What if someone made Gothic without half of the jank?

It’d be something like Arcania: Gothic 4. I’ve spent all day playing it. It looks better than any other Gothic. It has normal game controls, unlike Gothic 1 and Gothic 2 (I haven’t played Gothic 3 yet). The combat is fluid. It has only crashed twice in 5 hours. The voice acting isn’t god awful. It’s almost an enjoyable game.

I also played the Risen demo, which is basically exactly like Arcania. They’re so similar that I got a bit of the Risen storyline confused with the Arcania storyline and spent some amount of time wondering why I wasn’t running into any Warriors of Order or the Inquisition. And both of these games are unreasonably similar to Two Worlds, except they’re both a lot less awful.

I’m going to keep playing Arcania until I get bored or find something better. Which will definitely end on May 17th, when The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings is released OH MY GOD I CAN’T WAIT

XUUU

I just finished XIII. It’s an old, cel-shaded first person shooter based on a Franco-Belgian comic book of the same name. It’s a spy game, more along the lines of Jason Bourne than James Bond and it was totally fucking awesome! This is a spy game done right. You plant bugs, blow stuff up, sneak around, stab people in the eye with bottles, and save the president. It has a grappling hook. If your spy game doesn’t have a grappling hook, it doesn’t count. Alpha Protocol fails on this account.

Speaking of stabbing people in the eye with bottles, improvised weapons are done fantastically well in this game. There’s a relatively limited number of items that can be used as weapons, but they’re available when they’re necessary, and usually hanging around somewhere when they’re not. It is exceptionally satisfying to throw a shard of glass into someone’s face for a stealth kill. Also used to great effect in this game, throwing knives. I guess if I had to choose one thing, XIII does stabbing people in the face the best.

My only complaints are that it’s a little short, and the cel-shading led to some interesting artifacts. The game moves along at a pretty fast pace, but the levels never feel too short or too long. The locales are varied and you spend enough time in each area to enjoy it without overstaying your welcome. The cel-shading is used very well in the game, but it resulted in some abnormally thick black lines in unusual places, like the corners of the nostrils, or around the rims of eyeglasses. The nose thing is a little distracting in in-game cutscenes, but the eyeglasses thing really sucks. Characters wearing eyeglasses look like they’re wearing some kind of sci-fi goggles. These effects, however, may be a result of eight years of hardware progress, or a variation in how my graphics card presents the game. I’ve seen screenshots of the game from other people who do not have the same weird artifacts.

I’m really glad I picked this up. I got it off of GOG for $6 and it was totally worth it.