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Risen

Review: Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition

Aug 21 // Mike Cosimano
Risen 3: Titan Lords (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Piranha BytesPublisher: Deep SilverRelease Date: August 12, 2014 (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) / August 21, 2015 (PS4)MSRP: $39.99 (PS4) $29.99 (PC) $19.99 (Xbox 360, PS3) From the second Risen 3 begins, you can tell something is wrong. There's a very perceptible lag in character movement. Often, a full second would pass before my input was registered. Jumping off a ledge higher than an inch causes the camera to whip upwards -- totally independent of any input! -- giving the player a very good look at your character's upper back and approximately 0.5 inches of the sky. This sucks when there are enemies that need killing and you have to wait for the game to give you back control of the camera. The simple act of getting from place to place feels like a slog, actively discouraging players from exploring a moderately amusing setting. I will certainly say that much for Risen 3: there are pirates and there was nothing particularly wrong in that department. But, alas, we live in a post-Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag world. The aesthetic elements of Black Flag (sea shanties, every noun capitalized, charming dialogue delivered well) helped build a sense of place and time. Risen 3 is a unique example of non-modern anachronisms, with pirates and mages living together in an era that feels unstuck from time. It's a neat concept in theory, and there was a short period where I was kind of digging it. But the more time I spent chatting up the Pirate Admiral (seriously) about teaming up with the Demon Hunters, the more everything began to fall apart. In most cases, two great tastes taste great together, but there's an incongruity here that proves insurmountable. This may be due to the blindingly dull story, which is a rare mix of embarrassing and baffling. Are you sick of dark fantasy stories where the world is on the brink of annihilation because of demonic/supernatural forces to which the hero is mysteriously tied? I know I am! The archetypical hero's journey is not inherently a bad story to tell, but Risen 3 feels almost painfully familiar -- apart from the fact that you play an undead hero. That's okay, I guess. To be fair, there aren't piles of dark fantasy games clogging GameStops like modern shooters in the Call of Duty heyday, but when each game is around 60 hours long, the setting feels tattered after playing just one title. [embed]306876:60066:0[/embed] Even if this particular well had not been exhausted by this point, Risen 3 has a terrible story by any standard. The voice acting ranges from amusingly bad to excruciatingly bad, which only makes the lousy dialogue even worse. There is no reason for the player to care about the proceedings -- your character doesn't even get a name, player-assigned or otherwise. I never cared about the state of the world, partially because the quest system is an absolute mess. Quest upon quest piles up on itself, each more tedious than the last. I will admit to something right now -- I frequently consulted a guide when playing Risen 3. Thankfully, it's been a year since the game originally released, so there are extensive walkthroughs out there. I had a webpage in front of me that literally told me exactly what to do and the quest system still confused me. There's no indication as to which quests are necessary to mainline the story, which I aimed to do in order to wash my hands of this game as soon as possible. God, I hate Risen 3. We haven't even gotten into the combat yet. Fighting an enemy usually goes something like this: you spot a bad guy, the bad guy's attack animation basically teleports to your location and knocks off a chunk of your health, you get knocked to the ground and stun-locked, and then you dodge-roll around the bad guy while your companion (who somehow does way more damage than you ever will) does all the work. The enemies are always faster and stronger. They can break your parry, and you can't do anything to them. It's not like Dark Souls where the relatively underpowered player and carefully planned attacks are part of the game's balance. When the physical distance between the player and the enemy is so variable with so little time to react, combat becomes a crapshoot. Plus, when you die, you have to wait for the game to prompt a save reload and then you've got a 2-3 minute loading screen to look forward to. Let me tell you about the mission that forced me to give up on Risen 3. The open world is split up into islands. Once you get your real pirate ship, fast traveling between islands (there's no island-to-island sailing like in Black Flag) will trigger an event. There was a sea monster fight that was boring and took entirely too long, for example. Based on that, I assumed the majority of the sea-based missions would take that formula. However, I was "treated" to a pirate vs. pirate battle where I had to prevent boarders from destroying my ship. The boarders would bring over gunpowder bombs, which I had around 40 seconds to defuse. Except you can't defuse the bomb until you kill the enemies guarding it. You have to do this three consecutive times, with the amount of enemies increasing every time. I got profoundly lucky in that I had a handful of useful magic spells. Without them, I would not have made it through. It took me hours to make it past the bomb segment, and another handful of hours to chip away at the enemies on the other ship. The first time I beat the boss at the end, it felt like a revelation. And that's when the game broke. My character was standing on nothing as dark waves crashed beneath him. I couldn't move him or the camera. None of the buttons worked. I sat there dumbfounded before closing the application, reasoning that I could jiggle something loose by trying the sequence again. I was wrong. The game had essentially trapped me. The mission I could not complete was apparently mandatory for completing the story. So, in addition to being just bad on a whole host of levels, Risen 3 is broken and poorly optimized. I honestly lost count of the amount of times my save files refused to load. The frame rate often drops to levels unbefitting an otherwise ugly current-generation console game. It's honestly unbelievable that consumers are expected to pay forty dollars for this. Risen 3 is stunning, but not for the reasons the developers intended. Frustrating, ugly, broken, irritating, dull -- I cannot recommend this game to a single person. Even if you enjoyed it on PC, there is no way the busted PS4 version is worth a double-dip. If you want pirates, play Assassins' Creed IV. If you want epic fantasy, play Dragon Age: Inquisition or The Witcher: Wild Hunt. If you want a combination of the two, know that desire could lead you down a very dark road. Please do not buy Risen 3. It is a very bad game.
Risen 3: Titan Lords photo
Dead is better
The best noir films end on a downer. Whatever great conspiracy the hero came so close to unraveling has come out on top -- the bigwigs in charge have evaded justice and a lot of good people died along the way. But the protago...

