Impression: Arcania

Arcania: player looking at a dead floating sheep
The dead floating sheep remind you that ‘Arcania’ is a fantasy game.

In ‘Arcania’ you play stereotype fantasy protagonist number one, farmer man-boy turned hero with a twist: this time you are mentally retarded! And so is everybody else in the game, much like the real world.

I never liked the Gothic series much. The RPGs developed by Piranha Bytes were a mixture of a frustrating combat system and awkward German humor. Fortunately when Korean Spellbound Entertainment took over development they changed the formula up a bit. The first 30 to 45 minutes of ‘Arcania’ are so hilariously bad, that I felt very much entertained.

arcania: creepy bear mage
Creepy beard mage.

Everybody is always screaming at each other and/or speaking in strange over the top voices. The dialogues and reasoning of the ‘we only had time for four character models’-clone people are nonsensical and I was laughing myself through the first dozen few.

Man-boy’s marriage proposal:
‘I WANT TO MARRY YOU!’
‘Err.. Really?’
‘DON’T YOU WANT TO?!?! Grrrrrr!’

Man-boy upon discovering he impregnated his fiance:
‘YOU’RE PREGNANT!!!’
‘WHO TOLD YOU?!?’
‘HALDEN! Grrrrr!’

It’s beautiful.

Arcania: a man posing angrily
The famous ‘grrrr!’-pose. Everybody in Arcania does it.

The world is full of glitches, weird lighting and spectacular bugs. My favorite moment was the first time I witnessed the devastating might of my bow and arrow. The stag I hit with it didn’t stop spinning until it was out of sight. I also enjoyed how very impressed and exited everybody was for me killing two goblins, who did nothing but chill at the beach, to proof that I am grown up man. They were just goblins, you know.

Another highlight is man-boy’s pregnant girlfriend telling him (I am paraphrasing): ‘Ok, so I know my life is fucked after the child is born. Let’s travel to a war zone and live a little before I am caught in the misery of motherhood!’.

The grand finale of the prologue is a cut scene turning up from nowhere at the end of a fetch quest in a cave. The cave walls collapse showing you the king’s paladins raiding the village and killing everybody including your fiance. The cuts are so fast and you have no idea of why and what is going on. After it’s over there are no questions asked. Man-boy just goes: ‘Grrrrrrr! I’M GONNA KILL THE KING AND AVENGE MY ALMOST WIFE!’. Top-notch story telling.

Arcania: a woman with a green face
Glitch or goblin?

Alas, at some point the charm of utter incompetence fades and I caught myself clicking as fast a possible to cut every conversations short. It’s just a never ending string of fetch quest after fetch quest guiding you on a certain path to mental illness. Apparently everybody involved was so ashamed of what they had created, that they didn’t even name the game Gothic 4, but called it ‘Arcania’ with an embarrassed ‘a Gothic tale’ attached to the title.

If you have the chance to get the game for a few cents or even better, attached in a bundle to a good game, it’s worth to play the prologue for it truly is a unique experience. Should you decide to play on, be warned that you might end up in a similar mental state as farmer man-boy. Grrrrrrr!

When the sky is free of sheep, ‘Arcania’ looks almost beautiful sometimes.

Info: The game was released in 2010. If you buy it full price on Steam, you probably should talk to some one.

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