Review by bbears

"Maybe the worst RPG on thie console..."

Arcania: Gothic 4 is one of those games that got mixed reviews, mostly negative, and I was borderline on whether or not to get it and decided to just ignore all those reviews and pick it up. I do frequently do this and am frequently happy with my decisions. Some (more like most) of my favorite games were not critically acclaimed and I do not put much weight with the opinions of the big reviewers, thats why I use this site. But sometimes this habit does come back to bite me in the butt. This game is definitely one of those occasions. Most of the bad reviews mentioned that this game is nothing like it's predecessors that has sort of a cult following, not a problem here! Before I played this title I had never heard of this franchise, which is why I felt those reviews were worth ignoring. What can go wrong with an action RPG? Well actually there isn't a whole lot wrong with it, it's just remarkably boring. The level of mediocrity this game achieves is nothing short of impressive. Arcania is a walking RPG cliche with no character and painfully basic execution of it's even more basic content.

PRESENTATION
Arcania: Gothic 4 is an ugly game. The frame rate experiences constant dips, not to point of unplayability but definitely noticeable and detracts from the immersion. The textures are also quite basic and there is a dearth of interesting art design. Something that is normally a strong suit for RPGs. Pop in is also very frequent. The music could probably be call the highlight of the game but is still nothing special. The other parts of the sound design are just as generic as the rest of the game. And the voice acting is some of the worst you will see in modern video games.

CONTROLS
Gothic 4 works well enough no major control issues, however there is way to many in game menus. The menu system is not very intuitive and not well organized. Want to compare the gear your wearing to the gear you just picked up? Nope. I amazed that a modern RPG does not have this function. Especially considering the menu system is robust.

STORY
The story could not be more RPG stereotypical. You start out as a young man in a small village trying to win the affection of some woman. You go on multiple fetch quests for various reasons in this longer than needed starter area. And then... you find out your special! Not only that but promptly afterward your village is attack and then you swear vengeance against an ultimate evil on you way to fulfilling your destiny! The voice acting is terrible as well which makes the monotone script pretty much unbearable. There is not a shred of originality in this game.

GAMEPLAY
Standard action RPG fare here. At your disposal you have melee, ranged, and magic attacks. The ranged and magic can be leveled to be overtly powerful. Considering there are very few ranged enemies actually you can quickly become overpowered this way. The leveling system after first glance seems like it has nice tree to progress, but most of perks are just stat manipulators. Selecting perks change make little difference as far as new abilities. The mission structure is also very basic. From beginning to end almost all you quests will be bring back this or talk to this person. It really feels like this game is operating off a 1995 handbook for how to make an RPG. Another significant inconvenience is the complete lack of any fast travel system. The world is broken done into multiple zones, and if you want to get another on the only way is by foot. And you walk quite slowly...

LONGEVITY
By RPG standards Gothic 4 is quite short, it can be beat in under 10 hours. For a single player game this represents a dearth of content. And considering this game isn't worth picking up in the first place it get the lowest marks possible for replay value.

VERDICT
This game is awful. It's derivative and boring. The mission structure is archaic and plot/presentation are far below average for this genre.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 03/19/12

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


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