I'm giving Gothic 3 a chance again now, in part because this discussion has me interested and in part because there's a newer version of the community patch since the last time I tried it. First of all, Gothic 3 does everything it can to make a horrible first impression. Just as I remembered from the first time, G3 has an atrocious start; it's arguably the worst beginning of any game ever. You start in the middle of a battle, and what's the first thing that happens? Hint boxes pop in the middle of the screen. And the hint boxes don't pause the game, so you can either scramble to click the box away (at which point another one pops up immediately), or you can ignore your friends and allies fighting all around you and read the helpful hint advice. It's ridiculous. But what's also ridiculous is that nothing in the battle actually matters at all. You can't die, and your friends can't die, and although the slaves in the village can die, they get resurrected as freed slaves as soon as the village resets, so absolutely nothing matters. In addition, you have the same character you had through the first two Gothics, but now he's back to having no skills and no equipment again, only this time there's no explanation. In general I don't think the device of saying, "somehow your character forgot everything he knew before," is a good one, but in Gothic 2 it made sense and there was a plausibility to it. The Nameless Hero was caught in a massive magical conflagration, so it could be a side effect. I'm willing to accept that. In Gothic 3 it makes no sense. What happened to the Barbarian Axe and Dragonhunter Crossbow I was carrying when I killed the undead dragon? I walked ashore in the middle of an orc invasion but left them on the ship? Along with my armor? Gorn, Milten, Diego, and Lester brought their gear, so I guess I figured I didn't need mine, except for this Orc Slayer sword I've never seen before. Okay, one last thing. The default graphic settings are terrible. The bloom and blur and other effects are jacked up way, way too high. Gothic 3 looks pretty good once you get everything sorted out, but I had to spend an hour tinkering with the .ini files (because the settings on the options screens aren't sufficient) to get it to look okay. Actually I'm still not done tinkering, I don't think. I don't blame the new graphics for being different, but I think there are significant faults with them. The new models seem very rounded, like they're made of wax that has melted in the sun. The textures also have really high amounts of specular that make them look shiny, even when there's no reason for it. I bought a hunter's leather armor. Part of it is a pair of rough leather pants. If you look at my pants in the sunlight they're super shiny, which doesn't make any sense at all. Melee combat completely blows. Why? Stun-lock. You can get stun-locked and killed by a scavenger without having a single chance to do anything. It hits you first, so you're dead, and that's all. The only other stun-lock I've ever seen in a PB game is the Brontos in Risen, but those are high-level monsters and you can still escape before you get killed usually. In Gothic 3, everything can stun-kill you. After playing Gothic 2, it's just sad. In Gothic 2 fighting almost anything was fun. You let an orc charge you, then step aside just when he swings his axe. He misses, overswings, and you hack away at him before he can regain his footing. Fun. Gothic 3...not fun. Now, this is not to say I think everything about Gothic 3 is bad. There are some things I like. But to get to those things, you have to overlook a lot. What do I like? Well, I've seen people on other boards making fun of the Depth of Field, but I like it. I like it in Risen too, for that matter. I like the new marble textured dialogue boxes. They read a little better than the old ones. The soundtrack is pretty good. It's not as though I despise every last thing about this game. I'm also having this weird problem where the game suddenly goes into slow-motion for no apparent reason. I don't remember that happening the last time I tried it, but I haven't found a fix yet. EDIT: I may have solved this. I'll post back later. EDIT: Since I'm piling on the criticism, here are a few more things I don't like about Gothic 3 so far. There are weapons and items that add skills and bonuses for no logical reason. For example, the Orc Slayer you start the game with; it gives you bonus damage against orcs. Why? Why would a non-magical sword do more damage against orcs? There's a bow that does bonus damage against "predators." Why would it do more damage to a wolf than it does to a bandit? It makes no sense. There are no weapons or items like this in the first two Gothic games, not that I can remember at least. One of the good things about Gothic 1 and 2 and Risen is the main character. He's sarcastic and insulting, which is funny. So far in Gothic 3 his dialogue is very flat and generic. I'm going to keep an eye on this to see if his personality ever comes back. They used a different actor for his voice this time too. Okay, so that's not deal breaker, but I hope there was a good reason for it. Most of the characters have new voices. I haven't made up my mind about them yet, except for Diego, whose new voice I don't like at all. Then again, Diego hasn't had a cool voice since Gothic 1.