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Gothic 3 + Community Patch 1.75 + Community Mod Patch 2.4 Review

MatTheCat

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#1
I have just posted this on Metacritic. I am posting it here cos I have just had one of the most pleasurable gaming experiences of my life (I am 36 and have been beginning to think I am too old to enjoy gaming properly) with a pretty old RPG which was critically smashed upon its release:

The largely negative reviews that this game received upon its release, were largely justifiable at the time due to the bug ridden train wreck of an unfinished game which Jowood decided to release. First thing to make clear, is the game which I am awarding a 9/10 for, is not the game as it was released back in 2006, but the game as it is now thanks to the Community Patch 1.75 and the Community Mod Pack 2.4. Gothic 3, running smooth as silk on a decent 2012 gaming PC, more or less bug free, with overhauled combat mechanics, is nothing less than a stunning work of electronic art. This blows every other single player RPG right out of the water bar none.

Although the graphics may not be as advanced as the graphics in more recent titles such as Skyrim, the world of Gothic 3 is somehow much more appealing to the eye than that of Skyrim, with the Gothic 3 world having a much more handcrafted quality to it, with huge attention having been paid to the tiniest of details. Whilst the world of Gothic 3 may not be quite on the same scale as the world of Skyrim, it is nontheless massive and distinguishes itself head and shoulders above the world of Skyrim due to the fact that the Gothic 3 world is immensely interesting to explore as opposed to mainly serving as a Bethesda style space/time barrier between the cordoned off towns and dungeons. Whilst the Gothic 3 towns/camps are indeed the main components of where the story unfolds, they blend seamlessly into the rest of the stunning, dark, but majestic world of Gothic 3, in which dozens of hours can be spent immersed in sheer exploration. In addition to the beautiful and captivating landscape, what Gothic 3 masters more so than any other game is providing for an interaction with the flora, fauna, and minerals of the world, in a way that the player is always on the look our for certain combinations of potentially character enhancing resources and facilities. The combination of loot driven kleptomania and danger lurking around every corner and in every nook n cranny of a masterfully crafted world, makes 'exploration' an absolute delight in this game. Indeed, due to the clever placing of some highly valuable objects in various secret and also not-so-secret locations, the course of the game and the decisions that are made can be hugely influenced by the fruits of exploration.

One of the proclaimed weaknesses of Gothic 3 when compared with its predecessors (G1 + G2), was the simplistic nature of the quests, or in otherwords, the sheer volume of 'go there, kill them, get that' quests in the game. Whilst this may ring true when analysing the game close up, if one takes a more macroscopic view of the quests then what emerges is an epic power struggle in which the gamer must ultimately weigh up the pros and cons of some crucial decisions. Whether these decisions reflect the desires that the gamer has for particular individuals or factions in the game or the need for expediency and sacrfice of otherwise favoured characters and units in the Gothic 3 world, as the game progresses the gamer will increasingly find that no decision is to be taken lightly and will have the constant urge to postpone certain things, in the hope of alternative solutions opening up (which they often do). The whole shebang culminates in the Nameless Hero rising to the position of a demi-god, in which his will (and thus the will of the gamer) decides the fate of the entire continent upon which Gothic 3 is based. There are three possible 'Grand Finales' open to the Nameless hero depending on his actions througout the course of what is probably the most open ended RPG game ever made. With that said, the 'openess' of the Gothic 3 world also contributes to one of its potential flaws whereby if the gamer fails to understand the mechanics of the 'in-game poltics', then he can make the game practically incompleteable at a very early stage. This was particularly true in the unpatched version of the game where it was possible to start 'liberating' towns or 'crushing' rebel camps from the very outset. However, with the CP 1.75, the stun-lock click fest combat (which made simultaneously wiping out dozens of human/ork foes possible in the unpatched version) has been completely fixed. Thus it is no longer possible for the gamer to successfully embark on such uninformed rash decisions at such an early stage of the game.

With almost 6 years having passed since I purchased Gothic 3, I have just completed the game for the first time ever and have got to say it ranks amongst my most pleasureable gaming experiences ever.

9/10. Stunning!