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Risen 3

Risen 3 rises on PS4 in the least-asked-for port yet


Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition
Jul 31
// Steven Hansen
Risen 3: Titan Lords was panned by critics on release after the just above average, piratical Risen 2: Dark Waters, but what else does Deep Silver have to release this year with Dead Island 2 losing its developer? It's this ...
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Risen

Piranha wants to go back to its roots for Risen 3


Promises 'favorite elements' from Gotchic and Risen 1
Jul 23
// Jordan Devore
Piranha Bytes went off in a different direction with its pirate-centric Risen 2: Dark Waters and that didn't sit well with some series fans. For the next game, Risen 3: Titan Lords, the studio claims it has gone back to its ...
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Risen

Risen 3's Demon Hunters faction sounds like the one to side with


Or just form an alliance with everyone for completion's sake
Jul 17
// Jordan Devore
First came the CGI trailer for Risen 3: Titan Lords, and now, screenshots. The one above? My favorite of the pack by a wide margin. Some of the others are oddly blinding. The game features three factions and one of them is ca...

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Risen

Yes, Risen 3: Titan Lords, I'll watch your CGI trailer


Releasing August 12 for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3
May 07
// Jordan Devore
Here's the extended CGI trailer for Risen 3: Titan Lords that was first teased last month. I still don't know how Brittany managed to write that many words covering it, but now I'm thinking about What Dreams May Come, again,...
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Risen 3

Risen 3's teaser trailer looks vaguely like Dante's Inferno


Teaser? I hardly...consider this a good teaser
Apr 18
// Brittany Vincent
The official teaser trailer for Risen 3: Titan Lords is out now, and it involves a lot of pretty CG animation and generic combat. It's got all the hallmarks of a traditional Western RPG: darkness, big swords, and copiou...
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Humble Bundle: Saints Row, Dead Island, Risen 2


The games of Deep Silver
Jul 30
// Jordan Devore
Deep Silver is the latest publisher to get a Humble Bundle. For the next two weeks, you'll be able to save big on franchises like Dead Island and Saints Row. The pricing breakdown is slightly different this time, so here's wh...
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Live show: Mash Tactics on the high seas of Risen 2


May 03
// Bill Zoeker
Parley me Scurvy timbers ahoy, and other such clichés. Why all the nonsense? King Foom playing Risen 2: Dark Waters on Mash Tactics today is why! This action RPG has the player battling against all kinds of strange cre...
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The DTOID Show: Rayman Origins 2 & Arkham City GOTY


Apr 23
// Max Scoville
Hey gang! It's us. Again. I'm sorry Tara's not here, but she's still at Coachella apparently. Dear lord today has been stressful and miserable. Anthony's nice enough to be a substitute guest host, but damn. Just not the same...

