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February 6th, 2013, 20:34
After a little over a week with the game, I bring forth some impressions (keep in mind this is with the 1.75 patch):
  • Voice acting is pretty darn good, in my honest opinion. You can pick out a few high profile people like Steve Blum and Crispin Freeman, so naturally this is music to my ears, in a lot of ways. With this brings the soundtrack, which is absolutely astounding! I can't believe how many times I started to hum a particular town's theme or wilderness music, as it's so wonderfully composed.

  • Gold is much, much too easy to acquire as it was in, say, Gothic 2. You can spend some time liberating a town, and anywhere from 10-30 minutes looting everything the townsfolk had with them, but in seconds become rich and purchase among the best armor in the game, though some require you to have a reputation with said town/clan. There's no carry limit, which is nice, but there's a lot of unnecessary clutter that you'll feel compelled to get rid of anyway, simply to find what you need.

  • Combat is…well, not I wouldn't say broken but pretty challenging. More often than not power and normal weapon swings are useless, and you'll find yourself using the jab or swipe attacks fairly frequently (right mouse click). This is because most enemies back out of the way of your attack most of the time and you can be swinging away and never hit them. The jab/swipe attack seems quite enough or has a farther reach to negate this. I started out as a warrior type, but came across a few spells that seemed enticing, and later on moved to bows which brought me to a Jack-of-all-Trades character. This gave me a decent understanding of combat. I would imagine starting off as a mage is even more difficult until you can come across the mana regeneration perk. Once you gain access to basic damage spells like fireball (which are incredibly powerful for some reason), any use that bows once had now become impractical (without mana regeneration, there's a nice balance between using spells, bows,and swords. To cut it short, you switch to whatever is necessary when the situation calls for it, provided that you avoid a perk here and there that leads you to pushing one button for everything combat related.

  • As Gorath mentioned, the landscape is simply astounding. I can't imagine what it would be without the 1.75 CP, but every little attention to detail really brings out the PB vybe that G1 and G2 shared. With such a huge open world, it seems very well inspired. I'd even go as far to say that it's much more gorgeous than Skyrim, though that may be due to pale and dead look that Skyrim was built around which I wasn't a fan of. Nothing feels forced, and you'll stay immersed for as long as you continue to play. That said, exploration is somewhat weak because as JDR pointed out, caves mostly contain nothing of real value and the serious lack of hand placed loot and more of a focus on randomized chests that improve on loot the more that you actually open.

  • Quests don't feel like chores that you're required to take care of for the local villagers as you travel around, because you'll come across a quest object or plant that's needed if you decide to explore or go hunting, and find out that what you need is something you've carried for the past several hours. Many side quests require the ability to skin animals, but if you picked that up early on, you'll almost always be close to completing something given to you. Pay attention to dialogue because you won't always be told where to find something, and quest givers can only give you so much information. Much of your time spent questing is based on where you think the next best place to go is (as is the case with early Gothic games - leaving it up to the player to decide and not a quest marker).

There's much more to be said regarding Gothic 3, but perhaps for another day. For the time I've spent playing, I've greatly enjoyed myself and completely immersed in this beautiful world, but I'll keep a watchful eye on the cautions given to me on the Nordmar region.

Tip: Buy a world map from your local merchant as soon as possible. They cost 500 gold and give you the ability to see where you are in the world (the standard map just gives you an overview of all 3 regions).
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