Although I have already written two texts about the Gothic series , I decided that there must be another one (unfortunately, the last one in this series, because as a kid I never had the opportunity to play Gothic 3 – the third part, which is the culmination of Gothic history ). Originally, the analysis of the Night of the Raven was supposed to be a fragment of the text about two, but while writing I came to the conclusion that it should be given separate attention. Why? See for yourself …
“It is written that a mighty artifact will be summoned to this world …”
Night of the Raven is an extension, so of course it modifies the so-called content of Gothic II . You can see it from the very beginning – right after starting the game in the main menu, instead of the image of the Nameless Hero fighting the dragon, there are three water mages (these are Vatras, Saturas and Nefarius, all playing an important role in the plot of the add-on) in the climatic scenery of an ancient, cloaked the darkness of the shrine, and music in the background, reminiscent of an ancient civilization shrouded in mystery … Not to mention the additional intro with the sounds of a flying raven … Also the initial dialogue of the main character with Xardas is slightly changed, because the necromancer mentions another artifact besides the Eye of Innos, this time belonging to Beliar and insists that it is necessary to get it. And this is just the beginning…
The lost city of Jarkendar
While the Night of the Raven is an add-on, the term does not seem to reflect the nature of the expansion entirely. Well, it not only introduces some modifications to the game, but also adds a new, extensive, separate storyline – you can say that it is a kind of game in the game. In addition to the motive of looking for the Eye of Innos in order to defeat dragons, described in the previous text, there is also the thread of the missing inhabitants of the city (although, as it turns out, also other inhabitants of the island), and it is Vatras who orders the Nameless Water Mage to find them. The trail leads to the mountains in the north-east of the island – a mysterious and forgotten land for thousands of years, where dark forces are at work that can threaten the existence of the entire Khorinis. The race against time begins with its future at stake …
It cannot be denied that for many fans (including me) this is the best part of the whole game, which you wait long for with each subsequent game, and after which the remaining chapters are just a formality. The mentioned “game in the game” consists in the fact that while in the main Khorinis the theme of the Night of the Raven seems to be just an additional, though slightly longer mission, after entering a new land, the player begins to get the impression that he is in a completely different place and time .
We are moving from the standard, quasi-medieval world, which we deal with in the other two parts of the island, to an almost ancient land, where we are constantly accompanied by the atmosphere of a lost, fallen civilization (emphasized by one of the best tracks in the entire game soundtrack)). In fact, the player discovers over time that there was once a city in the valley called Jarkendar (which is also used to describe the valley itself), and although thousands of years have passed since its inhabitants walked on the ground, a lot of remnants have survived to the time of the Nameless Hero. him. And so, in virtually every nook and cranny of the newly discovered place, we can find relics, items and weapons that once belonged to the so-called Builders, not to mention the remnants of buildings scattered all over the area, which constantly remind us of the ancient world we walk on. The landscape diversity of Jarkendar seems impressive, unparalleled in any other part of the island – from lowland, somewhat forested areas, through a huge swamp (however different from the first installment of the game), to a desert canyon and a real beach.
Interestingly, after entering the land, the game symbolically cuts itself off from the main plot for a while – the search for the Eye of Innos and the dragons issue completely ceases to be important, and the focus is on finding missing people and defeating the new evil lurking in the valley. This underlines the distinctiveness of the Night of the Raven and strengthens the belief that if the expansion were to be expanded a bit, it could actually constitute a separate, independent part of Gothic .
New plot, old friends
In the text about two, it was mentioned that the add-on adds variety to the plot. As in the case of the first Gothic , it begins inconspicuously (from the first, casually mentioned mention of missing people), then develops into something larger (there is a search for fragments of an ancient ornament, thanks to which it will be possible to open a portal to a new land), to to Jarkendar, the action gained momentum and intrigued until the grand finale. Full of twists, addictive and unpredictable story, the player does not know until the end what the fate of the Nameless will be in this case and follows the story in suspense until the very end.
