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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Gothic, but an enjoyable romp
Erase the "Gothic" from the title & you have an enjoyable 20+ hour hack & slash romp on your hands. The RPG side of the game is light compared to the actual previous Gothic games made by Piranha Bytes, which this isn't made by them as you'd expect, but instead Spellbound. This is because Arcania is an attempt to open up the game to a more mainstream audience, a bit like...
Published on 11 Aug. 2011 by Jules

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not great
On the upside I have to say I did enjoy playing this game. I just didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as Risen (PC DVD), which was more immersive and had more satisfying melee and character progression, and to be honest I'm very unlikely to replay it, where normally I love to go back and replay an RPG game with experience of how to better create a character etc. This...
Published on 10 Mar. 2011 by Not A Number


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not great, 10 Mar. 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
On the upside I have to say I did enjoy playing this game. I just didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as Risen (PC DVD), which was more immersive and had more satisfying melee and character progression, and to be honest I'm very unlikely to replay it, where normally I love to go back and replay an RPG game with experience of how to better create a character etc. This game has actually made me want to go and replay Risen instead.

I found the game was very linear, it soon became apparent you were working within very contained environments, limited side quests and a pretty unimaginative main plot. Some of those environments were pleasant enough, and dungeons avoided the predictability of Oblivion. The way the environments were handled generally felt unpolished however. Entering the water was simply an instakill, where Risen did this in a much more stylish way for example. Clipping was infuriating ... although some activities seemed to encourage you to explore, it was unpredictable which rock or slope you could actually climb or not, which becomes very immersion-breaking when you hit yet another inexplicable invisible barrier, only to go board-rigid and float away back down to where you are 'allowed' to be. It was actually a pleasant surprise in a couple of places to find I could get onto roof tops for example. I wasn't expecting Assassin's creed or Batman but this did seem to further feel like a heavy handed stage-managed limitation. Many interiors had an unfinished feel, with the same world objects being reused and becoming over familiar or interiors being sparse and unconvincing in places.

My rig handled Risen without a problem, but there were performance concerns here (poor frame rates primarlly) which I therefore doubt were the fault of my system as much as the optimisation of the game itself. I only recall one crash though, so that was a considerable improvement over earlier Gothic games. Distant character animation was the most odd, where they moved in stop-motion until well within bow range. Most cut-scenes played sound but not audio, but worked if I quit and restarted the game.

My biggest irritation with the game was the voice direction. It wasn't so much the voice acting (generally the voices and characterisation were fine), but the way the lines were delivered. To me it sounded like the actors had been given phrases to speak without context or direction, and in isolation from other actors, and these phrases had been stitched together at a later point. The end result was emphasis and intonation that made absolute nonsense of many if not most conversations. In some places the voice changed noticably. An NPC who at one point went from an overdone screeching witch voice to a relatively sultry normal voice mid conversation, and then back to mad witch again.

I felt the plot / story telling was confused too. There were bits that I guess might have relied on earlier story items from the gothic series I'd forgotten, but even within this series there were a plethora of similar sounding names and character motivations that just left me increasingly less interested in the plot as the game went on (whereas Oblivion had many times the characters and quests but kept me interested in the detail of the story).

Melee fighting was simply boring - again Risen had subtlties that made this fun, and player skill counted. There was supposed to be something about your weapon glowing to signal the player to click to begin a flurry. Didn't see that at all, and button mashing combined with dodging just worked fine to kill most things.
Bows - I love bows in RPGs when they are done right. Ok so this wasn't a game where you could retrieve arrows, but at least arrows were shown realistically flying and impacting which we didn't used to get. However I just found that in spite of working on the skill it was more interesting and effective to use magic at range. There was supposed to be head shot bonus but the shot opportunity was very very rare : the targeting reticule goes red when you can get this bonus, but I could never get it to work at distance (i.e. on that first critical shot where you are most likely to be able to achieve a head shot) and instead found it only appeared if I was toe to toe with the enemy.
Magic was way over simplified for me. Even Risen was more imaginative with magic (one of my best memories of that game was levitating off a mountain just for the fun of it).
All in all fighting was fun enough and I did like that there were several areas where enemies were tough enough to make it satisfying to break through.

