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Visuals

The following observations are based on the community patch version 1.74.14 which is the patch I used to play the game. I'm aware that there is a newer version (1.75), but for some reason, it caused issues, including game crashes, on my system, most likely related to the video driver version I'm running. Downgrading to an older driver might help, but that's not an option for me, because it would most certainly break other games. The differences between 1.74 and 1.75 are not that significant, the most important addition in 1.75 is the shader cache which should further reduce stuttering. But with a fast system like mine, stuttering is not an issue any longer, especially not when the game runs from a SSD. It's barely noticeable when you enter new areas and the engine has to stream in new content.

Configuration and settings

I'm using Windows 8.1 on a fairly powerful system (Core i7 4Ghz, last generation, 16 GB RAM and a nVidia 780ti. Obviously, this hardware shouldn't have any problems with an engine that is almost 10 years old now and it certainly doesn't. I've set all detail options to their maximum values, using shader model 3, enabled all post processing effects (HDR, Depth Of Field) and 16x AF (the highest ingame setting and higher ones wouldn't make sense, given the relatively low texture resolution in the game). Running the game with both post processing AND Antialiasing requires further tweaks in the nVidia control panel. Simply enabling MSAA in the ingame options wouldn't work as MSAA and post processing doesn't work in older DirectX 9 games. There are options though, like using Supersampling or running the game at very high resolutions with downsampling that would also help in reducing these annoying "jaggies"

I'm running the game in 1920 x 1200 and the community patch supports all common widescreen resolutions, either 16:9 or 16:10 without further tweaks and also corrects the FOV so that using widescreen resolutions doesn't result in issues with the viewable area.

With vSync enabled (I just hate tearing), I get constant 60fps which is more than enough for a relatively slow-paced RPG and feels totally fluid and smooth.  I also reduced the mouse smoothing level in the control options because the default value was too "laggy" for my taste as I prefer more direct response to mouse inputs.

Looking surprisingly good

For a game that was released 8 years ago, it looks surprisingly good. Of course, it's instantly noticeable that most models have a fairly low polygon count and texture resolutions are low for today's standards, resulting in a somewhat blurred look. Also, even with view distance settings maxed, there is a visible border between low- and high-detailed terrain and objects with the low detailed terrain starting at a relatively short distance. There are, however, tweaks to improve this via the .INI file and I'll come back to this later (it's possible to significantly stretch the area that is rendered in high detail).

While Gothic 3 is no match for Oblivion that was released a couple of months before, it still was a great looking game by the standards of 2006. Back then, absolutely no system could handle this poorly optimized engine on max settings, but today's hardware can handle lots more.

Generally, G3 looks pretty good, even today. Of course, it's dated, models are low-polygon, texture resolutions are low, view distance, even when maxed, is