Gothic 3

Gothic 3 Review for PC

On: PC

Third game in the successful RPG series from JoWood and Piranha Bytes.

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6Out of 10
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Gothic 3 defies logic, in being great and awful at the same time.
Gothic 3 defies logic, in being great and awful at the same time.

Gothic 3 defies logic, in being great and awful at the same time.

The life of a games journalist is a strange one, especially with the advent of internet journalism and the rise of fan-boy culture. It's odd in that you can spend several months or weeks waiting for a game to come along, with information, screen shots and movies bombarded at you, then find that the game isn't anything like you expected it to be. I've seen this happen with several games; Monkey Island 4, Deus Ex 2, and a whole list of other titles that I don't have time to mention. Gothic 3 seemed destined to fall into the same category, but things didn't quite turn out like that.

I was well aware of the furore on the internet about the game's unfinished, buggy state when played off-the-shelf. I had also tried the first game in the series and had dismissed its supposedly grand RPG experience as nothing but poorly written garbage. I was, in short, fully prepared for disappointment. And I was right, kind of.

Gothic 3 starts off badly and gets worse. A dialogue-lacking cutscene shows a load of Orcs fighting in a city and then suddenly there you are in a small village with a sword and some bad-guys. The tutorial is so brief it might as well be absent and the frame rate immediately plummets to near unplayable levels. Played in an unpatched state all character models appeared to me as rapidly moving black boxes with names above them and in the game's patched and tweaked form the graphics aren't actually much better - although problems vary from system to system. There is no explanation to the situation and no proper sound effects, only epileptic fit inducing (no, seriously) white boxes that flash across the screen if you happen to look at an inanimate object wrong. After the combat subsides things don't really improve as, even on my mighty self-designed rig, the frame rate still lingers about your ankles and the story is narrated in poorly written dialogue, spewed forth from awfully animated NPCs. Or maybe it's just the terrible voice acting that makes it seem so bad, placing the wrong emphasis on every WORD! I mean, ON every word. Ugh, never mind.

So, what have I listed up so far for Gothic 3? Terrible graphics, dialogue and narration, and a needlessly resource-hungry engine that renders a large amount of the game unplayable? Yep, check all those. But, ludicrous as it sounds, Gothic 3 has some strangely addictive and compelling qualities that I really have no explanation for. I've been playing the game for a fair while now and I've waged war in one awful duel after another. Each time I've lamented the lack of exciting, realistic sound effects as swords bounce silently off each other. Each time I've been in fear of another game crash or stutter-bug. Each time I've sworn that this is the last goddamn time I will try to kill a bandit in my life.

But each time I end up coming back for more. And I don't understand why. The game is obviously unfinished and badly made; it's the very type of game that developers shouldn't be allowed to release as, in my opinion, an unplayable game must be in breach of some trading standards law somewhere. It goes against the very nature of a game.

The visuals could look great, if they weren't so glitchy.

The visuals could look great, if they weren't so glitchy.

And that's why Gothic 3 is one of the most brilliantly evil creations to ever be released to the games buying public. Well, in a while anyway. There is no other comparable experience in the world to playing Gothic 3, because while you absolutely hate its awful, rushed state and you immediately want to demand your money back, you just can't. The game is somehow too much fun and the world is too massive to leave unexplored. The story, while predictable and unimaginative, is enough to carry the limping gameplay and graphics. It almost seems impossible, but the game, despite being bad on so many levels, gives you an odd sense of excitement, as you push further and further into the world of Gothic 3.

Ultimately, Gothic 3 is like getting into a cold bath on a hot day - it's refreshing, but somehow painful, and no matter how much you love it, you have to admit that it isn't much fun to do. As such, for those considering whether the purchase is worth it (and I'll admit that I present a mixed case) I can only offer the following advice; do buy the game, but wait for a bit before you do. Let the patches pile up and the fan-made tweaks appear before you indulge in what is currently one of the most badly made classics available.

