A little delayed, since I finished the game last week, but didn’t get a day off to sit down and write stuff properly. Should start doing some writing on my regular days too and be less lazy, but that’s the hard part, especially with current season and weather changes – feeling sleepy all the time and in a weird unmotivated mindset.
Main thing about this review is that pretty much everything from first game review is valid for this one too with some minor differences that are mostly in positive direction, but let’s get to details (version with Night of the Raven expansion btw)…
Gothic 2 is pretty much big upgrade for first game, almost everything is better or at least the same, so I’d say I was a bit more prepared this time and my gameplan was a little more clear and experience a bit more refined.
Let’s start with something that I think is worse than first game – setup for story (minor spoilers after this point potentially). We are starting stripped of our powers and equipment completely, from legendary mage that I was in first game, that unified all elements and shit to random pleb dying to anything easily again. Resetting of our character is expected and explained, but it’s a bit weird, 3rd game actually did this transfer of character between games better for my taste. But that’s not even the “problem”, it’s fine, thing that I like about first game’s setup is all that magical jail environment that felt interesting and original, while here we are dropped in something more generic and normal fantasy, now even with dragons.
Despite setup for the story being weaker in my opinion overall story is way stronger in second game, feels more fleshed out and interesting. Night of the Raven expansion is also enhancing the game quite a bit looks like, adding pretty good chunk of story and content that is connected to first game’s characters too. Everything in the game is connected to previous game, a lot of characters you will meet again, a lot of places you will revisit and a lot of lore you will hear/read in more detail, that’s a really good worldbuilding approach while also easy asset reuse, I think more devs should do it to some extent, because it’s pretty easy fanservice for series fans, easy content and lore reinforcement, but need to be careful with dosage and repetition of course.
Graphics, UI and technical things are pretty much same as first game, but a bit better in every department, so that’s a great thing, but nothing really to mention in particular.
Gameplay barely changed too, except some character system changes and how some stats/skills work, overall I’d say good changes and nothing worth mentioning specifically. Except maybe quite a big role that critical hits might play in some fights, because I don’t think that was a big deal in first game, but here crits can decide a lot of fights. I haven’t played as dedicated melee character and closer to the end of the game it feels like it became a bit better, but maybe also because I was mostly killing things using ranged spells, in early game in melee you sometimes can do really well, but then one crit can turn things around completely and even random peasant can destroy you.
Progression that I loved in first game is still here, even though this time I on purpose gimped myself early to be a proper mage later, not like in first game when my build was more of a hybrid that was pretty ok melee fighter in the beginning. Here I relied more on spells and progression with that feels a little worse, because investing skillpoints doesn’t feel that impactful, since you mostly just get more mana and unlock spells, but spells are opening with chapters so progress is more staggered and early game is very poor with spells. Armor is also not being upgraded that frequently and feels like I missed some big late game upgrades in armor department, maybe because I was a mage though, but in first game even as a mage you had regular refresh of your wardrobe.
Mage experience again deserves special mention in this Gothic too, because picking Mage path again puts you in quite a unique position not only gameplay-wise, but story-wise too. In this game it feels even better, because many NPCs have special lines for you as a mage and you can visit some areas and do some things that others can. Trade off is that early game you gonna suffer pretty hard, but there is this +20 mana wand that brings one little feature allowing you to have that 20 mana free without wasting potions or constantly sleeping, making early game a bit more bearable – just unequip/equip it with empty mana bar and you will see.
Gothic experience still going strong and I’m enjoying my time with all games so far. Third game is already progressing slowly, another mage gonna happen and another review too, can already say that Gothic 3 is much more different than first two games, so I can see why some people weren’t really happy with it. After that I’ll take a break with Piranha Bytes probably until next Jankathon, but we’ll see how things will go and how I’ll feel about it. Currently just in general feeling a little extra low energy and motivation, but I think it’s more about this time of the year and switch from winter to spring that is quite late and slow here, not about some games in particular.