Oh, how I wanted to like this game. And I think I would have – if it wasn’t on Switch. I never played the original on PC, but I can say that the Switch port certainly retains the same charm as the 2001 version…for better and worse.
Admittedly, Gothic Classic’s controls on the Nintendo Switch make me feel extremely nauseous. This is a ‘me’ problem, but I know that there are tons of people like me who also suffer from motion sickness, whether it’s traveling or playing video games. There is just something about the way the controls work on the Switch with Gothic that just doesn’t sit right with me, and I struggled to get through the game as a result.
Gothic, while a cult classic, has always had notoriously janky controls. I would have hoped that they may have been ironed out a little in this new port, or at least modernized a little. Still, it’s somewhat charming to see the game having the features that made it such a talking point back in the day.
Overall Performance on the Nintendo Switch
The Joycons are practically unusable with Gothic Classic, and I often found myself resorting to the d-pad. As someone with smaller hands, this was tough. The reason why I had to use the d-pad is because the Joycon moves the character awkwardly, which also moves the camera, while I’m trying to explore an area. Even picking items up off of the floor was difficult enough – though this wasn’t fixed by using the d-pad.
I didn’t expect greatness in terms of performance, but I was pretty surprised by how well it runs overall. Yes, there were some frame drops, but which Nintendo Switch doesn’t have those these days? I did notice some pop-ins now and again as I explored, but Gothic is an old game, so I knew everything wouldn’t be loaded in all the time.
Comparing the graphics to the original PC version does make me like the Switch port just that bit more. Certain textures, whether on the character models or in the environment, do look somewhat better. I’m glad about that, as it would have been a little annoying if they didn’t at least try to make the game work with a much higher resolution – especially if you’re going to be playing on a wider TV screen in docked mode.
Who I Recommend Gothic Classic For
Did I find the combat fun? Yes and no. It’s got that nostalgic simplicity inherent in many older games, but sadly I think I’m too used to more exciting and more involving battles in newer titles. I do appreciate the level of depth that Gothic has in terms of weapons, armor, and overall character progression however.
The game just falls a bit flat for me though. I’m not against older games, as some of my favourite games are from the years 2000 and 2010. But sadly, I think Gothic might be a bit too long in the tooth in 2023 for those who have never tried the game before.
I think the Gothic Classic Switch port is fantastic for those who played the original. New players? Not so much. That’s not to say somebody who has never played or heard of the Gothic franchise wouldn’t like it at all, but I do think there are better options out there. If you don’t struggle with motion sickness, you’ll probably like it!
Gothic Classic has an avid fanbase, and for good reason. The game is intricately detailed, with deep lore, and meaningful world-building. But sadly the awful controls are too much to cope with, and they do ruin the game to some extent. Perhaps it works better on a keyboard and mouse – but this is a game on the Nintendo Switch, and on this format it doesn’t quite work.
- Deep lore and world building
- A cult classic filled with nostalgia
- Retains the 2000s charm
- Controls on the Switch are awkward
- Joycon’s are awful to use with the game in handheld
- Frame drops despite it being an old game on a modern handheld console
- Combat feels clunky and unengaging