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Cool Gothic 3 - A Study in Stuttering…

November 26th, 2010, 08:53
I have played Oblivion for days and weeks on end and it never crashed on me. I have played Risen from beginning to end and it was without issues. Even Mount and Blade and Neverwinter Nights 2 work for me on my PC. The Witcher, too, and even Hellgate London. Crysis and Crysis Warhead, I have played from beginning to end. No crashes there either. All of these games, I can run on full settings, all totally maxed out. But Gothic 3 has bested me! It is the only game to defeat me and render my PC a mess by trying to run it. No other game before or since has earned my ire quite like Gothic 3 has. To be fair, I gave it a good month. And what a month it has been, this past month, trying to play this game. Here is my tale…

I shall tell you of my recent experience attempting to play Gothic 3. A tale of woe! It all began when I purchased the Gothic trilogy as a set and decided to play the games in order. I shall not recount my tribulations with Gothic 1 and 2, which I've already recounted in another thread under the Gothic 1 and 2 section of these great and noble forums. Rather, my adventure into Gothic 3 must suffice here…

After the daunting challenge of getting the first two games to work, and finally playing them to completion and finding them insanely buggy… I came at last to Gothic 3. I was expecting bugs, sure, but what I got was an unplayable mess. Not due to bugs, ironically, but rather how the game itself was coded. I shall explain.

As is widely known and even admitted to on the offical forums at World of Gothic, Gothic 3 stutters a lot. This in fact is because the game streams and loads things on the fly. If only they had programmed it like Oblivion which has never failed me! But alas, they did not and so there is stuttering to be had in Gothic 3. I ignored the stuttering and really got into the game. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and had liberated nearly all of the Orc-controlled cities for the human rebels. Then, I came to Trelis on my way south to the desert. And this is when Gothic 3… died. I shall relate to you, dear readers, the circumstances of the game's untimely death.

I was walking to Trelis from the home of Torn the druid when suddenly the game's textures vanished as I was walking along. A visual glitch that I fixed by turning the Vegetation distance setting to medium. There is a bug in the high and ultra high settings for Vegetation distance, sadly. I thought everything was fixed and had counted myself lucky. No bugs but this in the whole game, I thought! Surely, this was almost as good as Risen (which was perfect!), but alas it was not to be so. I had spoken too soon (and on the offical forums, too)! I had just come back to Trelis from clearing the Eastern Temple of Orcs and decided to loot the legendary city treasury. I was discovered in the act and ran out of Trelis for the nearby woods. I fell into a pit in the forest that led me into a cave filled with Ogres. I was making short work of them and exploring the cave when the game froze on me for the first time. A hard freeze, requiring a manual reset of the PC. On restarting, I got a BSOD with the generic 0x0000008E gibberish that means even the BSOD did not know what was wrong. I updated my video card's bios all the way, updated the mainboard bios, whatever the heck that is, and since I was already using the latest ATI driver for my video card I decided to fall back to an older one that was more stable. Nothing, however, is stable enough for Gothic 3 because Gothic 3 is unstable! I reloaded my saved game and decided to just take my time and have fun exploring the woods around Trelis, secure in the knowledge that I had done all I could for this problem I had experienced. The gods of Gothic are sadistic, at best, I discovered! I successfully robbed the Trelis treasury and decided to do some of the quests for that area. I was walking through the woods on my way to a farm when the game froze for the second time. No BSOD this time, either. I was lucky about that. So, I gave the game one final try. I went to Trelis and talked to the Hashashin emissary… and while talking to him the game mysteriously quit to the desktop with no error message at all. That is when my patience ended and I gave up on this series for good. The stuttering, you see, causes these freezes when they build up to a certain point and try to load a lot at once. Not willing to risk my PC on any more BSOD-inducing freezes, mysterious crashes, and even a Trojan virus my virus detector found in one of the offical patches (1.12), I quit and sold my game at gamestop for some credit. And I've never been happier!

Risen is the only one I have kept of the Gothic-related games, because it works flawlessly from beginning to end, and it still does. At least it's not a full, true Gothic game…. maybe that's why it works so well! I am not bashing Gothic 3 here… I am merely recounting my own personal experience with it. If your copy works on your computer, thank the gods for small favors. Myself… I was very unlucky with it. And worse still… over on the offical forums at World of Gothic I got literally no help for the freezing. All they kept saying is that the constant stuttering that causes the freezing cannot be fixed even by the community patch team. So, with no fix coming for this problem, ever, I have deemed the game unplayable. As I said I would do on the World of Gothic forums, much to so many peoples' chagrin over there. I've thought it wise to post this here, since it is likely that many other people might be having problems similar to mine and thinking they are the only ones, just as I one thought. I discovered I was not the only one, and so if you too have these issues now you know it is the fault of the game, not your system. How do I know? Ah! Because my system specs are WAY beyond this game's requirements. People I know with system specs WAY beyond mine have reported to me stuttering and freezing in Gothic 3. So that is the purpose behind my post. To share my tale and help others with similar problems to see that there are sometimes when a messed up game just cannot be saved, no matter what. In desperation, I even did a full reformat of my hard drive. To clarify… my PC has all new parts. My Hard Drive was just replaced last month by Dell, who checked it out and deemed it "perfect", and my fan, video card, and sound card are all brand new and the best that my PC and my pocket change can afford for the time being. I only did a reformat to prove that Gothic 3 was messed up, not my system. I have proven this, and so I am content.

Also, yes… I tried the 1.74 "Enhanced Edition". A friend of mine said it best: by polishing a turd, you still will never make it turn into a diamond. 'Nuff said!

P.S. Has anybody ever noticed the strange similarity between Xardas and Zardoz? I actually made a post about this over at World of Gothic on the official discussion forums for the Gothic series. Silly, I know, but it was compensation for my woes.
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