Arcania: A Gothic Tale - 360 - Preview
Those familiar with the Gothic series knows the game is a hardcore title that appeals to role-playing gamers. It features many of the elements that are familiar to RPGers, but often presents a robust adventure that features well-written story arcs.
Arcania: A Gothic Tale is the fourth title in the series and walks that same line, but while it hopes to appeal to the hardcore gamers, it also tries to make the game accessible to those who may never have played a title in the franchise before.
Featuring real-time combat, Arcania starts off with players taking on the role of an unknown, unnamed hero type. His village has been taken over by an evil boss and his job is to work his way through the world and gain enough experience to come back and liberate his village. The game takes place on three main islands, but players have to unlock the islands in order to access them. There are no classes, per se, but the skill trees – which feed off the three major branches of melee, ranged and magic – will help the player define and customize their character. There are guilds associated with each skill tree and should one become friendly enough with one guild, that will open up rooms where characters can rest.
Arcania has three status bars in the player UI – stamina, mana and life. The stamina is aligned with certain attack skills, defining how big a skill you can use, while the mana is tied to the magical skills. Both the stamina and mana bars regenerate over time. The health bar, though, needs spells, potions or rest to regenerate.
Players don’t die often in the game, but instead – more often than not – are rendered unconscious. However, even though left for dead and not quite, you can expect to lose an equipped item.
The game features about 300 quests, with 60% of those involving the main story arc. There are also approximately 100 weapon and armor items that can be equipped, each bearing a style based on the area from which the item was obtained.
When it comes to the combat, there are lock-ons for attacks, but you can also attack without the benefit of a lock-on. Should you have a bow equipped and not use the lock-on, you can get double damage from your attacks. If equipped with the bow and a mob closes on your character, there is a kick-back skill that will allow you to shoot one more close ranged missile. The game also features multi-directional combat, which is good for controlling multiple mobs who are attacking.
There are more than 60 different types of enemies and characters from the previous games will likely appear in Arcania to offer advice … well, except for one who is not there to aid you at all, but rather is one of the early bosses players will face.
Arcania does feature a crafting system, a dynamic weather system (you can use spells to control the weather to a certain extent), and players can save their progress wherever they wish.
Arcania is a very good-looking game, and should likely appeal to RPG gamers when it releases in either Q4 of 2009 or Q1 of 2010.