Review: Risen 2: Dark Waters

Apr 23 // Jim Sterling
Risen 2: Dark Waters (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Piranha BytesPublisher: Deep SilverReleased: April 27, 2011 (PC), May 22 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)MSRP: $59.99Rig: Intel i7-2600k @3.40 GHz, with 8GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 580 GPU (SLI) Risen 2 takes place several years after the first game, with the world in an unsurprising amount of peril. Our nameless hero has returned, now an alcoholic shell of his former self and serving in the Inquisition. The "old world" has been swallowed by monsters from the depths of the ocean, and our hero is charged with the task of scouring the new one -- a region of tropical jungles, ancient native tribes, and murderous pirates -- for a way to defeat the ancient evil attacking from the sea. Cue adventure on the high seas, the wearing of fancy tricorn hats, and more rum than a human could medically drink.  At its heart, Risen 2 is a traditional action role-playing game, with a focus on exploration and accepting humdrum quests from rude characters who may or may not prove helpful to the overall mission. Like with the last game, navigating the world is a bit more of a hassle than one is used to in our age of modern convenience, though some may appreciate a lack of hand-holding. The in-game compass is useful for very little, and players need to keep checking the map screen to find out where a quest objective is. As each of the game's many islands are explored, fast travel points unlock, but some of them are very randomly placed, with areas that would seem like obvious choices remaining completely cut off. Fortunately, the islands aren't too huge, and once players get their own ship, they can travel the world at a fairly decent pace.  [embed]225653:43348[/embed] Rather than use a traditional leveling system, players earn Glory points for enemies killed, locations found, and quests completed. Glory can be invested into several attributes that govern statistics and unlockable skills. For instance, spending Glory to level up one's toughness allows the player to absorb more damage from weaponry, and allow players to learn skills such as Bladeproof (reduced damage from melee weapons) and Intimidate (allows the player to use threatening dialog choices with NPCs). The more an attribute levels, the more Glory it requires, while the skills pertaining to each attribute are purchased from teachers for an obscene amount of gold.  It's a fun system with a very enjoyable set of skills (characters with high cunning can train monkeys to steal for them), though the high costs -- both in terms of Glory and gold -- make powering up feel like a chore at times. Gold isn't falling out of people's pockets, especially with players having to also spent money on bribery and equipment, so it can be a very long time before the player feels suitably powered up.  This is an issue due to the fact that Risen 2 is ridiculously cheap at times. There are many monsters that can hit harder and swifter than you can, some of which can even outrun you if you attempt to escape. Certain monsters possess unblockable attacks that hit faster than the player can move, and they aren't shy about repeating those attacks and locking our hero into repeated "pain" animations. If you fight multiple opponents at once, you'll be trapped in a situation where one will be attacking you at melee range, while the others stand at a safe distance and throw unlimited spears or fire vicious muskets at you. All this is thrown at you before the hero is even halfway capable of defending himself against most of the enemies he'll be facing.  At times, things are so imbalanced as to be totally demoralizing. Risen 2 cruelly sets the player up to fail. Fancy challenging the first NPC you meet to a training duel? Expect him to kick your ass, using moves you won't be able to utilize yourself for hours. Expect him to whittle your health down to a sliver, which you'll have to heal yourself. Expect that small mercy to be lacking from the less empathetic creatures waiting outside. Oh, and expect to save before and after every single fight, and sometimes in between.  This initial shock hides what is, when you dig deep enough into it, a strangely rewarding adventure. Though you will never feel truly powerful in Risen 2's world, enough time and in-game funding will put you on par with the game's heftier opposition, and by the time you've strengthened your hero up enough to finally take down more than one pirate unaided, you'll feel immensely proud of yourself. It's a very strange game that punishes you so hard you'll start to feel brilliant simply for becoming slightly competent. I sense many won't find the effort worth it, but those that stick with the circus of malice may be surprised at how much satisfaction there is to be had from finally getting a taste of the upper hand.  The sadism is further alleviated once players become captain of their own ship and gather together a crew. Players can take one crew member as a companion out to the islands, some of whom exist simply to have your back in a fight, while others possess skills to provide special benefits in the field. Most players will likely go with Chani, whose skill as a witch allows her to heal the hero when his health drops too low -- an invaluable and lifesaving power that trumps pretty much everything else on the menu.  