哥特王朝 3（Gothic 3）可能是有史以来最具野心的游戏之一。它试图达到《上古卷轴（The Elder Scrolls）》系列的规模，还要兼具 Piranha Bytes 在系列前作所展现出的特有的情节深度——《哥特王朝》系列也因此饱受赞誉。但想做出杰作，光有野心是不够的。不过，如果把《哥特王朝 3》比作一款未经雕琢的璞玉，也似乎显得过于轻描淡写。
游戏接续前作结局，无名的主角来到大陆，兽人已经占领了米尔塔纳（Myrtana）王国。虽然在前作里，兽人不过是一帮野蛮人。但本作的兽人更像是《星际迷航（Star Trek）》里的克林贡人（Klingon），而非托尔金笔下的“铁憨憨” 。这些兽人有着崇尚力量的尚武文化，很有纪律性，主张权利的分配与个体的才能息息相关，有很强的正义感。这个设定上的变化很重要，让玩家从更积极的角度去审视这个种族，甚至愿意与它们结盟。而《哥特王朝 3》声望值系统的趣味性，在所有游戏里可谓数一数二。
Gothic 3 might be one of the most ambitious games ever attempted, trying to rival The Elder Scrolls for size but with the specific depth that Piranha Bytes showcased in their much-lauded Gothic series. But greatness is not made by ambition alone sadly, and saying this game is a gem in the rough would be an understatement.
Following on Gothic 2's ending, the nameless protagonist now reaches the mainland, where the Kingdom of Myrtana is under Orc subjugation. While Orcs in the previous games were just savages, the mainland conquerors are less Tolkien and more Klingon. They have an orderly warrior culture based on strength, but also a meritocracy with a strong sense of justice. This change was necessary to push the player towards possibly thinking of the Orcs in a positive light, maybe even allying with them, as Gothic 3 features one of the most interesting reputation systems ever attempted.
The Orcs and the human rebels (as well as other factions) have their own rating for the hero and raising it will grant access to new quests, gear and areas. Moreso, each town has its own individual rating, and when it is high enough the hero is allowed to see the town's leader. From there he can decide to overthrow the current establishment or crush the dissidents.
This system isn't limited just to the Orcs and human rebels in the temperate kingdom of Myrtana. Gothic 3's world is huge, spanning three regions and over a dozen towns, with a similar faction choice to be made regarding the Hashishin and Nomads who live in the southern desert land of Varant. Unfortunately, the northern arctic region of Nordmar only has quests that allow siding with the local Barbarians against the Orcs, as such, the whole area just feels unfinished.
Sadly, that feeling pervades the entire game. While the idea of growing your reputation in each given city is amazing, in practice it's less so, since it mostly boils down to performing fetch quests. Some of these are well-contextualised, like playing spy for the Orcish mercenaries, but for the most part they are menial jobs like getting meat or killing wolves for each town and village – an exercise in pure tedium.
To top this off is the fact that there isn't much interconnectivity between factions. You can complete quests in all towns and need only decide which side to take during the endgame, which makes it shallow and much less replayable than previous Gothics, where they forced you into a faction from the start. This is further reinforced by the fact that if more than a few towns are freed or rebellions crushed then the defeated factions will attack you on sight, something which isn't explained to the player in any way.
But even with all that there's a sense of wonder to be derived from actually impacting the world by deciding who will rule each town. The game doesn't hold your hand and allows you to go anywhere, do anything and kill anyone from the start. And while the story is almost non-existent for most of the game, there are three possible endings based on the faction you end up supporting, plus slides showing the fate of key characters. Yet, Gothic 3 could have been so much more.