NOTE: This review is for the 3-disc version of "Gothic Universe" published by Dream Catcher Interactive.
This is only a brief game review to be accompanied with a product review. If you need more to see more detailed reviews, please have a look at the reviews section for each individual Gothic games.
As a big Gothic fan, the main reason I bought this collection is simply to get another copy of Gothic 1 and 2 on DVD as these are still the best 3rd person real time action RPG ever made IMO. In short, Gothic 1 and 2 are extremely challenging games to play with unusual - if not awkward - controls that take quite some times to get used to. However, once (and if) you are used to the control, these are the most amazingly intense games that can provide total immersion in a mythical universe.
Gothic 3 is a decent game once patched, but fail to live up to the tradition of its predecessors in virtually every way. Perhaps the publisher, Jowood, also has much blame to bear in this case because Gothic 3 obviously has the potential to be outstanding. Who knows, if on the developer Piranha Bytes had at least another year to rework the beta version that was released, Gothic 3 may have set a new standard for PC gaming.
As for the product itself, the cardboard box contains 3 games that come on 3 separate DVDs in paper sleeve. There is no manual. I wish that the packaging and the presentation would be more fitting of a connoisseur's game library - namely a game package that is more substantial that I can show off. But then again, I understand that cost is a factor.
In addition, these games do not seem to come with any DRM. Once you install them, you can play the game without the disk in the drive.
Here is a few more notes that some may find helpful:
-Gothic 1: No autorun for installation in my case. Browse the disc for the setup.exe file install. Other than that, no special comment here. Same good old original Gothic 1, except that it is on DVD.
-Gothic 2: Same as above - look for setup.exe to install. Also, during the installation, the default install location for the game folder will be the C drive - with no option to change the location. This condition only applies to Gothic 2. For Gothic 1 and 3, you can install the game anywhere you want.
This is the Gothic 2 version that comes with the Night of the Raven expansion. To be more precise, Night of the Raven is not really a traditional expansion where you have more things to do after the original campaign. Rather, it is different version of Gothic 2, where you will play original campaign all over again with expanded game world and expanded quest (and with more challenging opponents). In short, you are not playing the original Gothic 2. Personally, I wish BOTH versions are included, and one can choose which one to play. The main reason is that the difficulty level of Night of the Raven is definitely NOT recommended for casual gamers.
-Gothic 3: This is the un-patched version. Be sure to patch accordingly or you may possibly have a broken game riddled with technical issues and broken quests - right from the start. Forget the official patch; I believe the latest, and the best thus far, is community patch 1.6
Overall, this collection is a bargain, and should belong in every hard-core PCRPG Gamers' library.
Welcome to the Gothic Universe, where there is always "something to be had".