Gothic 3

We first snuck a peek at the ambitious role-player Gothic 3 at E3, but have recently received a closer look now that we’re away from those bustling halls. Graphically, this early version is clearly a couple of notches below the uber-visuals we've seen from RPGs like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. But the makers of Gothic 3 have balanced going for advanced graphics against playing the game on a real-world PC.

Like Oblivion and the previous two Gothic titles, the developers are going for a very open-ended game world. The fantasy landscape is dominated by a cruel master race - and they aren't human. The world is overrun by Orcs, and the human population has dwindled to a meager population of slaves. You'll need to choose a side (or even both) in a story that contains loads of role-play potential.

The developers clearly have a fetish for medieval arms and have gone to extreme lengths to motion-capture not just swords, but also weapons like pole arms and two-handed axes. We were treated to an arena battle with a fighter who dual-wielded twin swords; his whirling animations were already buttery smooth. The ballet of evisceration was controlled with a combination of right and left mouse clicks that made quick work of the opponent. However, with his vanquished foe now crumpled in a pool of blood, our champion still had the weighty choice of whether to finish him off or show mercy - kill off the wrong guy and you'll quickly have an entire village after your hide.