The combat system attempts to be deeper than most in the genre, though its unintuitive implementation makes it feel a little unwieldy at times. Melee combat relies on timing and counter-attacking in order to successfully fight, though the abilities with which to do all this must be bought piecemeal from teachers. When players finally have enough skills gathered, they can block and parry attacks by attacking at the same time as the opponent, then pressing the space bar at just the right moment to counter with a riposte. Firearms can also be used by pressing "E" at any time, though players have to make sure to keep blocking or risk having the hero turn around and shoot thin air for some reason. Also, one must bear in mind that this entire combat system is thrown out of the window when fighting monsters, who cannot be blocked and turn the whole thing into a mindless hack n' slash game.  New to the series is voodoo magic, which more insidious players can improve through Glory like anything else. Voodoo allows not only for the brewing of mystical potions, but the crafting of dolls that can curse opponents, or even physical possession other characters. At key moments in the story, the hero will be required to possess certain characters in order to manipulate events or infiltrate areas, leading to some amusing moments.  Speaking of amusing, Risen 2's idea of what is and isn't an acceptable joke raises an eyebrow at times. I'm all for tasteless gags, but some of the dialog in this game may cross the boundaries of acceptably risqué patter and fall firmly into offensive territory. One early quest involves trying to force your companion into a kitchen job for no other reason than she's "a woman." Later on, characters openly refer to black natives as "spearchuckers" (a racist term in Europe) while several homophobic jokes crop up. One can argue that these characters are steeped in a world of piracy and such ignorance is expected, of course, though the fact that the comments are regularly presented in a matter-of-fact manner, with absolutely no sense of criticism or complaint, and sometimes come from the hero's own mouth, remains faintly alarming. It wasn't enough to offend me personally, but I certainly was surprised and I'd recommend those with rawer nerves keep their shields up.  Outside of the occasional wince-worthy gag, Piranha Bytes manages to raise a few smiles with some genuinely amusing -- if unapologetically stupid -- comedy. Eccentric characters such as a misguided gnome who can't stop swearing and a pirate who died, lost half his soul in the underworld, and became a crazy tribal demagogue, manage to put in some memorably entertaining performances. There's much enjoyment to be had in playing what is, at heart, an M-rated Pirates of the Caribbean.  Risen 2 has an overhauled look compared to the original game, though the biggest visual benefit comes from its new tropical environments. The thick greenery and bright sunlit islands make for a visually appealing game that might not be on par with the Uncharteds or even Skyrims of the world, but nonetheless bring a splash of color and exotic flair to the proceedings. There are a few hiccups, most notably in the dodgy ally A.I. that can see players freezing in place or wandering off, but otherwise this is one of the more stable and technically sound European RPGs I've played. A selection of amusingly silly voice actors and some decent music help round out the presentation.  Risen 2: Dark Waters is a difficult game to review, because I want to express how much I enjoyed myself in spite of the mountains of criticism that it quite rightly deserves. It's unnecessarily mean-spirited, it demands an immense amount of the player's time before it hits its stride, and the whole thing's potentially offensive to boot. All that said, when it finally opens up and lets the player have fun, Risen 2 has hours upon hours of legitimately enjoyable gameplay on offer. The frustration of getting trapped in the corner by a faster opponent never lets up, but once players get strong enough to soak it up and hit back, the feeling of relief and vindication is remarkable. All told, you'll get over thirty hours of pirate-flavored silliness that will brutalize you, then make you feel good inside.  What Piranha Bytes has developed could have been a thoroughly supreme game, one that could have gone toe to toe with the heavyweights of action role-playing. Due to a number of highly questionable design decisions, however, a lot of that potential has withered away. With so much lost, it's perhaps a testament to how talented the team secretly is that Risen 2 is still packed with fun in the face of truly inhibiting setbacks.  That deserves a modest round of applause, at the very least. 
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The original Risen was a curious little beast. In a genre so used to empowering the player, letting one live out heroic fantasies in a world full of treasure, choice, and magnificent deeds, Risen was quite prepared to strip y...

