An important note about this game is that it isn't meant to run on Windows 7, 8, or even Vista. It was made back in 2001, and you'd better be prepared to jump through some hoops to get this thing working. I ran this game under 8-bit color mode with Windows XP Service Pack 3 as the Administrator, and even then I couldn't get the opening cutscene to play (the other cutscenes worked fine, though). I can't guarantee that you'll need to do as much as I did, nor can I guarantee that you'll need to do only what I did. Keep that in mind when looking at this game.
People don't play this genre for the story too often, but it's still there, and still worth mentioning. You play as the Nameless Hero (yes, that's his title), sent to The Colony, a magical island prison, to deliver a letter to the Magicians of Fire. You'll end up joining one of the prison's three camps, the Old Camp, the New Camp, or the Sect Camp, in the process. To say much else would be to delve into spoiler territory, so I'll just say that the story is a lot better than would be expected, but it's still no Dragon Age.
Graphics have come a long way since 2001, and Gothic is nothing if not proof of that. The game looks, to put it frankly, terrible. Models are blocky, the textures are blurry, characters look like they were barfed out of a Dreamcast, forests in the distance are replaced with a really crappy-looking forest picture...thing, and so on. I didn't have much of a problem with it, to be honest, but others most certainly might.
Voices: Terrible, but laughably so. That's really all that can be said about this one.
Combat: Normally, when you start off in an RPG you can swing a sword with ease, but the problem is that said sword is made of dirt and you do no damage. So, you buy an iron sword, put some points into strength, and start movin' on up in the world. In Gothic, however, The Nameless Hero starts off swinging his weapon so clumsily he might as well be on resident drug Swampweed. You overcome this by paying trainers to teach you how to more proficiently use items, but doing so means you're not putting points into Strength. This creates an interesting tossup; is it worth doing more damage if your character can't swing the sword at all? Is it good to flashily swing and spin your weapon if you do so little damage?
Combat is simple, but effective. Block when the enemy attacks, attack when possible. However, the majority of enemies will kick your ♥♥♥ so hard it'll fly off to the Orc Lands until you level up a ton. It can be annoying, sure, but when you finally take that beast down you'll feel fantastic.
Technicality: Oh god. This game has some horrific bugs. It occasionally crashed on me. Oh well, I saved a ton for reasons mentioned above. I can't climb certain ladders due to the geometry of the map. Oh well, there are ways around those ladders. The game repeatedly crashes in a certain late-game area unless you hack the game, turn off the sound, keep playing for about thirty seconds, hack the game again, and turn the sound back on.
Did I sound like I hated this game? I don't. I actually quite like it. The thrill of powering up and taking on tougher foes can't be easily matched. The story is surprisingly pretty decent and I cared to see the end of it. The bugs were awful, the graphics were painful, and the compatibility was hard to get around, but despite all that, I can't help but wholeheartedly give this game a great thumbs up. You won't get it 'till you try it, but once you take it for a spin, you can't put it down until you see the end.