A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
For kids who love Fantasy
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.