Did Spellbound Improve the Series with Arcania: Gothic 4 for PC?
While Arcania: Gothic 4 for PC may be the first game that Spellbound had their hands in creating and it was meant to signify a fresh beginning for the series, there’s really nothing new or special about it. It is obvious that Spellbound tried to take what was great about its predecessors and incorporate these features into Arcania: Gothic 4 however, they forgot to give the game its own personality and they certainly didn’t put a lot of thought into making sure it was clean or polished before its release.
Arcania: Gothic 4 does at least grant you a storyline. When the game opens, your character has proposed and the couple is expecting their first child when King Rhobar’s evil troops put a halt to happily every after. Now that everyone you care about has been murdered, it’s time for revenge.
Your mission in the game is to travel every inch of the island to obtain the power you need to take down the evil monarch who destroyed your life. The mystical forage you are searching for is hidden deep in the mountain and there’s a lot of goblins, dungeons and peasants you need to deal with along the way.
There are some interesting foes in Arcania: Gothic 4 for PC and unleashing devastating blows or spells and watching your enemies cartwheeling out of the way may peak your interest slightly but probably not enough to allow you to forgive the obvious flaws. The best battles are in the wilderness, where combat consists of lighting bolts and melee strikes. While there are a few strategic moves to master, you will find you never have to alter your attack technique, not even for the giant hive queens! Of course, this gets repetitive and certainly doesn’t provide the challenge you would hope to find in a role-playing game.
Despite the fact that the system may feel shallow the skill trees that allow you to customize your character do help to reel you back in. Although these trees are broken into archery, combat and magic sub-categories, you are never locked solely into these specializations.
Also on a positive note, Arcania: Gothic 4 has added a few appreciated modern elements. The downs and hamlets are designed exquisitely and a pleasure to wander through and the cave systems and checkpoints work more with the game this time around. The combat system has a few upgrades as well. Even though the game is not progressive, the Fable-like system of power blows, blocking, ranged combat and parring may be simplified but it adds a bit of charm so desperately needed.
Fortunately for Arcania: Gothic 4, the graphics are good enough to offer a little shelter to the idea that the game was rushed. However, if your system requirements are not up to par, you will be dealing with lagging, even if you turn the graphics down to low. While the game was released for Xbox 360 too, PC graphics are far superior. That being said, they still could be better. Up close, characters offer some good features but it is more than obvious that anything in the background is an afterthought, simply fill-in.
Now, when you are not battling a giant dragonfly in the rain or a large ugly troll and if you are merely exploring the land, then the windy meadows, violent waterfalls and thick lush forests deliver a satisfying and realistic appearance.
Arcania: Gothic 4 for PC most definitely has its highs and lows but it is not enough to steer you toward a love or hate opinion of the game. It is simply mediocre. It can be cleared in about 15 hours so it doesn’t drag out which is a plus since it’s not really intriguing enough to keep you playing any longer. The game is simply okay and stuck in limbo and you very well may feel as though Spellbound took three giant steps backwards with their debut.