ArcaniA: The Complete Tale Review
ArcaniA: The Complete Tale Review
At a time when fantasy RPG games are dominating the gaming world, smaller games struggle to compete with huge names like Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls to create innovative and beautiful worlds for their heroes to explore. Games like this must continue to be made so that the category is not solely ruled by large franchises; new ideas and creations can be born out of this diversity.
One good example is the very fun and very creative ArcaniA: Gothic 4. Bringing new energy to the table and trying its best to stand among other fantasy games of a higher caliber, ArcaniA: Gothic 4 manages not to fall between the cracks, but to find its own shine.
The World of Gothic
The first three games released in the Gothic franchise followed the losing war humans fought against orcs, only to have one hero rise to save the world. With exploration, combat, and skill leveling all featured, the Gothic games carved out a small slot in fantasy RPG gaming over the course of the early 2000s. Four years after the release of Gothic 3, the game developers decided to add a fourth game to the mix, deciding rather mysteriously to drop ‘Gothic’ from the name and call the game simply ArcaniA.
Despite the name dropping off, ArcaniA was clearly made as a direct spin-off of the Gothic storyline. Now featuring a new hero, the game picks up at the end of the 3rd release. Ten years have passed and the self-crowned king has turned against his people, and savaged the Southern Islands as darkness corrupted and consumed his mind. After ArcaniA’s release in 2010, an add-on was released one year later. The add-on, named Fall of Setarrif, continued the story, adding more to the initial game. This positive addition lead to the two games being packaged and sold together, now called ArcaniA: The Complete Tale.
The Hero’s Journey Begins
As war wages on around him, our hero, a confident young Shepard with a simple life, returns from questing to find his village destroyed. This leads him on an adventure to seek revenge and hopefully stop the mad king. Gameplay in ArcaniA is simple but in line with the progression of the storyline: at first, working through small quests for named characters, and later moving into combat and more storyline-driven goals.
ArcaniA offers a simplistic combat system made up of striking and dodging and is both entertaining and unassuming enough to turn off more amateur RPG players. Everything about the gameplay of ArcaniA is perfectly suited to an open world RPG, and there is no shortage of areas to explore. The game’s early advertising promised dynamic weather, flora, and architecture. While the visuals offered in ArcaniA are not hugely original, they are definitely dynamic. With beautiful enemies and vast, open lands to explore, the game offers a strong visual experience.
ArcaniA is a fun, beautiful, and interesting game that will keep fans of fantasy RPG games happy while being accessible enough to bring new players in as well. That being said, fans of the original Gothic series may not find themselves automatically as enamored with the new release as they may have expected. ArcaniA does make a large effort to take a step away from the tropes found in the Gothic franchise, as certain elements beloved in the previous games have been removed. These include, but are not limited to resting, factions, and lock picking. Truly making the game more simplistic has invited new players in, but may alienate some original fans. ArcadiA is an entertaining game that will likely spawn its own set of sequels, but developers would be best off listening to the complaints from original fans, as adding back in some of these elements may not only appease them, but also make the game a more overall stimulating experience.