Ya know, I really have to wonder about the mental state of people who are big fans of the Gothic series? Not that it's a bad series, not by any stretch, but the mental fortitude that's required to play through one of these games to completion is staggering. Only having clocked around seven hours of gameplay between the second and third game the sheer beating you receive from even the first enemies can be a life altering experience. These are truly games for the hardcore gamer and if you don't have the stones for it then too bad for you.
Luckily for the rest of us humans the developers are going for a slightly different approach with Arcania. Rather than focusing exclusively on the hardcore crowd they've expanded their approach to make the game more accessible to the rest of humanity. A good example of the starting point of this is the fact that you can now turn on a quest tracker. This will give you a quick way of traveling to the waypoints that will help you actually find your goal.
In addition they've revamped the combat to make it easier to get a handle on. You now have the option of locking onto enemies with ranged attacks and magic. When using a bow to fight you can lock on to ensure that your strikes hit but if you shoot without the lock on you will be able to do considerably more damage with each hit. But trying to hit an enemy with a shot while you have two reticules to deal with, one to aim around and a smaller one moving within the aiming reticule that shows where the arrow will hit. That little one will not stop moving so it will take plenty of time to master this.
Melee combat is much the same as this since you can either mash on the melee button to hit enemies repeatedly or use the timed combos. By timing your button presses you can pull off some really wicked combo strings that decimate foes. With the charge up option for melee and archery you can really use these two styles to decimate your foes.
The magic is another beast entirely since it's so versatile. Not only can you fire spells but they can be charged up to massive effect. The demo showcased a fireball spell that injured one foe with a click of the mouse but when charged decimated everyone in a large radius complete with impressive visuals. But it has plenty of uses outside of the whole "hurt people" angle.
One of the major points in Arcania is the dynamic weather / day and night system. Not only does everything cycle like in most other games but the weather has effects on your gaming experience. Water pools in depressions, runs off the sides where it should flow and dampens everything it touches. While this is all cool NPC's in the game actually react to the weather. So if you have some guards you need to sneak past you could use your magic to make rain fall and potentially chase them off to find some cover from the weather. There are plenty of other possible uses it's just a matter of how much the developers choose to use this system.
Boasting several different cultures, at least three hundred quests, highly improved graphics and a storyline that continues from where the previous game left off this is a game for all types. As a non-Gothic fan this is a title that has gathered my attention and something that I'm planning on following until it gets released. Arcania looks like it's poised to draw some attention to itself with this game and bring some good mainstream attention to itself.