Gothic 3: Forsaken Gods
How to axe a decent game series.
The Gothic franchise was quite awesome. It was a story-centric RPG that was the anti-Morrowind of its time, with great characters and passable role-playing. Gothic 3 tried to improve the formula by making everything bigger. The game world was huge, the quest tally was huge, the character population was huge, and stats, items and spells were innumerable. In all, it was a lot bigger, but with that everything felt watered down. The story was boring, combat was a joke and old companions were soulless quest dispensers. That’s essentially what you get with Forsaken Gods, but with an added layer of bugs on top.
One can’t help but feel some empathy here, since the time allocated towards Forsaken Gods’ development was laughably minimal, and the results show. Being stressed by a strict deadline, the dev team decided it was for the best to just recycle everything instead of creating something new. Obviously, an expansion set in the same realm as the original game is supposed to have a lot of common elements with its predecessor, but unfortunately in this case it’s only a massive copy.
The game begins from the premise that there was an argument between our nameless hero and Xardas, his mentor and the guy who helped him along the series. The reckless hero wishes to return to Myrtana to bring peace, while the wizard believes that things should be left as they are now. The end result is a fight between the two, out of which the nameless hero barely makes it out alive and ends up in Myrtana.
From this point forward, any trace of plot you find is incidental. While there were hundreds of NPCs in the original Gothic 3 – an aspect that frequently worked against its own benefit – the game world of Forsaken Gods is decidedly barren. You hardly find five or so NPCs per city with anything meaningful to say, while the original had around 20-30. Even if there was a more sizeable population in this game world, chances are you wouldn’t care anyway since there are enough game-killing bugs to send any sensible gamer into an uproar.
Broken quests, missing or misplaced NPCs, dodgy pathfinding, getting stuck in the environment or invisible barriers that artificially keep your quest progression as linear as possible are all present and in ample supply. You must follow quest instructions like commandments, since interacting with the wrong NPC at the wrong time may, unbeknownst by you, break some future quest down the line.
This was the awful mess that was the original release of Forsaken Gods. Thankfully, years later, the game was again picked up and many bugs and half-assed quests were fixed as part of the 2.01 patch that later got bundled with the game as part of the Enhanced Edition. This version does indeed make the game more playable, so throw in an extra star there, but it still doesn’t change the core issues that both this game and Gothic 3 were long burdened with. Deep down, it’s just not a genuine Gothic game. It doesn’t have the charm or wit. It’s soulless carcass.
System Requirements: Pentium IV 2.5 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 3 GB HDD, WinXP