In summary, don't avoid but if you are choosing between them get Risen instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Gothic, but an enjoyable romp, 11 Aug. 2011
By 
Jules (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Erase the "Gothic" from the title & you have an enjoyable 20+ hour hack & slash romp on your hands. The RPG side of the game is light compared to the actual previous Gothic games made by Piranha Bytes, which this isn't made by them as you'd expect, but instead Spellbound. This is because Arcania is an attempt to open up the game to a more mainstream audience, a bit like what Oblivion did for the Elder Scrolls games. So here the RPG side is very light & pretty much an option in the settings menu for some of it, as where as it would had been a given if it were a true Gothic title by PB.

Anyway, taking place some years after Gothic 3 we take on the role as another nameless hero, set on a small peaceful Island we are treated to slow everyday life. But soon we are running around doing tasks & getting married, pretty sweet life here, too good to be true ? yeah, well it has to be, so its not to long until King Rhobar's men arrive on the Island while our hero is off sleeping, and they burn & kill everyone! gits. Time for some good ye olde revenge!!!

So off we trot to the mainland, but its not long before your doing Grannies shopping & picking up this or that delivery, seriously! how have these people coped without you! But although the task's are standard RPG fare, once you get out there in the wild, you come across some nice locations (albeit you can only go so far, it is a little linear), some are actually quite stunning visually, like the Mages home, which is a gigantic tree in a swamp surrounded by Ewok style huts & the like. The combat isn't that hard as enemies tend to warn you when their mustering up a power attack, so its just a case of rolling to the side & beating the holy loving snot out of them, be it with a sword or casting a spell. The other disappointment is the RPG side of things in molding our hero's skills. In the past games we had to learn how to use weapons, skin animals of valuable ingredients etc... but here we already know pretty much everything from the get go, and simply have to add points to skill bar's in a more mainstream setup. Also some game elements have been removed, like stealth, so no more stealth/stealing quests, as we had in the previous games for example.

Since the game has been out, Jowood have gone bankrupt sadly, however the good news is that PB still own the rights to the Gothic name, they just handed it over while they were working on their new game series Risen & Risen 2. Risen is much more traditional & true to the die hard Gothic fans, with the same core RPG elements. Anyway, in conclusion, Arcania is an enjoyable 20+ hour romp, and casual gamer's will actually find Arcania to be most enjoyable, which it is, as it does still suck you in after a while despite my gripes about it not being as in depth as i'd had liked. And if you like this game, then you may wish to try Risen or something like Two Worlds II or the previous Gothic games. Recommended.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable Romp, It's no Gothic though....., 25 Feb. 2011
By 
Kborom (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Having waited ages to play this, it was released briefly in the UK back in October but I missed out then, I was very pleased when it finally arrived and I could look forward to many hours in the same universe as 3 of my favourite games, Gothic 1, 2 and 3.

But this is not a "Gothic 4" as you would expect from that series even though this has Gothic 4 written all over the packaging, disc and game. This is something different.

OK, so putting my high expectations (yes I did enjoy Gothic 3) to one side what sort of game is this? Well, the Gothic series was known for having few stats but what you had was noticeable, this one has even fewer stats and the impact is probably more marginal. There is a flurry attack which can be increased through skill point allocation which essentially pins back whatever you are attacking and sometimes if there are a group of baddies the others kindly wait.
Exploration nods its head to the other games, but this is much more linear as each area opens up once you have cleared certain quests in the current area. Side quests are OK, but you do get the feeling that nothing is happening, and you are the only one in the game world not fixed in place (except for Diego and a couple of others who magically pop up ahead of you).
Graphically it looks very good but with cheesy dialogue and far too few NPC's faces, it's a bit disconcerting when everyone looks like each others brother!

Overall, I really enjoyed the game despite the above and put in over 50 hours. I did want to keep going back and finishing quests, gathering items, killing all manner of baddies (all the usual Gothic suspects are here) whilst carrying more weapons than on display in the Royal Armouries. On that basis the linear nature of the game didn't bother me much and the fact that this was not a true successor to Gothic 3 (which is really Risen) has not influenced my score.

