A reminder of how far we've come.

The subject of today’s missive is Gothic Classic. Yes, we have a Switch port of the old PC game for you. Don’t get too excited, though, unless you are a fan of the old version or really crave the nostalgia of it. This port may be gothic, but it is far from epic.

Just so we don’t get off on the wrong foot, I can say the game is still playable even if it’s dated. I’m sure it was really interesting when it came out, but time has not been very kind over the past 20 years. Gothic is an open world concept where you can choose from three “camps” to which you can ally yourself.

You can choose to interact with NPCs and the environment, or you can skulk around and avoid anything which looks like it may be dangerous. In the beginning, however, everything is dangerous, so a bit of caution is not a bad thing.

In this world, there is an area which was sealed off by magicians to protect the mining of a valuable ore. Something went sideways, and the area has become a dumping ground for felons. You can get in, but you can’t get out; if you try, the magic kills you quickly. Since you are in here, as well, it’s safe to say you were caught being naughty. Getting tossed in was your punishment. You do have a mission, so there is a faint hope of gaining favor and maybe, possibly, someday getting out.

As you wander around this terrarium of an open world, you get to make friends, kill things before they kill you, collect stuff, upgrade your gear, and so on. The original developers provided a game with some interesting story elements, a few somewhat memorable characters, and a place where you can, more or less, wander around wherever you like.

You can shop for gear, join a guild with the diggers (miners) or shadows (thieves), or just hang out with your new buddy, Mud. By the way, Mud is one of the aforementioned “memorable” NPCs. He’s memorable primarily because he’s The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon-level annoying, just nowhere near as smart.

Once you can manage to collect enough stuff to start bartering for better gear, you will, slowly, get harder to kill. There is a classic inventory management system and weapon wield mechanics which will be familiar to most seasoned gamers.

There is an overarching story you can experience in this game. There are bad guys to kill, beasts to roast, stuff to buy, and NPCs to talk to.

Unfortunately, thus ends the happy portion of my experience with this iteration of Gothic, as there are a plethora of little to not-so-little things which were off-putting. Some of the minor irritations include the soundscape. The sound effects are limited and, when heard on repeat, can be a bit annoying. The dialogue is a bit predictable, but some of it is necessary to walk you through the narrative. The acting is not exactly top shelf so interacting with the NPCs can be a bit of a slog.

As you walk around the camp, you will hear snippets of conversation. If you stand still in one spot for a minute you get about 10 sentence fragments which repeat (slightly randomized), but these may as well be just random, non-speech sounds. The game takes into account the time of day and, if you are walking in the appropriate direction, the sun gets in your eyes. The glare effect is a bit overdone, making other parts of the game seem unduly dark.

The moderately annoying part is the graphics. The looks are a bit too faceted-looking. There are also places where you can see through buildings and terrain. I was leaving a room and talking with an NPC in the doorway and noticed my avatar’s arm was 2D and I could see through the door frame. This is a bit distracting and not what we expect from modern Switch releases.

The most annoying part was the janky manner in which the game responds to the Joy-Con inputs. Moving around is a bit clumsy and clunky, and the game has a hard time staying centered on the object of your ire when you are engaged in combat. Mercifully, the AI controlling the object of your ire is a bit slow, so you have a fighting chance when fighting.

Additionally, there is very little finesse to the combat; as long as you keep pounding on the ”attack” button, you can get the job done. You can also move through some of the “solid” objects in the game, and even stand in the middle of a fire pit without taking damage.

All things considered, Gothic Classic is worth getting only if you want to relive the past on your new gaming rig, if you want to finish an old title you didn’t finish before, or if you are a die-hard fan of this style of game from the early aughts. If your desire is to experience a good open-world adventure on your Nintendo Switch, there are several other titles more worthy of your time and your coin. The current cost of Gothic Classic in the Nintendo eShop is $29.99. At this cost, you can readily find something better.