Review by PC

"This might turn me gothic.."

Arcania is the newest installment in the Gothic series where Rhobar the 3rd has taken rule over most of the land, trying to unite the islands and land and bring peace to the world. Even with his great army King Rhobar still hasn't succeed in his great conquest and has fallen under a dark presence (like the great king of Rohan Thoeden) leaving his army scattered without his leadership. Taking the role of the increasingly erratic King Rhobar III, does this action-oriented RPG compete with direct competitors like the Elder Scrolls series, Neverwinter Nights or even Dragon Age: Origins? Read on to find out.

GAMEPLAY

The game takes off shortly after King Rhobar falls into madness hearing voices, arguing with them rather than ruling his land. He abandons his conquest as he has fallen to weak and left his two generals Lord Hagen and Lee in charge. His new state takes a toll on his men as they start to worry and lose hope. You watch a short Montague of King Rhobars rise and fall then see him in his chair weak, drifting off into madness. You soon take control of his highness and learn your basic controls as you stumble through a nice dark gloomy cavern attacking demons of the undead only to be awoken as a napping shepherd in some distant land. This shepherd has been having this recurring dream of this king fighting himself out of chaos and madness which you take control of. You begin your journey on a little island called Feshyr where you're living your normal life planning to marry your girlfriend whose father does not approve of. He (The Father) sets you on three trials to earn his respect so you may marry his daughter. During your trials you meet a smuggler who goes by the name of Diego who seems to be your secret mysterious friend who no one knows about. Once you finish your trials you come back to your town only to find it on fire and destroyed with everyone you loved and known murdered. Diego comes to your side and seeks your help and takes you to the land of Argaan where you're true Adventure begins.

As soon as the game started with my all quests I was doing I began to realize I was leveling up extremely fast and wondered why? I wasn't complaining due to the fact that I'm not a fan of grinding my way through each level to unlock more skills or get stronger etc. Basically this game has the most basic leveling up experience system I have ever used. You get experience for talking to people during your quest and then you get your bulk Exp once you've completed it and that doesn't even factor in the monsters you kill along the way. I'm surprised that I didn't get exp for breathing in the end as you basically end up leveling up every couple of minutes. What am I going to do with all the experience you ask? Well I'm glad you did and the answer is.... not a whole lot. You have a basic leveling up menu every time you level up you get 3 skill points per level and have eight skills to learn, each with different levels of the particular skill. Yep that's right you have a whole eight skills to learn so that's a whole three more than five oh wait, actually its only four skills you learn and the other four are more like stats rather than skills per say so I guess that's one less than five now?

Throughout your travels, you will notice that your character sounds a lot like Daniel Craig so if you're not a big fan of him you might get annoyed pretty quick due to the fact he talks a lot and I mean a lot during the game. A criticism I have is that while you're talking to people you get the choice of your response to them with a box with your options in it, but only to realize every single time you get the chance (which is almost every time you talk) there's only one response or leave. Further optional responses would have been good and given the player a little choice and variety.

Most of the game is very basic, the quests you do are basically go somewhere kill something return making it a very low stimulating game. There are the occasional boss battle but they are usually just a little tougher than their minions. The game has a poor selection of enemies, I am not too sure on how many different ones they have but throughout the game all they do is get stronger as you get stronger and rather than getting new monsters they keep the same old ones and rename them and change their stats making them slightly better than the previous ones without changing their physical appearance. There is one enemy that was a very slack attempt at creating. It is a lizard raptor thing called a lurker and when it gets stronger it's a prowler I mean come on what's the next levels? First offense, Second offense, restraining order? Most of the monsters you face are simple to kill making it boring but if they group up and attack you they can kill you very easily, as you can go from full health to dead in just a few hits due to the fact they juggle you and you can do anything about it. Just a hint your roll is your best friend in this game. There a horrible fast traveling system in this game where you can't choose your destination, you can't warp the whole map you literally have to run it without any sprint that's right this adventure game forgot to add in a sprint button which makes the game much longer than it should be. Although you get given a rune at the start of the game called “Rune of the four winds” which makes you sprint for a few seconds at a time which has to recharge. So equip that from the start and it will make your gaming experience that little less painful.

GRAPHICS

The graphics are not up to standard for this time and age; I honestly don't think it's a big game so they could've put more detail into it. In saying that while playing this game I found that my Xbox started to turn into a outdated pc while trying to run the game, every time I went into a new area or the surroundings changed it lagged a lot trying to load it which made it glitch and all of a sudden I'd be near death because little goblins had surrounded me hacking me to death before my Xbox could catch up. They have a good weather system though where it changes quite a lot, it says on the games website that the weather is meant to affect the game play whether it's raining or the wind is blowing down little pig's house but I didn't see anything change. The rain is a good touch its a little like Uncharted where the rain not only hits the ground but soaks it like in real life and your clothes get wet and turn a darker soaked color (but not Drastically)

SOUND

The soundtrack to the game is very pleasing as it fits each scenario right whether you're in a dark cave trying to fight your way to the light or gently skipping through the meadow. The weather sound is up to standard as well as it changes depending on your location and what weather you're in makes you feel like you're in the game. In saying all of that all of the characters voices are appalling I mean they are shocking none of them fit the characters at all, its painful to listen to, almost brings me to tears. It could even be a game killer for some. It still has a long way to go before it's on the standard of the Fable series or the Elder Scrolls series.

VALUE

Even after all the bad things I said about it I did end up overall enjoying it. It wasn't the greatest game I have played but it wasn't the worst either. I wouldn't recommend rushing out and buying it, I'd wait for a sale to get it or even renting it out over a weekend. It doesn't take too long to finish, about eight or so hours. It seems really fast until the final mission where it takes forever to finish, when I was finishing it, it almost felt longer than the whole game which was somewhat frustrating.

SCORE: 5/10

Pros:

- Easy leveling
- Great weather
- Unlimited carrying capacities, not over encumbered, carry as much as you want

Cons:

- Enemies' selection
- Character voices
- Boring skills
- Lag


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 11/08/10

Game Release: Arcania: Gothic 4 (US, 10/19/10)


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