For me this game is well recommended, in a similar way to Divinity 2 which was also much different to its predecessor but also highly enjoyable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An hour to kill every other day, 10 Dec. 2011
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Not an avid gamer... did WoW and realised that the time required to seriously game had a negative impact on my ability to function in a monetary world... so this is a nice way to kill an hour or two without having to think about or remember what is going on... think of it as a great toilet game or a Gemmell 'novel'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 13 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Original Gothic games were fairly free world where you did what you wanted and ducked in and out of the storyline as you felt like. This however is utterly restrictive, moronic and a straight line throughout, or as far as I could stand anyway. Arbitary no go areas, blocking npcs etc ensure you never stray from the exact experience every other person playing the game has had made me sad. Just awful.

This is the last ever game which is also console available I ever buy. As a PC user I have learnt the game producers consider console users either to be universally retarded or the consoles technology allow no depth/complexity/freedom.

Dragon Age was wrecked by console friendly versions and the same happened here.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay if you're seriously into RPGs or a Gothic-fan, 23 April 2014
This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
Graphics:
+ The graphcis were decent for a game that was released in 2010. There are quite a lot of details on characters. The areas look pretty neat as well.

- Many characters are clones and animations could be smoother here and there.

Sound:
+ The music is good overall but really not as amazing as it was in past Gothic games. The voice acting in the English version is completely horrible and makes you cringe at times. Stream should allow players to decide themselves which sound packs to install. The german voice acting is much better.

- The environment does not make too much sound. You would expect to hear animals and other things.

Balance:
+ You can clearly feel that your character is developing and there are 4 difficulties.

- The 4 difficulties are meaningless. Having played the game on 'Gothic' which is supposed to be the hardest difficulty I have never felt like the game was hard. I have never died a lot except for the last boss which was the first time I started using pots and buffs. Funnily enough I only died 3 times on the last boss which isn't even a lot.

Atmosphere:
+ Many dialogues are neat if it wasn't for the horrible voice acting. You can feel part of the world. You keep meeting characters you met before and NPCs seem to be moving with you. You also meet old characters from past Gothic games which is a big plus for fans of the franchise.

- The world is very stale and boring. There is nothing to explore except things that you are meant to explore. You can only quest in the area you are meant to quest. All areas are cut off and you can only progress once you do the required main quest. The atmosphere is long not as brilliant as in past Gothic games.

UI:
+ The UI is decent and I never had issues with controlling my character. You can put up to 10 items and spells on your bar which is more than enough. In addition you can bind the keys.

- The character gets 'stuck' pretty often when he shouldn't be. Sometimes he gets stuck while simply running which forces you to jump occasionally.

Content:
+ The game is somewhat long. It took me 40 hours to finish but that's including doing extremely boring quests which forces you to run through the entire world to look for hidden artifacts.

- Many areas have nothing special in them. Sometimes you run through a jungle area in which you do nothing at all except run. Why not put one quest where nearby orcs have stolen or killed a friend? Instead there are just random little camps with orcs which you clear and move on. A lot of potential was lost. There are also barely any side-quests at all.

Quests:
+ The questing is very bad in Arcania. There are nearly no side-quests. However the story starts off in an interesting way.

- Most quests are only about either killing a few monsters or bringing the NPC a few items. The quest stories are also very boring and even when you can do it in more than 1 way it has no effect on the story or even the rewards.

Charactersystem:
+ The charactersystem is decent. Most of the abilities are useful and you can specialize in things.

- However the system is very simple and boring. You barely have a choice in what to specialize in since there are so little abilities and you will learn all by the end.

Combatsystem:
+ The comatis fast and interactive. You have to dodge certain attacks which you cannot parry. Other attacks can be parried if you are fast enough.

- The AI is horrible. Many monsters simply keep hitting you with special attacks which force you to dodge. They also hit so slow that it is no challenge to get away from them before they hit you. There are also only 3 spells in the game which make being a Mage pretty boring.

Items:
+ There are many items and you can craft a lot of items yourself.

- The crafting is useless though. I played the entire game on the hardest difficulty and have never crafted a single pot. When the game was over my inventory was still filled with all kinds of materials. I only crafted around 3 items to wear. Many items were simply useless. You also get new armour very rarely when the game decides you should get a new armour.