The great advantage of the expansion is the return of old characters for which there was not enough space in the basic version of the game. Here, the title Raven comes to the fore – a former magnate from the former Old Camp, who, although in the first part was not a significant figure, here becomes the main antagonist and it is precisely to stop his aspirations that becomes our most important goal. Immediately after him, there are water mages (thanks to whom Vatras ceases to be the only follower of Adanos in the game), with whom the Nameless Hero was intensively cooperating still under the Barrier, and who here become a rock for him and an invaluable help in the fight against the new enemy. Many side characters also returned, often former allies of the protagonist, such as the guardian Thorus, the trader Fisk, the blacksmith Huno, the cook Snaf and the former novice of the Brotherhood of the Dreaming Fortuno. The old-new relationship of the protagonist with the aforementioned characters is also noteworthy – everyone more or less remembers him and has a different attitude towards him, which either changes or deepens over time. The most interesting in this case is the relationship of the Nameless Hero with the archmage of water Saturas, who has a great regret to him for the betrayal that the protagonist allegedly committed in the first part of the game (he then used a mound of ore belonging to mages to charge the magic sword Uriziel, necessary to defeat the Dreamer. ). Saturas does not trust him and reluctantly admits him to the mysteries of knowledge about Builders and subsequent tasks related to them, but during the plot The most interesting in this case is the relationship of the Nameless Hero with the archmage of water Saturas, who has a great regret to him for the betrayal that the protagonist allegedly committed in the first part of the game (he then used a mound of ore belonging to mages to charge the magic sword Uriziel, necessary to defeat the Dreamer. ). Saturas does not trust him and reluctantly allows him to learn about the Builders and subsequent tasks related to them, but during the plot The most interesting in this case is the relationship of the Nameless Hero with the archmage of water Saturas, who has a great regret to him for the betrayal that the hero allegedly committed in the first part of the game (he then used the ore mound belonging to the mages to charge the magic sword Uriziel, necessary to defeat the Dreamer. ). Saturas does not trust him and reluctantly allows him to learn about the Builders and subsequent tasks related to them, but during the plotIn the Night of the Raven, he gradually persuades him to finally admit that he is “happy to see that he was wrong about him” and hail him the Guardian of Balance. This proves the extraordinary consistency in Gothik’s fiction , which this time is revealed not only in one game, but in the greater part of the series, and at the same time shows the development of Saturas and the complexity of his relationship with the Nameless Hero.
A full-fledged addition
In terms of the Night of the Raven modification, it also looks great. Many new elements have been added, the most notable of which are the new guilds – next to the so-called Water Circle (kind of guardians of water mages), we also have a whole organization of bandits (who, led by Raven, become more important here) and even pirates. Interestingly, the Nameless Hero has the opportunity to join each of them and prove himself by performing many interesting tasks and meeting new heroes. Speaking of these, it is impossible not to mention such colorful and characteristic characters as Captain Greg (with whom The Nameless Hero has quite an interesting relationship, gradually changing from hostile to friendly), the pirates Skip and Jack Alligator, and the Eremita living in a remote area, significantly enriching the pleiades. heroesGothic II.
In addition to the aforementioned Jarkendar as a completely new land, the third in the game, the game has also been enriched with things directly related to the valley. Often these are modifications of the terrain itself, visible mainly in the central part of Khorinis. For example, next to the great pyramid, located on the road to the so-called Solar Circle, in the place where in the basic version there was only a flat surface, there is a descent to the corridors, at the end of which there is a portal leading to Jarkendar. There are also stone circles scattered around the island, and although we could see some of them in the basic version of the game, here they play a more important role, because they are related to the plot of the expansion (it is in them that we are looking for the mentioned fragments of the ancient ornament). Finally, the previously mentioned relics, items and weapons of the Builders, in addition to Jarkendar itself, can be found practically all over the island, thanks to which we can enrich our equipment with new, useful items. The stone tablets deserve the most attention here, the “reading” of which allows us to increase certain statistics and develop the character to an even greater extent, which makes them extremely useful. Of course, a lot of new monsters have also been added, thanks to defeating them you can increase your experience more than before, especially since many of them are quite a challenge.
