Gothic 3 Review

If you can get past its technical issues, Gothic 3 offers a substantial, open-ended role-playing experience.

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Gothic and its sequel, Gothic II, offered a challenging role-playing experience but had technical issues that caused the games to run poorly. You can pretty much say the same thing about Gothic 3, although the sequel is better in some areas. It still suffers from performance problems, especially on computers that don't have a lot of horsepower under the hood, but its strengths make it worth a look if you have a computer that can handle it and you're in the market for a challenging, open-ended game.

Gothic 3 offers great graphics, an open-ended world to explore, and some unfortunate technical issues.

Like the previous games, Gothic 3 places you in the role of the series' nameless hero, a soft-spoken adventurer who can eventually pursue one of three career paths: warrior, archer, or wizard. The game's story--which puts you in the middle of a nation enslaved by brutal orc oppressors--may seem a bit opaque to players who haven't played the previous games, but those who have will appreciate the references to characters and items from Gothic and Gothic II. Like in those games, the nameless hero starts off with little to no basic training in the game's many different profession skills (which include various schools of sorcery, mastery of different hand-to-hand weapons, and animal skinning, among other things), and can eventually learn these skills by gaining enough experience to gain levels and visit advanced trainers who can teach him.

Gothic 3 makes some real improvements over the previous games. For instance, though you're still expected to progress through most of the game by taking quests that are kept in a less-than-organized journal, the overall quest structure is much better defined and more cohesive. You'll find yourself taking on fewer long-term quests that require travel to many different areas and more short-term, local quests whenever you enter a new area. Though they're sometimes a bit shallow and often require you to kill a certain number of monsters or retrieve certain items, these shorter-term quests are much easier to keep track of, and they're designed to keep you moving throughout the game's vast world in a logical progression--one that can actually affect how the world is laid out.

A lot of Gothic's real estate consists of wilderness broken up by small encampments led by a powerful chieftain character. If you can gain enough of that village's confidence by completing faction-specific quests, you can get the chieftain's attention and, usually, a quest to exterminate an enemy village, which will then be repopulated by the faction you were working for. But the world of Gothic is huge and the game is quite long, so you can still wander all over the place and get lost if you care to, though if you wander too far, you may be ambushed by tough monsters that will make short work of you.

In addition, the combat and control schemes in Gothic 3 have been revamped to be much more accessible and to make more intuitive sense. Gothic 3 uses a simpler "one-click-performs-one-swing" system that makes combat a lot easier to get into, though parrying attacks with a shield doesn't seem as effective as simply dodging backward, which gives the game's melee combat a stick-and-move rhythm that requires you to dodge back from your enemies and weave in to swing your sword. It may seem a bit shallow, but it's not the only option; you can also choose to bring a bow or, later in the game, sorcery into battle. You can get into ranged combat with an easy-to-use first-person shooter interface that lets you point and shoot at your foes.

The combat system is a bit more shallow than that in previous games, but it's easier to get into.

Even Gothic 3's audio is pretty good. Much of the game's music is subdued but suitably symphonic, and it changes dynamically and appropriately, depending on where your character is and whether you're in battle. The game also has a lot of spoken voice dialogue, and while it isn't great, it mostly gets the job done. The dialogue itself isn't snappy or witty, and the actors' delivery isn't always very enthusiastic, but at least the nameless hero sounds much tougher and his delivery isn't as stilted. Also, there's actually a varied cast of voice actors in this new sequel who try to give appropriate performances, as opposed to the embarrassingly tiny pool of voice talent that stretched itself too thin in the previous games. So no, Gothic 3 doesn't have any crotchety old castle guards warning you about orcs and wizards in a thick Yiddish accent, or any jive-talking pimps trying to draw your attention away from purchasing a rusty battleaxe at the docks.

Unfortunately, just like its predecessors, Gothic 3 was released in a buggy state with some notable technical problems, including a tendency for the game to briefly hiccup between frames of animation, depending on how powerful your computer is. Our upper-midrange system with 1.5GB RAM and a 256MB graphics card experienced only occasional frame rate hitches, while our lower-end system with 512MB of RAM and a 128MB card had noticeably more frame rate issues, especially when trying to render new areas. And like the previous games in the series, Gothic 3 still has issues with polygon clipping--you'll still see both enemies and your characters getting "stuck" on geometry in the gameworld, and you'll occasionally see characters clip right through walls, especially when provoked to attack. Also, the game has some issues with character and monster artificial intelligence, particularly when you either gain followers or need to escort characters to safety as part of your quests--a combination of pathfinding issues and getting stuck on geometry often causes your wards to get lost, which means you have to backtrack and go looking for them.

