ArcaniA: The Complete Tale – PS3
Publisher: Nordic Games
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Genre: Action, RPG
Reviewed by Jason Flick
Review Score: 2 of 5
So here we are on the near edge of a new generation of consoles and what do you think appears on my desk. A review copy of ArcaniA: The Complete Tale. Now I will admit that upon popping the disc and loading it up on my PS3 I had this weird feeling of déjà vu as its musical fanfare kicked up and I got my first look at the main character. And then it dawned on me… ArcaniA: The Complete Tale is actually the long absent PS3 version of ArcaniA: Gothic 4 plus the stand alone expansion ArcaniA: The Fall of Setarrif all in one nice bundle.
Originally PC only titles, the Gothic franchise has done moderately well for itself in the past especially in its native Germany. ArcaniA: Gothic 4 however first released for PC and Xbox users 3 years ago and back then featured okay graphics but seemed to lose what made the Gothic series interesting. Now PS3 users finally get to see the game for themselves and personally, for me, the wait was definitely not worth it. That preceding sentence was actually somewhat hard for me to say, due to my love of RPGs, but a necessary one.
ArcaniA: The Complete Tale tells the story of an unnamed shepherd who proposes to the town leader’s daughter and goes about proving his worth through a series of tasks as a sort of tutorial for the game to come. Only while you’re out of town unlocking some inherent locked potential the place gets attacked by some Paladins under the orders of one King Rhobar III. This King of Feshyr is in fact possessed by an ancient demon waiting to make its way into the world aided by the King. Our unnamed hero sets off in true revenge fueled fashion to seek out the king and the evil controlling him as he soon finds out.
The stand alone expansion The Fall of Setarrif takes place after the events of the main game. After the King regains control of his kingdom, the isolated coastal city of Setarrif comes under attack from a hatred filled demon and the unfortunate eruption of the volcano in the nearby mountains. This expansion is considerably shorter than the main story, though it does allow you to import your character from the main game into it. If you don’t want to do that then you can start a new game with a level 28 character based upon your choice of play style.
The storylines between these two offerings feature no real attempt to be original in anyway and its one of the many things that slowly drove me away from really enjoying this title. A good feature found in ArcaniA: The Complete Tale is that it has a classless based combat system in place so you can allot skill points into your melee (swords), ranged (bows) and magic abilities as you see fit. Magic is limited to the basest elemental attacks: fire, ice and lightning in a simplified manner that seems to be the basic approach to the whole game. I chalk this up to making the series available for a broader market and not the true-RPG fans where it first started.
Combat is also clunky despite its real-time approach and the game being fairly easy on lower difficulties. Gothic difficulty is a bit of a challenge though not necessarily because of tougher opponents but rather technical issues that rear their ugly head. Enemies sometimes get stuck in the environment and magically reappear behind you getting some critical strikes. If it weren’t for chugging health potions like water I would have died a lot more throughout the campaign. The world is full of enemies that all seem to want you dead so you’ll have no lack of combat while you complete on fetch quest after another. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing it wasn’t the primary way to get anywhere in this release. Want to enter a town. Go kill x amount of enemies. Want help on where to go next. Collect x amount of items and so on.
The world and characters of Feshyr that you will navigate through and interact with is yet another disappointment to the Gothic name. The environments are not horrendous but I always saw textures in the world popping in and out at random and characters’ features and clothing loosing texture and features all together at times. Of the three versions that have released this is easily the worst, which makes me wonder what they were doing in the three years since ArcaniA: Gothic 4’s release. The character voice acting itself is poor at best as it jumps from decent to horrendous cliché from time to time.
Should you brave ArcaniA: The Complete Tale for PS3 you can expect a 23-24 hour run between both campaigns. Sadly that’s time that could be spent on other ventures of your hard earned money. ArcaniA: The Complete Tale’s poor graphics, clunky combat, and just lack of anything that I felt compelling to keep playing made me dislike it even more. It’s almost sad that the most entertaining part of ArcaniA: The Complete Tale is a sheep that thinks you’re its messiah after you save its life from demonic wolves.