Conclusion:
I have played Gothic and Gothic 2 in the past and was highly interested in Arcania. Sadly I found out that Jowood and Piranha Bytes had an argument which is which Jowood removed them and took the rights to the game themselves. They paid another developer team to work on Gothic 4 which is why the game is completely horrible compared to the other Gothic games. I would even say that they ruined the Gothic story. Even though you meet old friends you don't actually seem to work with them that much. The game turned into a drag half-way and I just honestly wanted to finish it which is why I did not even obtain the best armour available. Worst of all is that they end the story abrubtly. The DLC of the game is required to really understand the story. They obviously cut the game off before release just to sell the DLC of the rest.
I would only recommend this game to real hardcore RPG fans and fans of Gothic but not to anyone else.

I have played this game on this sytem at maximum settings and very high FPS:
GPU: ASUS HD 7970 Matrix Platinum
CPU: Intel Core i5-4670
RAM: Kingston HyperX Blu 16GB
Motherboard: MSI Z87-G45
SSD: Samsung SSD 830
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very lightweight, 13 Oct. 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I bought this game based on my experience playing Gothic 3 which is one of my favourite games.

I assume it is not the same production team on Arcania as the game is a mere shadow of Gothic 3. Most of the things that made Gothic 3 such a good game - the tension, the involvement in the world, the complex levelling system, the need to think things through tactically to survive, have all gone.

I play the game on normal, as I figure if it's normal that must be the setting they intended you to play it on. On this setting it is almost a stroll through the woods with the occasional annoyance while you hack at some things. To say that the combat is underwhelming would be an understatement. You don't have that much choice in the way your combat works - you just click-spam everything until it's dead, or until you are. And the problem is that except to a very small degree your tactics are not that important - you can shoot something with a bow to soften it up or kill it outright but if you could do that with the bow you could almost certainly kill it with a melee weapon alone just as easily. In Gothic 3 I would have to play and re-play battles to get the outcome I wanted as just winning wasn't always enough to achieve the goal. I would sit and think and plan ways to get through the battle to the next bit of the game and have to try and re-try strategies to do it. In Arcania you just keep clicking on the mouse button until it's done.

Also in Gothic 3 there was a political agenda within the game: If you went all out against the orcs at the beginning you wouldn't be able to achieve certain objectives, or, at the very least, you would lose out on the opportunity to gain a lot of experience doing quests for them. In Arcania there really doesn't seem to be much of an impetus to side with one faction or the other or worry about whether you've offended someone as the game will carry on pretty much the same.

The levelling tree is nothing exciting either - in Gothic 3 I constantly found myself striving to reach a particular level or gain a particular skill or spell. In Gothic 4, I just upgrade with very little thought given to it and it doesn't really seem to affect the gameplay that much. This is another reason why it doesn't really matter if you miss out some experience points - there's nothing particularly great to do with them. It's like saving up a squillion Nectar points so that you can get a torch that you could probably have bought for a fiver anyway.

This is a very beautiful game with gorgeous vistas and lush woodlands but there are some lighting effects which spoil it very slightly. The characters are very detailed however there is a very limited number of different faces and all the women are quite obviously different heads put on the same body with exactly the same mannerisms etc. There is also the possibility to interact with various items in the game that have no discernible purpose and there is even a setting for this. In most games of this type if you use a barrel of water you normally gain a health point or two. Not really worth the effort but at least you feel like it's doing something. Not so in Gothic 4. You can saw wood, sharpen swords, read lecterns, and a host of other things that have absolutely no effect on you or the game, they're just there. It seems crazy to me, but there you go.

The story is OK but fairly standard fare - go here, do that, kingdom in trouble etc. There's not a lot that can be done about that really, it's just the way these games are and without it you wouldn't have a lot to do. It's entertaining enough.

Overall, I'm not wild about this game. I'd much rather be playing Two Worlds or Gothic 3 or, even better, Skyrim (though I've played that to death). I find myself whiling away far too much time in much the same way as it's possible to idle away hours and hours randomly browsing the internet without actually doing very much or feeling like you've achieved anything.

