previewed on PC
Home by the sea...
The mainland of the world itself consists of many settlements in the Middle Kingdom (currently occupied by the Orcs) as well as the untamed regions to the North and South (snowbound and desert regions respectively). The northern and southern regions are less settled and explored and so offer the greatest opportunity for uncovering ancient hidden secrets. It is through exploration of all of these regions that our hero will grow in power and stature in a class-free character development system that allows for the use of more than 50 powerful spells and a hundred different weapons. The combat system has been improved to behave in a more natural, fluid way with the character's growth in experience eventually allowing for special combat skills (such as dual-wielding).
The graphics appear to be what you'd expect for a game of this nature and should compare to Oblivion's presentation with lush environments and impressive rendering of both the spells you unleash and the creatures you will encounter. With respect to audio, the Gothic series has always voiced more of the dialog than most games in this genre and Gothic 3 doesn't stray from that presentation style. All in-game dialogue is voiced by professional actors which will definitely help draw players into the game. The music is performed by a symphony orchestra but also takes advantage of a variety of unique instrumentation to help create a soundscape that will add atmosphere to an already mood-filled experience.
Both Gothic I and Gothic II were very well received both critically and by the gaming public. The open-ended universe and plethora of side-quests and detailed characters to interact with (who also kept realistic schedules) made both games incredibly immersive experiences. Piranha Bytes looks to submerge gamers in even more adventuring goodness with Gothic 3 by offering countless side-quests involving more than fifty different monster types and dozens of human enemies. The harsh realism of the world is another major selling point - the way that the NPCs interact with the character (and with each other) will distort the line between true good and evil and it will be left to the player to determine what they actually consider to be right and wrong. Piranha Bytes is aiming to dramatically elevate the scope of Gothic 3 over the previous games with not only stunning artificial intelligence and graphics but with this deeper, intriguing tale that will average 60 to 80 hours of play, and even longer for those who choose to follow all of the available side-quests.
With a team of only 19 people (which is quite small in this day in age of game development) Piranha Bytes is shooting high with Gothic 3. They truly seem to be on-track to deliver a completely immersive adventure that will appeal to the role-playing crowd while drawing in new fans as well. With a pending release in September or October of this year we don't have long to wait to learn the fate of the enslaved humans of Myrtana.