Gothic 3 is also a great-looking game that has detailed character models and interior environments and beautiful outdoor vistas, especially if you have a higher-end computer system and can get away with turning the game's graphics settings up. The game's good-looking graphics go a long way toward making the game seem like an epic adventure in a huge, sprawling world, even if the flat dialogue and issues with characters getting stuck on things sometimes detracts from it.

You'll find plenty of quests and new areas to explore in the game.

All things considered, it's unfortunate that the game shipped with its technical problems, and that it shipped in the same year as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, since it's almost impossible to avoid comparing the two. Gothic 3 doesn't have Oblivion's huge breadth and might not look quite as impressive just because of that difference in scale, but it does offer a fairly well put-together story in its set of linked quests, as well as plenty of freedom to roam. To enjoy the game, you'll need a high-end computer, time and patience, and tolerance for a brisk challenge--but if you have all these things, Gothic 3 could be what you're looking for.

The Good
Improved, more intuitive combat system
Large, open-ended world to explore
Cohesive quest system helps drive the story
The Bad
Performance problems, especially on lower-end systems
Characters either clip through thin walls or get stuck on solid objects
Pathfinding issues with follower characters sometimes cause them to get lost
7.6
Good
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5 comments
Liferipper
Liferipper

They are WAY to nice about the combat system. It's not a just a little shallow. It's a game breaking system and it takes all the fun out of a great rpg.

Really to bad.

jhonel83
jhonel83

I really enjoyed and played the first two games to the max; beeing a completionist, I explored every cave and bush, collected every flower lying around and had fun doing it. Untill I tried Gothic3. This game is terrible -from the plot (which makes little sense -me fighting Xardas? Why??) to the dialogues (atrocious voice acting) and finally the graphics. I use 2GB of RAM, 2.2gz dual core and 1GB Nvidia, and the game is choppy and stutters even at medium settings. Sorry but this game is worn out my patience and I'm not willing to try it anymore

vampire721
vampire721

You didnt even put the sound in the good Go and listen to vista point and tell me thats not beautiful!!!!

TruculentFTW
TruculentFTW

I didn't play many role-playing games and didn't know much about them until I met Gothic. It has been a great game for me and I spent lots of hours on it. I played all of Gothic 1 and Gothic 2 and I was so excited to play Gothic 3. I bought, installed, and started playing. But, I was disappointed. I haven't play much of Gothic 3. I just played that first battle and then I quit and uninstalled. I'm not sure what was the reason I was that disappointed. That was a year ago. But after reading that review, I think I need to give Gothic 3 another chance. Here I come, my nameless hero. :)

Banyek
Banyek

@jhonel83 I did the same thing with the firs two episodes, and even had the addon , which I bought from a store , ( as a hungarian thats pretty amazing btw ! ) The third game was very different, but once you get over the fact, that they changed the mapstructure and the entire characterleveling, its a good game at its own right. Different is not always bad, but in this case, people expected something similar like Gothic2 with bigger map and graphics, but the new title inherited very little from it. If you play the original german version, the voice acting is not that bad! The game did had its graphical problem at the time, but its becouse in 2006 the PC specs were not so powerful for a game like that, but time healed that wound since then. But the positive side of it is that even today, G3 looks AMAZING on maximum high video options. I also hated the story, since it had none! Choose a side and wander around doing quests for that side was not a great goal, but in a world this big, this system gave you hundreds of hours of playtime! 
Thank God Risen sort of learned from Gothic 3s mistake, and made a game that was like a downgraded gothic 2, which was still fun to play! Lets not even talk about Gothic 4 and its addon.

Gothic 3 More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    The Gothic series continues in this third installment.
    7.8
    Average User RatingOut of 3542 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Piranha Bytes
    Published by:
    Aspyr, JoWooD Entertainment AG, Auran
    Genres:
    Role-Playing
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood and Gore, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Drugs, Violence