Alright... just played through Gothic 1 and got some impressions...
It should be mentioned that this piece is over a dozen of years old and for me it's a game of my childhood. I couldn't beat it back then and after many years I bought it again to fulfill this part of my childhood. It was quiet different than I remembered, to be honest.
I had some complications on getting this game to start, as it crashed whenever I tried to start a new game. A short problem, as there are many solutions when you google it.
A bit annoyed but excited I started the game and met the first enemy: the controls! I was so confused that I had to switch back to google and get some explanation. But I don't consider this as a bad point, because the controls may be hard to learn, but easy to master. After an hour of active gameplay it already felt very natural to me and picking up items wasn't difficult anymore.
There are some possibilities to build your character. You can pump your guy to a musclular sausage and focus on strengh, or pay attention to dexterity and use a bow instead. You don't have to stick to one stat though and combine! Magic is also an option and you can spend your skillpoints on max. mana or use better spells (which you can't learn, but buy them as runes).
I've tried everything: Swordfighter, Archer and Mage, and I can tell that the battlesystem in Gothic 1 is terrible and great at the same time. For attacks you focus on one enemy with holding your click. With ranged attacks, such as arrows and spells, you can only hit the actionkey and let the focus aim. There's practically no skill needed and only stats count. Swordfighting on the other hand is a bit different. You keep your focus on one enemy and hit one of the movementkeys for attacks. What I absolutely like is that it really feels like you use the momentum of your weapon. You can use some little combos and it's satisfying when you hit your target.
But what destroys the satisfaction is that sometimes the enemy won't take damage from hits. As a high level fighter it is possible to brutally let your rage go on a lizard for a minute even though you'd one-hit that thing, just because it doesn't take damage for some reason. I don't know if I just overlook something but it's an issue that's not only ruining the fun for me. It gets really frustrating when you face a horde of enemies and while you beat up one beast for nothing, the rest of the crew chews you for breakfast.
But besides the battlesystem, Gothic gives a good first impression when it comes to atmophere. You start with empty pockets and the weakest stats possible. Even the easiest creatures are dangerous and you pick up everything you can, even unuseful garbage. Being on the lowest part of the foodchain, you try to gain some experience to have at least a chance to survive in a fight and you have nothing more than a rusty axe. Without armor it doesn't take much to fall unconcious. So what do you do? You increase your strengh, surprise someone with better weapons with some kisses from your axe and drain his inventory empty. After that, you knock someone else out who has a better weapon whan you and so on and so on... You climb from the bottom to the top and when you joined one of the three camps and get better armor, you can fight like a real man!
But there's an enemy you can't fight with weapons... We call them bugs, and they are present in Gothic! Jammed winches are famous here and you should be happy when a gate opens on action! I counted! In my playthrough I had to pass 6 gates which you have to open via winch and 2 'were jammed' for unexplainable reasons. It's a common thing in Gothic 1 and the forums are full of this problems. The game would be unbeatable when you're stuck in that way, but luckily they included cheats in form of "Marvin-Mode" which lets you teleport to certain waypoints. Probably this Marvin-Mode was made for such situations, but it's annoying anyway when you have to tap out and open up the webbrowser. Oh, and the game doesn't like it when it doesn't have your full attention. You have a 50:50 chance for a crash after tapping out. But even mid-game crashes happen, so save your game every 5 minutes! In my lategame I encountered a crash because a soundfile was absent. It's awfully frustrating and a big minus for the game.
An aspect I enjoyed in Gothic was the simplicity. The HUD consists of only a healthbar and sometimes your mana. There's no questionmarker, read/listen what your NPC has to say, damnit! No minimap in the corner or experiencebar. No textfield which constantly tells you obvious things like "You obtained a Rusty Sword (1)!" and the hotbar for weapons and spells is also hidden. Only the things that are needed right now is on the screen and you have your whole screen to look around the world. Normally you don't have more than 3 quests and because there's no questmarker to hold your hand, you have to think a little bit. I only got stuck because of bugs and I never had the urge to put myself into shame and dig up a walkthrough.
Those crashes, bugs, strange battlesystem and sometimes stupid AI give me a bad view of this game, but it also has a lot of enjoyable things! If I could, I would put Gothic right inbetween good and evil, but because I can't do that I have to choose either "Thumps Up" or "Thumbs Down". And hey, I played many hours, so I had to be somehow entertained. Give this old piece of art a chance!