previews\ May 27, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Gothic II - PC - Preview

E3 2002 - First Look

There once was a game that featured the traditional fight between good and evil, wrapped in an RPG shell and set in a prison. What happened to it? It evolved.

Gothic II,  a JoWood and Piranha PC release, is a continuation of the original title, but you don’t have to be familiar with that game to enjoy this outing.

The original storyline detailed the battle between the goodly king and an unscrupulous band of orcs that resulted in those who had committed crimes against the kingdom to be enslaved in orc mines. This prison had been sealed by magicians with a barrier, but all went awry and the prisoners took over. The hero of the story, Diego, has been sentenced to the mines; however the king asks him to undertake a special mission.

In Gothic II, the magical barrier has been destroyed by a massive earthquake. Most of the prisoners flee, but one is trapped, and for six months survives in the caverns on water and little else. The temblor also opened a portal and it isn’t long before demon hordes are coursing through it into the world. Originally freed by one of the demons, your duty is to rejoin the king against the invasion and stop the demon.

Sounds simple enough. But remember it was stated that this is an evolved game. How so? Gothic had 100 NPC (non-playing characters) and Gothic II has 500. The environment in the original represented seven kilometers, while the second takes place over 25-square kilometers. Characters in the original were comprised of 100 polygons – that count is up to 500 polys per character. In addition, there are 50 spells, three character classes (paladin, magician and warrior), and the game is mouse-driven (no more keyboard aerobics).

Graphically the game is much improved. There are still common elements in GII in terms of combat action, but the game was visually appealing. If you enjoyed the original game, then you will want the sequel.

Look for this game to be released in the fall.

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