Without a doubt, one of the most unique aspects of the Night of the Ravenit is possible to explore the history and culture of the ancient people of Jarkendar. Part of this story is actually necessary to complete the expansion, but many of its details can be learned by the player on their own, and they will not be known in a way other than by exploring the valley on their own. Acquiring knowledge about Builders can be considered an informal side mission, as it gives the player as much fun as the experience of the characters – so it is not only interesting, but also practical. In the case of the latter, it is particularly important to learn the language of the inhabitants of Jarkendar – acquiring the skill that allows you to read the above-mentioned stone tablets (as well as any other tablets left by the Builders). Its complexity and multistage nature is one of the things that gives a picture of how well an ancient civilization was developed. The others include the teleportation system, based on the teleportation stones that do not require the use of magic power (unlike the runes used in the times of the Nameless Hero) and … the ability to summon the spirits of the dead. In fact, during the game we meet as many as two ghosts, and one of them we even have to summon to be able to advance in the plot. Talking to each of them gives you a unique chance to meet representatives of the Builder people, which increases your immersionNight of the Raven and makes the player believe that in the world of Gothika such a civilization really existed in the past. The way in which knowledge about it is scattered around the land and the possibility of collecting it increase the player’s desire to get to know it, which over time turns into sincere interest, which makes the gameplay even more intriguing.
Finally, it should be mentioned about the changes as part of what we already received in the basic version of Gothic II. Namely, there are as many difficulties as facilitations. Among the first ones, the difficult character development should be mentioned. While in the “bare” two it was enough to gain new levels and regularly increase individual skills, here the thresholds of the so-called science points gradually increase. And so the skill, which could be improved at the beginning with only 5 CP, at the end of the game may require up to 25 CP at a time (it is worth emphasizing that regardless of what version of the game we play, one level always gives us 10 CP). Paradoxically, this means that despite the possibility of achieving a higher character level than in the basic version, we develop it to a lesser extent, because from a certain point it is simply difficult to collect the required number of science points. This makes it impossible for us, for example, to carry some really powerful weapons, which you can afford in the cradle. It is important that some of the enemies we know have more life and in their case a better weapon would really be needed … Another obstacle is the renewal of the life energy of dragons during the fight, which, to make matters worse, happens spontaneously and relatively soon after dealing damage, which makes defeating them even more challenging.
On the other hand, Night of the Ravenhe comes to our aid in those issues that were problematic in the two. The clearest example is making money. Before that, collecting even the symbolic 100 pieces of gold we needed to enter the city was quite a feat – here we have them in a purse even before we get to it. In addition, there is a gold mine in Jarkendar, where we can extract the ore on our own and, in addition, increase this skill, which makes it only a matter of time to get rich significantly (which is useful because the prices of some goods soared up). In turn, the compensation for heavier character development is the countless number of amulets, rings and belts, thanks to which we can increase skills in a situation when we can no longer do it with experience points. Finally, some actions seem simpler than before – the player can join each guild faster and with much less effort, and right after starting the game in the Xardas tower there are very useful items at the start. Of course, there are quite a few new ones in the game as well, and it’s not about Builder-related things, but more standard, allowing better adaptation of equipment to the modified world.Gothic II.
Anything more than an add-on?
All in all, Night of the Raven is more than just an add-on. It is actually a separate story with a kind of a separate world, and the whole is so extensive that, as already stated earlier, it could easily constitute a separate part of Gothic , if it was slightly expanded. What can I say – its content is so rich that I decided to create a separate text about it, contrary to my original plans to include this information in the article about two. This content significantly diversifies and makes the playing of Gothic II much more pleasant, introduces a hint of mystery to it and makes it even more intriguing. In the end, after so many years, this is the stage of the game that I have been looking forward to the most, and it has, once again, been the greatest fun for me, and I’m sure it will continue to do so, no matter how many times I go through it.