Published on September 21st, 2010 | by prime1
ArcaniA: Gothic 4
We know exactly what you’re thinking: “Gothic 4? But I’ve never even heard of the first three games.” Well worry not console dweller, as even though this epic fantasy series has always been the pervue of PC owners for years, it has finally made the jump to consoles. With a new developer and extra emphasis on accessibility, it’s never been a better time to enroll in Gothic’s enthralling universe. The plot involves a nameless young shepherd who experiences a great loss at the hands of an evil king named Rhobar, and subsequently journeys to the island of Freshyr to track down the aggressor.
Gameplay staples are very similar to the likes of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or Dragon Age: Origins. Forging your own character’s path is central to the experience. Solving quests, speaking to NPCs and taking out foes earns XP, which can be spent on upgrading a wide range of different abilities including diplomacy, magic, stealth and hand-to-hand combat.
Switching from magic to standard attacks is quick and easy, with numerous weapons on offer, ranging from the almighty two-handed hammers, to skinny swords or the bow and arrow. Magic is based on the elements, with fire, water and electrical implementation proving the most memorable. As you level up, players will be able to send out an arc of fire to cover a wide radius, water can be turned into ice (which will freeze opponents for a few seconds) and lightning can shock entire groups, jumping from one unfortunate victim to another.
Crafting and customization also plays a massive role in the game, with gamers able to create their own potions from wild ingredients. As ArcaniA is an action RPG, there’s plenty of NPC characters to talk to as well, and different conversational options can open up new questlines.
The campaign in total will last around 30 hours, with 20 hours worth of optional content for side-quests. It’s this kind of content which will ultimately sell the viability of the gameworld, and Spellbound Entertainment have promised it will be enthralling, full of towns and villages populated by NPCs, adhering to their own schedules and habits. The interplay between Orcs and humans plays a big part in the campaign, and the biological mistrust between the two leads to some intriguing scenarios. Occasionally they will be enemies, other times allies, and certain quests hinge on the uneasy truce between the two.
360 gamers have been burnt by PC ports before – Risen, Sacred 2: Fallen Angel and Divinity II to name but a few – but ArcaniA holds some promise. It may be too raw for certain tastes, but fantasy lovers will relish the potential of roaming around the vast imaginative landscape.