EDIT:

SCREENS:

Fields around Kap Dun looking on towards Ardea (Lighthouse on Cliff):

Merchants in Faring:

Orc Patrol Attacks Liberated town of Ardea:


Bridge at Faring:


Waterfall at Faring:


Slave Labour Excavation Camp Site near Trelis:


Farm Outside Montera:


Montera Town Walls:


King Rhobars Castle Courtyard:



Cliffs at Myrtana looking across to Desert land of Varant. 'Swampweed' growing village of 'Lago' can be seen on coast, trading centre of Mora Sul can be seen on far horizon:



Market Street of Mora Sul:


Temple at Mora Sul:


Nordmar 1:


Nordmar 2:
 
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#2
Some screens
 
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#3
Hmm, I own Gothic 3, I may have to try it with those patches. Hopefully they work with the steam version. Thanks for the review.
 

MatTheCat

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#4
I have edited my opening post to include some screens.....

.......I now have to figure out how to put them in 'Spoiler' brackets so as not to bog down the page when it tries to load.
 
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#5
Gothic 3 is the best RPG game I've ever played even on day one of release!
The community patch helped it big time!
What's the mod patch?? I'm unsure what that is!
 

MatTheCat

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#6
Gothic 3 is the best RPG game I've ever played even on day one of release!
The community patch helped it big time!
What's the mod patch?? I'm unsure what that is!
Since I played with both the Community Mod 2.4 patch and the Quest Packet 4.2 (in german), I couldnt comment with 100% certainty on all the things that the CM 2.4 does and doesn't do. One thing it certainly does do, is improves the textures both in terms of allowing for higher res textures and also making the textres much darker and thus much more in alignment with the colour tones of the previous Gothic games than with the Vanilla Gothic 3 (PB was tasked to make brighter and more colourful in order to appeal more to US market).

If you have a look at the Ardea screenshot (OP above) you will see that wooden huts are all much darker and more realistic looking than in vanilla G3. You will also notice that the skirmish taking place is not the same skirmish that breaks out at the start of the game involving the Nameless hero, and his other main character mates. This skirmish is one of many random skirmishes that break out between rebels/orks/robbers n bandits throughout the whole of Myrtana, whether in the middle of the woods or at the city gates. However, whether this lovely little immersive touch is a function of the CM 2.4 or the QP 4.2, I couldnt really say.

The game also now runs practically stutter free, although this is a function of the 1.75 community patch.
 
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#7
I remember arguing with people online over this game. When it released I absolutely loved it (bugs and all) and played the shit out of it. So many haters out there.

So cool to see people are still making the game better.
 

MatTheCat

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#8
I remember arguing with people online over this game. When it released I absolutely loved it (bugs and all) and played the shit out of it. So many haters out there.

So cool to see people are still making the game better.
I genuinely think that peoples opinions on games are largely swayed by PR, both in terms of official company PR, gaming media PR, and the resultant hype that vibrates through the gaming masses via forums such as this one (and countless others). I could give you a great big long list of 'amazing' games (anything Bioware, Skyrim, etc) which I have sat and forced myself to play on the grounds that since the whole world tells me this game is amazing, it therefore must be amazing and the fact that I am bored is due to some flaw within myself........I have even added to the hype of some of these games myself, before the point comes when I finally admit to myself that i am bored sh1tless with it.

Truth be told, there are very few games that actually really grip me and from which I derive a huge amount of pleasure......Gothic 3 was certainly one of them.....really didnt fancy it much in the state it was in on release though.......the game devs (PB) have themselves admitted that the publisher forced them to release the game before it was complete.
 
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#9
yeah i loved it on release, the only bug i had was the memory leak but i "fixed" that with the font hack. never finished it though, as i rarely do. may have to go back :)
 

Gorn

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#10
I came to this site for a review link through Google, but a thread about Gothic 3 caught my eye and made me register.

I'm a huge fan of the Gothic series - that is everything up to and including Gothic 3, but nothing following it including the Gothic 3 Add-On "Forsaken Gods" that had been outsourced to some Indian company, and possibly including the first "Risen", that felt and played a lot like the original Gothic.

