The plot is standard fantasy fare: hero returns to his country only to find out it has been conquered by an army of Orcs.
The greatest achievement of Gothic 3 is the world in which the adventure takes place. It's huge - with three main countries: Myrtana, Nordmar and Varrant - believable and never repetitive: each location has a wonderfully distinctive look, from the strongholds of the clans in the North to the deserts in the South, from crocodile-infested swamps to monasteries in the mountains.
Some details I loved. For example, I entered a cave in which a couple of miners had disappeared, but it was too late, a monster had killed them. I loaded a saved game and tried again: they resisted longer and I saved one of them - and a third time they defeated the monster with no help from me. This kind of unpredictability runs through the game, and it's a good thing.
Each time you pass a level you get some "learning points", but you can't automatically acquire new skills (there are many, from more conventional like fighting and magic to non-combat ones like alchemy and blacksmithing): first you have to find someone who teaches you these skills, then pay him or complete some minor quests. This makes for a more complex but ultimately more realistic gaming experience.
Not that Gothic 3 is flawless. The characters you meet are rather nondescript. Dialogues have a good sense of humour but they lack the flair of, say, the Baldur's Gate series: you can't choose between many lines and often you can't even decide whether you want to be friendly or arrogant, solemn or ironic. I do like that people from different regions talk in different ways. An odd detail is the fact people living in Gothic's world are almost only male - women are *very* few. Weird.
A.I. is passable - many enemies pursue you with a surprising insistence. Incidentally, wild animals should have been faster - it doesn't make sense that you can outrun a tiger. But this is a nitpick. A much bigger problem is the fact enemies can't jump: you can easily slaughter a huge group of them if they don't have long-range weapons or a wizard and you get on higher ground. Ladies and gentlemen... gamebreaker!
Soundtrack is epic, with some great vocal work and different themes depending on the location you are visiting.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?