A handful of new reviews have appeared for the recently released Arcania: Gothic 4, which was originally pegged to be released today but eventually pushed forward. There is little positivity to be found in the reviews, though. GameSpot. 5/10.
What you're called upon to do in pursuit of vengeance is also hard to get into. Quests never reach beyond the formulaic. Every single person you visit needs a job done, so you play a never-ending game of "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours." You're constantly traipsing around the countryside looking for specific monsters to slay, artifacts to pick up, herbs to pick, and so forth. Nothing about these fetch assignments is interesting. The exact same jobs have been doled out in other RPGs for a couple of decades now, and none of the characters that you interact with are the least bit memorable. There is no depth to any of their personalities, and the strained dialogue makes it tough to accept any of the non-player characters as real people. Instead of talking to other human beings, it's more like you're pulling random work assignments off a bulletin board that occasionally puts on a dress and pretends to be a fat medieval bar-wench.
PC Gamer 76/100..
Arcania is at its best when you're in the wilderness, slaying foes and exploring the beautiful world. The fast and accessible combat system will be familiar to Gothic 3 players: left clicking unleashes melee strikes or magic bolts, while right clicking enables you to block or dodge. Enemies glow obligingly before unleashing their most powerful strikes, and survival depends heavily on getting out of the way and counter-attacking. There are a few disciplines to master, including melee combat, archery and magic, but I quickly fell into the rhythm of the old zap '˜n' stab, an ultimately tiresome tactic that got me through every single fight. The slim offering of skills meant there was never sense that I was building my own character, simply opting in to one of several pre-designed combat styles.
Gothic 4 doesn't really help itself. For a start, the majority of stats and experience points are dished up between the most random abilities that only a long-term fan of the series would understand. What do we care if we've maxed out our zeal and serenity? Do they even make a difference? It all borders on the '˜it's so bad it's funny' line, but spend any amount of time exploring its massive world and you'll quickly find yourself failing to see the funny side. .Rock, Paper, Shotgun (impressions).
That didn't happen because the game is awful (it's not; if you want so absolute a qualifier, tell me a suitable term that lies perfectly between '˜awful' and '˜ tolerable,' and that'll do the trick nicely), but because I felt like I was wasting my time. To be mediocre, to inspire no emotion that's the worst crime of all, most especially for a roleplaying game, something that's supposed to inspire a feeling of adventure in an unknown land, a sense of otherness, place and purpose. I felt nothing. No care for anyone or anything even the salt-tingle compulsion of levelling up and looting barely activated the hungry lizard-portion of my brain. I didn't feel hate, anger or even contempt. I felt nothing.