Gothic, to me, is the partial answer to a western RPG. The recipe for the perfect goblin slaying western fantasy game is there, but it's always so weighed down in it's own problems. Clunky controls and combat always held it back, but it was an immersive game way ahead of it's time. Let me sum up what Gothic 1 had.
A decent fantasy setting, with a prison colony trapped inside a magical barrier, now holding the King by the balls for the ore he needs.
Dynamic towns, like Shenmue or Oblivion, with people getting up, going to work, relaxing/eating/singing around a fire in the night and going back to bed.
Human characters were always knocked down, and then you could loot them and let them hobble off, or finish the job. This was used in quests a lot.
Your leveling up only awarded you Learning Points, which were currency with teachers, who could be anywhere, and all had their own requirements. If you had gained an old warriors favour, he would agree to teach you, and in the end you would swing a sword with faster and more skillful animation.
Magic took real investment and enrolment with a school, but was insanely powerful and worth the long effort.
There were animations for everything, every stage of a job (blacksmithing had you manually heating the metal, pounding it, and cooling it), climbing, using items, ect... may not sound like much, but every little bit added to the immersion factor.
If you look at Gothic 4, you'll find none of this. It's not even a Gothic game in my eyes. The whole series is just precious oil underneath a crust of gold, waiting to be struck, but they spend so much time fucking around with the trash on top that no one is ever guna find it.