Learn it. Play it. Gothic I & II are worth a gamer's time. Action RPG's with actual quests, challenges, and storylin

User Rating: 9 | Gothic PC
(Text portion of review applies to both Gothic I and Gothic II Gold.)

If you do not force yourself to adapt to the interfacial idiosyncracies of Gothic I and Gothic II, you are missing out bigtime. It takes about an hour to get into, but quickly enough, everything becomes second-nature and makes absolute perfect sense.

First of all let me say that, in spite of the main voice actor sometimes misinterpreting the context of the lines and emphasizing the wrong words (“Jerry, I didn’t think you'd **show** ” versus “Jerry, I didn’t think **you'd** show”), these games have among the best voice acting and voice scripting ever. The dialogue is well written, well delivered, interesting, quirky, and sometimes downright hilarious. And the main character, especially by Gothic II, has a smooth, easy voice that is easy to empathize with.

The action part of these action RPG’s is good enough, with a bit of hack-and-slash that’s not too complex, relying mainly on timing. As your melee skills increase you will deliver weapon strikes faster and more successfully, and with some additional combos. Again, it’s nothing too intricate.

Wizardry will find you relying on wiles and geographical advantage, particularly early on when your spells are weak. Higher level spells can deal out damage pretty quickly. Changing spells in mid-battle can be confusing, though, and it helps if all your ducks are lined up in a neat little row (or if you got your brain-fingertip connection charged and ready) before getting into some spell-based combat with multiple strong enemies.

The spell effects look good. In Gothic I, you will find that you can run the gamut of melee fighter and still have game time -- and experience points -- left to become a pretty strong mage. I played as a mercenary, developed devastating strength and melee weapon acumen, and later advanced rather far in the circles of the Water Mages. In the sequel, you are somewhat more limited; if you want to play a truly mixed character, you need to tread the paladin’s path. The mercs will have restricted access to magic, and the fire mages will not be swashbuckling swordsmen.

The game world is crafted with love and attention. This is what makes it a great game. The attitudes, personality conflicts, difficult terrains, and hostile beasts all give it the atmosphere of gritty desperation and free-spirited adventure.

At first, you will struggle to survive. When you finally do gain a foothold, enough that you dare to venture away from human habitation, you will feel that you have earned it. Indeed, even with your dearly bought skills, through much of the game you will encounter secret holes and hives that contain beings who will send you scurrying with your tail between your legs, or your guts in your hands. Until late in the game, there will always be challenges that will daunt you. It’s not an easy game -- another point in its favor.

When I first started playing Gothic, I was confused, conflicted, and frustrated. I am glad I read some of the reviews praising this game, and addressing the funky interface (which is not funky at all once you get used to it – nothing could be simpler, really!). Had I not persisted for a few extra minutes, I would have missed out on one of the all-time great, immersive gaming experiences.