This Gothic 1 made me fall in love with Action RPGs back in 2001, before that I was an FPS guy. I don't think any game ever had quite that kind of atmosphere. It's a shame that the art style of those first two Gothic games hasn't aged very well. They featured huge open worlds and to make it run on 2001's hardware, they cut on polygons and made some ugly trees. Things that didn't get noticed back then, but hurt the eye now.

I waited for 5 months to play Gothic 3 because I'd read about all the bugs and I wanted an unspoiled experience. Playing it with 1.08k (IIRC), it was a boon. Still, it showed that Piranha Bytes (the developer) only has a fraction of the dev team that Bethesda or Bioware can wield.

G3's world has Myrtana in the middle, temperate forrests, kind of standard fantasy setting, Nordmar in the north, snowy Viking land and the orient-inspired desert Varant in the south.

Myrtana is absolutely breath-taking. While technically perhaps a little worse than Oblivion (although hardly so), it looks A LOT better. The strength of Piranha Bytes has always been designing natural and stunning environments. There are beautiful views all around and you often want to remain and just take it in. Also, Gothic has always had immersive settlements, Bethesda has a knack of making towns appear unlively and Biowares towns plainly suck. In Gothic, every settlement has something special about it, something you remember it by and the townsfolk always appear to be living creatures.

Varant is mostly desert, it's much better than I feared it would be, but still relatively uneventful.
But oh boy is Nordmar a fuck-up. I don't know if it's supposed to be funny or if they were on drugs or if the publisher only gave them a week time. Nordmar has an enemy density of three per square meter, fog that lets you only see 10 feet ahead and a multi-level layout with cliffs and mountain paths that renders any map useless. So what happens is you stumble around without orientation and are fighting every second along the way.

Thankfully, the vast majority of the game takes place in Myrtana.

Gothic never had the clever writing of Bioware or the items and perks variety of Bethesda. The Witcher (1) had so much better story and dialogue, Two Worlds II has at times an infinitely better quest design.
But the overall feeling has never been better than in Myrtana or Khorinis before it.

I played through Gothic 3 again not two years ago, with some of the prettifying patches applied, and it was still a marvellous experience that I'd easily rank above Skyrim (which was the first Bethesda game I liked). Reading about new mods and patches here makes me itch. I think I'll give it another go at some point.
And this is the phenomenon: I LOVED Dragon Age: Origins, The Witcher or Skyrim. But will I ever play them again - no.

Sorry for this long post by a newbie here, but I've just been hit with a major case of nostalgia.
 
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#11
This topic made me want to try out this game, always had somewhat of an interest in it, unfortunately it came out around the time of Oblivion(another technically flawed game) and I overlooked it. I think they still have it the Best Buy out here, might have to go and check it out this weekend.
 
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#12
Sorry for this long post by a newbie here, but I've just been hit with a major case of nostalgia.
Np at all; an enjoyable and informative read. Welcome to TPU, definitely. :toast:
 

MatTheCat

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#13
But oh boy is Nordmar a fuck-up. I don't know if it's supposed to be funny or if they were on drugs or if the publisher only gave them a week time. Nordmar has an enemy density of three per square meter, fog that lets you only see 10 feet ahead and a multi-level layout with cliffs and mountain paths that renders any map useless. So what happens is you stumble around without orientation and are fighting every second along the way.

Thankfully, the vast majority of the game takes place in Myrtana.
LOL.

I think Nordmar was definitely PB trying to be funny but after spending lengthy periods of time in Nordmar myself, running around trying to find those key spots for which there are no signposts, not having a fkn clue where the hell I am, the joke does wear a bit thin.....Labyrinthes in computer games are big turn off for me at the best of times, but Labyrnthe roller coaster map designs where a wrong turn takes you 10 real minutes of walking time (dozens of dangerous as hell monsters notwithstanding) to get back to the point where you made the wrong turn (if u can even find it again), belongs firmly in the sin bin of gaming design.....having said that, I never had too bad a time in Nordmar (sign posts and teleport stones helped a lot) and I cant relate to any 'fog' only allowing me to see '10 feet ahead'......but perhaps this was to do with the patches/mods.
 
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