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Neil's Avatar
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This review is awful. Gothic 1 was poorly written garbage? Really? Did you play it from start to finish? Anyway, whatever, more to your review of Gothic 3, if you can even call it a review and not a whining session.
My guess is, you've heard the bad reviews of everyone else, and you think it sounds cool to hate on this game.
Posted 18:07 on 01 March 2009
Helper's Avatar
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Hey guys, you want to have a middle of the line system or this game isnt gonna make you happy. that means like a 2.7Ghz or so processor and 1 gig ram and a middle of the line video card (basically, follow battlefield 2 or halflife 2 requirements to run smoothly)
Great game if you have a decent comp, otherwise, stick to gothic 1 or 2
Gothic 1 and 2 have better storylines because it goes through it longer and faster (more focused) and they have better combat systems. Gothic 3 is eyecandy if you have the right machine.
Huge playing world, lots of options and exploration opportunities, i played this game probably about 100-200 hours so far and still not bored.
Posted 02:58 on 18 May 2008
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Mkay, mr. reviewer and other complainers. Update your drivers.... i have an amd 3600+ or somethin like that with 1 gig of ram and a 9600 radeon video card. Not exactly high end hardware but i can play fine on medium graphics with almost no lag ever.... DID you read the requirements and reccomended reqs? Sure its a bit buggy, but there are lots of patches and its pretty much all fixed... No reason this game should be a 6....As for sound? its fine, definitely not a 3, more like a 8 if you include music tracks. You, MR Reviewer are an idiot... the graphics rival Oblivion if you have the right drivers and if you even had a middle of the line Graphics card. This guy seriously must have an ax to grind... if you dont like open ended rpgs, you picked the wrong game buster..
One last note... you complained about the intro, but it makes a lot more sense if you played the previous games...Terrible terrible reviewer...I reccomend to any readers to try the series out, its great and they arent xpensive games. This guy doesnt know what he is talking about.
-my review:
Graphics: 10 (if on full graphics) still decent with medium
gameplay: 7.5 (crappy journal, semi-bad combat, bugs with beasts... but still ultimately fun)
Sound:8.5 (good soundtracks, but like he said, general sounds could use some help)
Overall: 8.5 Above average and worth playing
Posted 02:53 on 18 May 2008
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Rickyboy2@ roman

The review should have gotten a much higher score in my opinion.
Yeah, it might be true that it was released unpolished and buggy, but this would not stop any self-respecting RPG fan from buying.

Games such as Gothic 3 truely begin to shine after a few patches and that should have been reflected in the review. The game is vast and looks great and has so much to offer that Oblivion didn't have and giving it a 6/10 review just because of a few bugs (which will obviously be fixed in patches) seems unjust to me.
Posted 18:15 on 03 December 2006
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Max@ roman

This review is very short and doesnt say much about the game itself. Its concentrated on bugs, but maybe it should be because there are a loat of bugs a loat.
imho Gothic 3 is good game and defenetly worth playing
Posted 05:05 on 20 November 2006
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glumetzul@ roman

Gothic 3 is as crappy as all everybody says... even so it's a game worth playing. I have an 1600 athlon with 512RAM and geforce fx 5200 and i can't hide the fact that the game works terrible on my pc but i did all i could to tweak it and play it o my pc and i'm glad i did it. (can't wait to find xardas and ask for some explanations).

and i diasgree with the reviewers opinion on gothic 1. it's a very boring game in the first 15 minutes. but after that it turns to be maybe 10 times mor adictive than gothic 2 or 3. the story is fantastic and at it's time, it was a great concept.
Posted 18:10 on 19 November 2006
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absolutely@ roman

Posted 05:46 on 19 November 2006
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cyber@ roman

Reviews like this are easily dismissed.

Rule to follow - whenever a so called "professional" writer claims bias against an entire series before blasting a game, stop reading and move on. This person has obviously been given the wrong writing assignment.
Posted 20:34 on 17 November 2006
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h@ roman

This review is SPOT ON about this game, easily the most insightful review I've read in quite sometime...thanks and keep up the good work!
Posted 16:22 on 17 November 2006
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Dan@ roman

RPG's have a history of high system specs and buggy releases. Just look at the long line of Ultima games to see what I mean. That doesn't prevent them from going down in history as the top RPG's of the prior decade.

If your game is crashing, patch. There is no need to get frustrated about it.

If your system can't handle it, them maybe its time for an upgrade. I've always let the newest games decide when its time to upgrade.
Posted 15:47 on 17 November 2006
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roman@ roman

most people doesnt have so much RAM, and 512 MB video card to run this like you, thats why this rewew is true for the bigest part of PCs
Posted 10:53 on 17 November 2006
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ThisReviewIsAjoke@ roman

I just made an account to post this. On my system (dual core, 512M video card, 2G fast RAM), Gothic runs smoother and looks better than Oblivion. There is a big difference between a game being buggy, and a reviewer in need of more texture RAM.
Posted 23:59 on 16 November 2006
roman's Avatar


its a great game but after a while you just get really tired of it but as soon as there will be a normal path it will be one of best games
Posted 14:40 on 16 November 2006

Game Stats

System Requirements
Gothic 3
Out of 10
Gothic 3
  • Massive RPG with a huge gameworld to explore
  • (Somehow) still a lot of fun to play
  • So buggy it requires insect repellent to play
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Release Date: 13/10/2006
Platform: PC
Developer: Piranha Bytes
Publisher: JoWooD
Genre: RPG
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 2,815 18
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