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GOTHIC 2 ( PC ) 
Gothic 2
96%
Great Interaction
Intelligent NPC's
Very Addictive

After being available in Germany for a good few months Gothic 2, the sequel to the 2001 RPG hit has finally arrived on UK and USA shelves. Continuing on from the previous title, Gothic 2 puts you in the boots of the "nameless one" who in the original title was thrown into the Empires prison colony of Khorinis to mine ore for King Rhothbars armies. The sequel boasts much sharper graphics, a greater playing area and a broader scope to the story of the Kingdom of Myrtana. While your character and many other npc's from the original title have broke their bonds from the colony, another problem has arisen in the land and the blood-thirsty orcs and undead from the north are all too happy to take advantage of the situation. On the mainland, the King has become increasing unhappy with the the tide of battle and has sent unit of his best men to the island of Khorinis to restore order secure the ore trade in the area. Gothic 2 certainly is less linear than it precursor. It's up to you whether you side with the former prisoners of the mining colony, the Kings army or Magicians during the Orc invasion and theres a more evolutionary feel to the world this time around. For examaple - there are lots more choices to be made and ripple effects down the line to be experienced. If you want to join the Kings men, forget about pickpocketing nobles in the town, or at least dont get caught!

Graphics have certainly been souped-up. Forests, buildings, weather changes and colour shifts from the day night cycles are absolutely top notch. The sound is well supported by EAX and the ambient music is very well presented across the numerous situations and perspectives of the game. Something that really shines in the original title was the individuality of so many NPC's on the island. In Gothic 2 it is even better. Forget about wandering into other people homes or starting a fight on street, Khorinis is a world of common sense and real values and you really get a sense of the world changing around you as you perform actions. So many of the items in the game are usuable like sharpening your sword on the stone wheels or cooking food for a better health bonus. Ingame dialogue is great and varied. Hundreds of NPCs are there to talk to with the majority being unique. 

As far as sequels go, it's always a fine line between introducing new assets and retaining winning formulas. Jowood have certainly hit the bulls eye this time and with expansion disks in the pipeline it looks like Gothic is going the same way as RPG giants such as the Ultima and Might and Magic series. If you've played the original title and enjoyed it, I can assure you Gothic 2 is certainly a first-class sequel. The latest installment really pushes the right buttons for the avid role playing gamer out there. Just make sure you have plenty of time on your hands, as when the world of Myrtana sucks you in it isn't easy to leave! 

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