More fun, more immersion!... But less "Gothic".

User Rating: 8.5 | Arcania: Gothic 4 PC
It's been some years since the "pleasent surprise" with the first Gothic that brought us a new concept of and RPG game crossed with 3rd person action game, with a real depth in the RPG elements, like leveling up for skill points that you could use for training with NPC's, the step by step crafting, with the collecting of raw materials, real choices that affected somewhat the storyline... Really, it was a very ambitious and fresh concept for that era and it captivated lots of people. Those elements kept present in all the following Gothic over the next years. But these games always struggled with a lot of gameplay and technical issues that made the game frustrating for most of players and prevented the Gothic series to reach to "The Top". Yet it survived because it had a very specific market that remained loyal since the beginning, always hoping for the next Gothic to solve the infuriating glitches of the previous versions.
Alas, Gothic 4 came out, and for the surprise of all those loyal to the Gothic series, all the elements that made gothic so unique were "dissolved" into a more standard action/RPG concept. No more trainers, no more leveling ups of mana and health, no more step by step crafting, no more "faction choosing", or magic vs combat choices. In short, much less RPG. Instead, a tree of skills, a shabby crafting tab that you can call up at any time and a completely linear story.
The good part of all these is that we can still count with the same old charismatic characters (somewhat aged) from previous Gothic, all the bad guys we all remember, a immersive and well-built story that makes the connection between almost all elements from previous games... So this will still feel a 'little bit' like Gothic! And, FINALLY, we get a game with a pretty neat gameplay (it's a great fun to pound baddies in every possible way!), a lot more of weapons and armors, intuitive interface, no major technical issues, stunning visuals (no more funny looking movements or egg-headed characters with some triangle hair and cubes for feet) that it's really fun and easy to play....
It's simply disappointing that when they finally get the other stuff right the game is no longer a "gothic". Oh well... Maybe Gothic 5?