John McCarroll
E3: Are You Ready For More Gothic?
Arcania: A Gothic Tale from DreamCatcher.
06.03.09 - 11:56 PM

We had a chance to check out Arcania: A Gothic Tale, the newest title in the Gothic series from DreamCatcher at E3, and it's looking pretty solid. DreamCatcher is looking to make the series more accessible for new fans of the series, but still keep the hardcore fans of the series happy. As such, DreamCatcher and developer Spellbound are adding things such as optional quest tracking, placing icons on the minimap where quest items or monsters are located, support for the gamepad on PC, as well as releasing the game for Xbox 360 and PS3 alongside the PC release. There's an additional lock-on system for newbies to the game, but that doesn't leave the hardcore players in the dark. While it's easier to hit enemies while locked on, any attacks done while locked to a target do half the damage of other attacks.

Players will be able to free-roam the game's three islands which are split up as the tutorial island, the island with the bulk of the game's content, and the end-game island. All three islands are lushly rendered, with things such as a full day/night cycle and water that's entirely based on physics in the game. Rain is rendered dynamically and will pool and fall based on the way that it hits the ground in real-time. The main character can also change the environment with spells, which not only modify the weather, but can do things like send guards inside on a rainy day and change the difficulty of some quests. There is dynamic lighting on everything in the game. As such, the main character casting a fireball can theoretically use it as a torch in a darkened cave or at night.

Along with the more than 300 quests in the game, Arcania will feature over 100 items, a recipe system for crafting in alchemy and blacksmithing, and a 30-40 hour main story. With the additional sidequests, the average gamer will spend about 60-80 hours in the world of Gothic. During the game, the main character will be able to traverse a skill tree to add more abilities in battle. The battling in Arcania is also combo-based, somewhat similar to the combat system in The Witcher from CDProjekt. The combat is very visceral as well, including shield bashes and charge attacks on top of the standard melee, ranged, and magical attacks.

While Arcania takes place in the Gothic universe, it does have a completely new hero. The character is still known as the Unnamed Hero, but actually begins opposed to the Unknown Hero from the original games. Fans of the other games in the Gothic series will be happy to see major NPCs return in this iteration, but newcomers will not need to know any of the previous games' stories to enjoy Arcania's.

Keep watch to RPGFan this week for more impressions from the E3 show floor!