Arcania: Gothic 4



Average action role-playing game with some violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The goal of the game is to protect a town from evil, but this noble aim is outweighed by the player's engagement in bloody violence and exposure to coarse language, tobacco, and alcohol.

Positive role models

The lead character is a likable guy who has a sense of loyalty and pride. He also has a love interest, who we meet early in the game, and is willing to help townsfolk out with their tasks. He's not a bad role model but uses violence to solve most of his problems.

Ease of play

The PC version of the game is very easy to play, using the WASD keys to move around the world and the mouse to attack. It's quite simple -- too simple for some, perhaps.


This game features plenty of hack-and-slash, bow-and-arrow, and magic-based attacks. Blood spurts from  fallen enemies, both human non-human (such as goblins and trolls). However, the amount of blood is not copious, and there is no gore.



Not applicable

Swear words can be heard occasionally in dialogue sequences, including "s--t," "asshole," "damn," and "hell."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters consume alcohol and smoke. In one mission players move mead from one part of the town to another.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Arcania: Gothic 4 is a fantasy role-playing game that focuses heavily on combat. That said, the fighting isn't gory -- players see only a small amount of blood. Players fight other humans, wild critters roaming about, and larger creatures, such as goblins, trolls, and other mythological beasts. There is some drinking and smoking in this game as well as the occasional instance of foul language.

What's it about?

The latest installment in this nine year-old fantasy role-playing game (RPG) series is set roughly 12 years after the events in 2006's Gothic 3. ARCANIA: GOTHIC 4 drops players into a war-torn world ruled by an oppressive king and overrun by goblins, trolls, and other nasty creatures. You play as an unassuming shepherd from the Isle of Feshyr who rises up against King Robar the Third. The game chronicles his journey to the palace to settle a score. Players will master skills of their choosing and grow stronger over time. You don't need to know anything about the previous Gothic games, but those who've played past titles might benefit from familiar locations, characters, and events.

Is it any good?


Those looking for a challenge won't find much of one here. The game's simple mechanics and formulaic RPG conventions are fun for a while, but missions grow repetitive, with many focusing on fetching items or eliminating some threat in the area. There is a skill system, plenty of inventory items, and numerous weapons and armor choices, but combat is simply a point-and-click exercise. It's worth noting, though, that there are some nice graphical touches such as varied locations, weather changes, and day/night transitions.

If you're looking forward to a straightforward action-heavy fantasy game you'll likely enjoy Arcania, but those looking for something deeper should adventure elsewhere. Note: the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game are the same.

Online interaction: This is a single-player game.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fantasy violence. Is it the same as violence set in contemporary times? Should all combat-heavy games that feature blood and realistic violence be rated "Mature" regardless of their settings or character types?

  • Families can also discuss the depiction of alcohol and tobacco in games. Do you think featuring controlled substances in games should be treated the same way it is in movies and films? Do you think they can be construed as glamorous within the confines of interactive entertainment?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$59.99 ($49.99 for PC)
Available online?Not available online
Release date:October 19, 2010
Genre:Role Playing
ESRB rating:T for Alcohol Reference, Blood, Language, Use of Tobacco, Violence (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 11 and 15 year old Written byCeltic1962 April 20, 2011
Teen, 13 years old Written byAbe1998 February 25, 2012

It was ok. Din't get into it

The fighting wasn't anything special. Some of the themes are kind of iffy (a woman gets pregnant, then she and the man she loves get married). Had some language.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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