- The guy who created the 3D models didn't have a clue about human anatomy.
- Like so often in games the main character looks like some fancy-pants out of a men's magazine.
- In game written material is in some kind of modern comic font which doesn’t blend with the rest of the game at all.
- During dialogues, when the characters are zoomed in, armor stretches and bends as if it was part of flesh and muscle.
- Insanely few character models. The orcs, for example, look all the same.
+ ArcaniA’s best feature: they've come up with a helpful, easy-to-use dodging system. My experience with other games (Elder Scrolls, Assassin's Creed, Gothic) is that going in for the kill is more profitable that starting to dodge/ block, which in most cases is hard and pointless. ArcaniA nailed it and I give them huge credit for it.
+ Npc's with quests are marked with an exclamation mark.
+ Auto-aim enemies in malee battle (like in Assassin’s Creed) . In ArcaniA you come across places where you fight off 8 enemies or so at once. The auto trigger feature makes the battle in such occasions more fluent and faster overall.
+ The protagonist actually talks when you trigger a dialogue. Games these days (Skyrim, Half-Life etc.) have taken the silent protagonist approach which in my opinion closes some potent doors.
+ Diego and Gorn are the coolest they've ever been during the whole series.
+ The character is a charming fellow with good spirit. It contrasts highly with the previous nameless hero who at least in Gothic 3: Forsaken Gods was a war mongering bloody dictator who went after some small tribes that wanted to live their own way).
+ Goblins do whatever goblins might do before you arrive, they don't just stand there idly. They have a tribal look and seem a little more sophisticated than those poor bare guys in Gothic 3. AND they carry cool names like ''Warrior of the bugeater tribe'.
+ There's actually an epic story behind the whole thing with twists and drama.
- To the end it doesn't develop that true Gothic atmosphere that made the previous games popular.
- Voice acting is terribly overdramatized, doesn't sound like natural speech at all.
- In the whole there's not much to explore, the world feels empty.
A remark about Gothic: some ancient cultures belived that your spirit is immune to harm if your enemy didn't know your real name. The idea is used in both fantasy books and occult rituals. You have to know the name of the demon to summon him. Knowing the name bends the demon to your will. This allegory now comes to mind as I think of the former nameless hero, now Rhobar III who has been attacked by a demon. While he was nameless, he was mighty, but once he got a name, he became subject to harm. The game unconciously plays with this idea.
Try the game. Never mind the old Gothic games, they had their flaws as well. Arcania had both good and bad sides.