One thing you should be aware of that you’ll need a high end computer to play this one. It says the minimum ram should be 512MB, but recommends 2GB. At 1GB on my system, we had frame stall as the next section of game would be loaded onto the system, which resulted in some unforseen deaths if it happened during a combat scene. Another minimum requirement is having a 2.0 GHz system but should have 3.0 GHz system instead. A 256MB Shader Model 3 - 3D card makes the world more vibrant.
The storyline has you, the nameless hero, returning to the mainland after completing your previous explorations on the island you had been stranded on. The mainland had been overrun by a mighty orc army where villages and towns have now come under their control. At this point you end up with a fight and liberate the town you arrived in. There is no getting out of this fight as this part is linear. Once this part is successfully completed, you are then free to do as you want, since it becomes nonlinear from here on. You are given a recommendation to see the rebel leader hiding out nearby and after talking to various friends who followed you along on the ship, you’ll end up finding this hideout.
With a couple of dozens towns, dungeons, points of interest, and debris littering the landscape, this becomes an explorers dream come true. The landscape is rich and vibrant, and the realism in the towns, dungeons, and outside areas, makes it worth investigating everything. Interaction with all of these things is a different story though. Game play hasn’t changed much from what I remember in the previous one. The mouse pad still controls the camera affects and combat, with the keyboard controlling the movement end. This makes it frustrating to keep in front of you any enemy that you’re fighting if there is more then one. Many times I would be jumped by two or more thugs and they would get behind me, making it difficult to reorient my character in the heat of battle. Mostly this resulted in my death which required reloading the scenario over again. Nothing like becoming combat shy when you die three or more times to the same fight.
Things like your pack have been enlarged greatly so that you’ll be able to carry a large quantity of items in several categories. This is a big help since the amount of items you loot and find is quite prolific. Money is easy to obtain, which is good since you need a lot to buy decent weapons and armor, or potions. The same goes for increasing your health, proficiency, and experience. When you make levels you get skill points which you use to increase health, etc. That means finding altars to boost your attributes or finding instructors to improve your skills. Again this is a frustration when it comes to combat. You may have made five levels but you still have the same health until you pray at an altar and spend those points to increase it. Now these are general points which means do you spend them on health or improved sword play? Become a better blacksmith or increase or bow hunting skills? You get the idea.
Getting lost in the wilderness is easy as the overall map just gives you a general idea where everything is located. Even the simplest of quests can be hard when the beasties you are required to kill are tougher then you. Magic is still on the low end when the decision to use it or reserve your points for melee combat is better. There are scrolls you can use, but they disappear after a couple of uses and are expensive to replace if you find someone to sell them to you. There are all kinds of plants that can do everything from heal to raising your attributes. Some afford decent coinage, that helps when accumulating money for those expensive potions or other items you would need.
Again we have factions that you can side with, there being no restrictions against which side you might favor. Depending on the faction, you may be will get favoritism toward special items or freeing a town from under the yoke of its oppressors. Again I never got that far into the different factions, mostly spending my time exploring and trying to raise my combat skills.
On the whole I was just as turned off to this superbly rendered game as I was with Gothic 2. The combat is frustrating with the wildlife being higher then your current levels. Death abounds and reloading becomes boring. Keyboard to mouse control can become a hair pulling adventure. Having your character getting hung up on terrain and unable to free yourself is another problem. I tried opening a chest once and had the character get caught between a log and the chest, resulting in loading it back up before the chest opening sequence.
Again we have characters falling off cliffs and dying, especially when you are fighting and backing up to keep from dying to that wolf. Losing your weapon after being knocked to the ground means scrabbling for something to use in your pack or putting an extra weapon in a quick-key to make sure you aren’t fighting with your bare fists. This still makes for a flawed game in my opinion, which had me shutting the doors on it finally. Beautiful scenes and complex interplay doesn’t help when you are looking for ease of play and non frustrating interactions.
My knowledge of the industry mostly evolves around beta testing games, such as Earth & Beyond from EA, Saga of Ryzom, and companies like MSN and Acolade. Self taught web design is another interest I have. Family life is entertaining at times. It also can get weird as well, after you have been married 31 years.