Gothic always lied in the shadow of more popular RPGs. For every addition to the franchise came an innovative Elder Scrolls or Bioware installment, so Piranha Bytes newer quite got off the ground. What it did manage is to create was a small cult following, which was centered more around its gimmicks and exploitation, rather than its story. So giving the game a new fresh coat of paint might not be so bad. Granted, it pays off for the company in the end.
Yet with more info on the upcoming game coming out, one cannot help but ask themselves, will they manage? For starters, THQ Nordic is the one behind the seat of this project instead of Piranha Bytes. The playable teaser definitely didn’t give us anything groundbreaking, but it did give us a taste of what could and shouldn’t be a problem. There are things they need to take extra care of, and we decided to dive in and give our opinions on it.
1. The Plot
Looking back towards the story, Gothic was never quite known for an epic adventure of sword and sorcery. Yet it always spoke of itself like a pure fantasy RPG. The basic gist of this new 2020 game is at its heart a remake. The re-telling of the first-ever game in the series. And yet when looking at it now, many can definitely spot the overarching fantasy epic in the making.
So the developers shouldn’t stray far from an already established formula. Giving the same story, but breathing fresh new ideas into it can lead to some pretty unique and impressive results. Resident Evil 2 Remake is an excellent example of a remake done right, with only slight improvements to the plot.
Multiple choices are always encouraged in RPGs. The ability to choose one’s path can lead to some pretty gruesome consequences or hilarious outcomes. The most important thing to consider is replayability. How much impact can one decision have on the whole in-game world? This freedom of choice was present in the earlier titles, but never to a huge degree.
While it still needs a more detailed look, the studio is seemingly heading in that direction. Focusing on creating a narrative that the player will experience, at his own pace, and not at a linear one. This should not only apply to the main plot, but also to the side-quests. Much like in the previous games, siding with the right people leads to different results.
3. Combat and Gameplay
My first viewing of the playable teaser didn’t end as well as I hoped it would, yet one feeling persisted to the end. The combat of this Gothic Remake is similar to that of a particular Ubisoft medieval title. For Honor wasn’t the first game to introduce such a refreshing combat style, but it was the first one to popularize it. So much of that combat system is mimicked in this game. From the different stances, depending on the positioning of the weapon, to the actual strokes of the sword.
For Honor was one of those games I sank a considerable amount of hours into, and that’s mainly because of the gameplay. It might just be a copy/paste thing here, but we sure hope that more than that is present in the final release. Grand titles such as Skyrim had more features in terms of gameplay. So it’s a positive if THQ looks for guidance from such games, in hopes of providing a better experience.
4. Limb Physics
The one thing many will agree with me is the most obvious nitpick in this remake – the animations. Long ago, we have matured in terms of character animations, and yet it looks like THQ didn’t get the memo. While combat does take its inspiration from For Honor, its execution is lackluster. This is even more apparent during cut scenes.
Hands fly around everywhere and character facial animations are somehow even worse than Mass Effect Andromeda. This goes the same for most of the creatures. Raptors and wolfs all feel out of touch, acting as if they have no personality, other than lunging heedlessly into the player.
5. Voice Acting
Reworking the animation is just the small slice in this complaining pie. Similar to our previous entry, the voice acting is atrocious. Saying that it needs a slight polish would be mild. The main protagonist has a habit of narrating to himself every action he makes, and it quickly gets on your nerve. It doesn’t help the fact that his voice actor has only 2 distinct vocal tones. Mildly sarcastic and uninterested neutral.
Diego might be the only decent voice in the teaser, and even he is subpar. Sure, previous games didn’t exactly woohoo us with their sound presentation, but the bar has been raised since then. We’re not explicitly expecting Nolan North or Troy Baker to come and save the day, but we demand a decent performance.
Ugh, this one is no surprise. Yes, it’s hard to look at this game in this state. Sure, it may be in its early stages, but even Andromeda had better visuals. For a 2020 game, we expect a lot more than graphics that are from 2005. Dark Souls, which was released in 2011, had better graphics than this. From time to time, attention to details can be spotted in terms of visuals. But then I gaze at the main protagonist I am once more reminded at how unimpressed I am by his design.
Not all fantasy epics need to go with the brown and darker color pallet. But there is one specific thing in Gothic Remake I can’t quite put my finger on. Most of the game’s visuals put me way off and others seem to agree, voicing their concerns online. If this game is aiming for an early 2010 vibe, then they are doing the right thing. If not, then they should do a massive overhaul of it, immediately.