If it wasn't for the fact that the game is so very good looking and, dare I say it, cheap, I would have given it a lower score. I'm pretty disappointed.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Average RPG, some flaws, some eccentricities, 17 July 2012
By 
F. M. Havicon (Brighton, East Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
It's always difficult to compare one RPG to another, as they all follow a slightly different set of rules and some people like some rules and others like, well, other rules. We can compare this to Gothic 1-3 however, which were Simply Awful and Unplayable. JoWood software house has a reputation for releasing unfinished clones of big-name games, and Gothic has closely followed Morrowind/Oblivion (Elder Scrolls) up till now - at least inasmuch as the game world is single and persistent and there is very little "loading" between different geographical areas. This gives a much more realistic and pleasurable experience with the option of just forgetting the game for a while and exploring. Sadly Gothic 1-3 suffered from being rough round the edges with a poorly conceived and implemented control and combat system, so much so that I was astonished the series went to Number 4....a relief to find those cons have been laregly ironed out, and few more pros added in the form of improved characterisation, a less fumbling and more precision engineered approached to combat, and a far more detailed inventory system.

The one con I can gripe about is the poor frame refresh rate which makes the gameworld a bit jerky and harsh on the eyes. You'd think that if they were going to a 4th Gothic release they'd try to get it as perfect as they could - fancy overlooking a very basic thing like that! But after a while this seems to become less of a gripe as your eyes and brain get used to it.

Another reviewer has suggested "Risen" is a better gasme....they're very similar, but my impression from playing both for about 10 hours each so far is that this is the superior game. Risen is fiddly and pedantic and filled with pointless dialogues and a "hero" who realy does his best to sound totally out of interest. The dialogue in Gothic 4 is a little more compelling and focussed, tho it does seem that both voice recording sessions were carried out out of sequence - the tones are often dead pan and unresponsive to NPC dialogue tones. Ah well, there's such a thing as working to a budget and such a concept as production deadline.

Gothic will always be in the "also ran" category of RPGs, but number 4 is a significant improvement over its predecessors, and worth grabbing now it's dropped out of the mid-price to the budget price band.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Fun but without depth., 15 Aug. 2011
By 
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I purchased this game as its graphics looked similar to Two Worlds. It was quite fun to play but has three major faults. Firstly it has a very small playing area and is extremely short, (Two Worlds, and particulary II, are vast). Secondly the ending seemed very abrupt; I only realised it had finished when the credits started rolling. Thirdly the battles become monotonous, there seemed little variation from beginning to end, just a few times being locked in with your oponents and having to use healing potions. (Compare this with Two Worlds where you have to start by killing scurrying animals with your bow in order to gain experience: then struggling with wolves, who well into the game, become easy meat, killing two or three with one swipe). I see the price has been reduced and now becomes a good introduction game to its genre.
One year later I have replayed the game and my opinion was higher than the first time. Why?: a/ I wonder if I played this at easy rather than normal level; b/ I concentrated on completing all the tasks (except the multple collection ones which seemed pointless) c/ There was at least one glitch in the game as the final scenes did not appear on my first playing and this time they did, which made a more satisfying ending. I would now give it four stars.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK But Not Great, 14 Oct. 2012
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= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I agree with most of the mediocre reviews of this game, it was fun to play but certainly not a successor to Gothic 3. Game play is very linear and the plot manages to be both simplistic and yet confusing at the same time. Too many characters whom you meet briefly and then later greet again like long lost friends. And most of my allies against the evil king turn out to be exiles from his court who just want to get back into his good books! I wonder if the game was truly intended to be Gothic 4 but then got drastically cut back in scale. Vast amounts of crafting materials that I collected but never seemed to have a use for. Some art work was too a very good standard and yet other graphics were quite shoddy, some female characters looked like they had been sketched in very hastily with poor detail, e.g poor Jilvie. Combat started out fun and challenging but on normal mode by the end of the game it was a stroll in the park, at least using magic. As I say it was a game that felt like it was intended to be much more but then got rushed to final production. All this said I still enjoyed playing it because now the price is so low I'm not asking more than an easy few hours play. So do buy it but don't expect an epic.
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Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD)
Gothic 4: Arcania (PC DVD) by PQube (Windows 2000 / 98 / Vista / XP)
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