Thursday, September 23, 2010

Arcania: Gothic IV Preview, Part 2

Preview part 2: Impressions, changes, and E3.

                Think those goblins have a chance? :)

With all the excitement over the new storyline, new hero, and overhauled graphics the one thing that overshadowed all this in the minds of diehard fans was new gameplay.

Basically the worry was that with new developers the ‘soul’ of the game might be ripped out and replaced with other popular (so shiny) tweaks that other games in the genre had received. Namely; over the top camerawork on cut scenes, dumbed down game play meant to draw a bigger audience, and a divorcing from the ‘solid’ feel that the combat in Gothic games has always had.

Gothic fans are used to mowing these guys down, looks like they are getting tired of it. 

For the most part, these fears have been belayed by the Dev’s continued insistence that they will stay true to the genre, but some changes have definitely been made.

For one, there will be no more trainers. While the developers have alluded to ‘some’ skills needing a special individual to unlock, for the most part skills can be allocated at any time through a familiar (to other games) skill/character screen.

The main skills are, at the time of E3;

Mettle: The primary melee skill: Melee maneuvers, attack strength, and stamina regeneration.

Vigour: Shield maneuvers, stamina, health.

Stealth: Ranged attacks, backstabbing and stealth attacks, and affects health.

Precision: The primary ranged skill: Mana, ranged attacks, ranged power.

Then the magical skills:

Zeal: Fire spells, mana regeneration, magic power.

Dominance: Electricity spells, mana regeneration, magic power.

Serenity: Cold spells, mana regeneration, magic power.

 Seen here is one of the new 'Runegates' that players will use to zip around the new world.

Every skill point in a given ‘tree’ gives a percentage increase to your primary attributes 16 points to any given tree maxes it out, more on primary attributes after the demo hands-on.

The character receives 3 skill points every level up, and every skill tree is also capped at your current level, preventing you from putting more then 1 skill point in a skill tree each level.

After pumping a certain amount of points in a skill tree you will unlock spells, moves, abilities, and other nick nacks like mana and health regen.  

An unfortunately very familiar formula, but I withhold judgment until we have seen the results and balance of the new system.

Nothing like the smell of black goblin blood in the morning. On a side note, no longer will Orcs be the primary enemies in Gothic 4, but you will still see quite a few. 

What is fortunate is that early talk of the crafting system being scraped was completely off-base.

From the press demo there will be both alchemy and equipment crafting. Although, it is still unclear what form it will take other than being learned from recipe scrolls, and some individuals in the world.  

Another great improvement over Gothic 3’s botched journal system will be an actively updating beastiary, along with pictures and full descriptions as you encounter them in the world.

 Swamp sharks and bloodflys and swampweed! Oh my. 

Details about the equipment that will be available in the game is also very encouraging to us diehards.

Every culture in the game will have its own style, which shows on the equipment from each of the 6 cultures thus far revealed. A common example is from your starting town. A small fishing village; the people have carved fishes and nets in to the armor and weapons that their people use.

Bring it on shorty!

Lastly, the combo system has been revised somewhat with a 3 mouse or keyboard buttons lining up a different combos. Some other powers work by charging up through the levels of power you have achieved, meaning you won’t be spamming that ‘kill everything in sight’ fireball twice a second. Again, more on this will be in the demo hands-on… which I see just came out! 

Continued in Part 3: Demo hands-on!