The Gothic series has enjoyed widespread popularity throughout Germany with an expansive, open fantasy world that preceded the ever popular Oblivion by several years. Unfortunately, it looks like the series will continue to only remain popular with its hardcore fan base as clumsy combat, frustrating AI, and graphical anomalies will prevent most players from enjoying everything that Gothic 3 has to offer.
And there’s a lot that Gothic 3 offers for role-playing enthusiasts to sink their teeth into. Whether you’re sharpening your blade on a local smithy’s whetstone, hunting wild game, or just admiring the view, there’s always something to do in this immersive title. Over every hill lies another area that you’ll want to explore in Mirtana’s grand landscape, and with three separate factions to align yourself with and a seemingly never ending chain of quests, Gothic 3 could have knocked our socks off. But the finer pleasures of Gothic 3 get lost in its clumsy combat system, which demands frequent saving and loading.
One wrong move and you’ll be stuck in a stunned or knocked down animation while weak, low level beasts and unarmed enemies have their way with you. On the other hand, this can also work to your advantage because you can just keep swinging at opponents much stronger than you - keeping them stunned as you slowly chisel their health away. But we found this cheap - not challenging.
Battling more than one enemy at a time in melee combat is a death wish and you’ll want to save frequently to avoid losing hours of progress in case you unexpectedly run into a pack of hostiles or a foe that gets a few lucky swings in.
Fortunately, with some planning you can take care of hordes of enemies by exploiting their weak AI. There’s always a ledge to climb or behind a fence to run behind that can be used to exploit their poor path finding abilities as you rain down arrows or long range spells till they’re done for.
This results in frustrating button mashing battles as you frequently save and load to give those groups of wild animals or camps of orcs another try. Eventually, you’ll find yourself coming up with all kinds of hair brained schemes to overcome your foes like trailing a group of wolves into a camp of enemies to thin out their numbers.