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Console versions of Risen 2 hit with a delay


Apr 20
// Jordan Devore
The PC release of Risen 2: Dark Waters is nearly upon us and it's being followed, for once, by the console versions rather than the other way around. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 editions was originally slated for late May,...
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Risen 2: Dark Waters is looking cheery in new screenshots


Apr 03
// Jim Sterling
I'll say one thing for the Risen series -- it's not afraid of a little color. The pirate-themed sequel might be violent and gritty, but at least its violent grittiness will get a tan, thanks to the bright sun and tropical col...
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PAX: Square bringing Theatrhythm, Hitman, and more


Mar 31
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
So far it looks like Square Enix is going to have the best lineup to show off at PAX East this coming week: Sleeping Dogs Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Quantum Conundrum Heroes of Ruin Wakfu Risen 2: Dark Waters All of these ga...
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The DTOID Show: Orbis, SimCity 5, and Max Payne 3!


Mar 28
// Tara Long
Evening, my lovelies. We've got a great show for you today - one full of flowers, pony rides, butterscotch candies, and all the video game news you could ever want!* On today's show, Max dove into some rumors about the next ...
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ESRB censors the red on Risen 2 box art


Mar 28
// Jim Sterling
The ESRB has made Deep Silver remove a red stain from Risen 2: Dark Waters' box art. This stain will go from red to turquoise, owing to the North American rating board's stance on cover imagery that could represent blood.&nbs...
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More piratey goodness in latest Risen 2: Dark Waters vid


Mar 27
// Conrad Zimmerman
The gang at Deep Silver sure do have a flair for the dramatic when it comes to their trailers, as evidenced once again by the most recent promotional video for Risen 2: Dark Waters. There's so much intrigue and adventure sug...

Preview: What to expect from Risen 2's Treasure Isle DLC

Mar 19 // Maurice Tan
Risen 2: Dark Waters - Treasure Isle (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: Piranha BytesPublisher: Deep SilverRelease: April 27, 2012 (PC); May 22, 2012 (consoles) Treasure Isle offers the chance to hunt down the lost treasure of Captain Steelbeard, who left clues to its hidden location in his diary. The problem is, Steelbeard's diary is missing some pages, and Risen 2 being an RPG, you'll have to traverse the world to find them first. Rather than simply adding another island to the game for a self-contained quest, Treasure Isle's quest line integrates itself into the main game, for the most part. Clues are found on islands you can visit throughout the game proper, and you'll only need the DLC to find them. Because of Risen 2's open world nature, you can always go back to these locations later on if you want to pursue the quest line and search for clues at another time. The search for each clue involves a sub-quest, complete with dialogue, walking around, and hacking and slashing your way through scurvy dogs (and gorillas). After spending about half an hour with one of these sub-quests while getting the hang of the controls, these quests appeared to be pretty fleshed out and far from a throwaway last-minute addition. If you've played any sidequest in a Western RPG like Fallout 3 or The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim in recent years, you probably know what to expect. Once you finally make your way to the eponymous island of treasure, the diary pages you've found throughout the quest line also offer tips for how to survive the traps that were left behind to keep unworthy landlubbers away. The diary is essentially a treasure map idea in book form, which makes you feel a bit like Dr. Jones figuring out the traps guarding the Holy Grail in The Last Crusade. At one point the effect of dialogue and choice in Risen 2 presented itself at an ancient temple, where the guardian of a shiny object offers you a choice. You can listen and offer to help this guardian in return for the artifact, opening up yet another quest in the process, or you can just ignore him, yank the artifact and make a run for it. Doing the latter unleashes all kinds of undead horrors as you try to escape and find your way back to the light of day, but that's the pirate life for you. Treasure Isle's boast of containing about 5 hours of content is quite a large one, but it's not hard to believe you'll end up spending that amount of time with it. Travelling the world to find all the diary pages looked like it would be of the same quality as the main game, and the amount of exploration, dialogue, and action for all the sub-quests that make up the quest for Steelbeard's treasure should make for a lengthy adventure. It looked like Piranha Bytes wanted to offer their fans a little something extra, and perhaps ended up with a lot more than they planned for, but it felt like the DLC won't detract from the main game while simultaneously offering more things to do and more jungles to explore. As for the main game, I was pleasantly surprised with how good it looked and how far Piranha Bytes has come since showing it at gamescom last year. It felt like a proper pirate adventure set in the wilderness of mostly unexplored islands, with a well-executed atmosphere adding to the joyful sense of exploration. Playing a PC build with an Xbox 360 controller, it was easy enough to get into it without having played the original Risen on either platform, and the UI and inventory management seemed fitting for console play without being overly simplified for the PC crowd. Plus, you can use parrots to distract enemies in encounters, or use a little monkey to scout ahead and enter small spaces. Since some of you were wondering about it in previous Risen 2 posts, I asked Deep Silver why the protagonist wears his eye patch the way he does; the strap going over the nose and under his ear. While it was mostly a decision of art direction to make it like that, in the game itself you'll notice that the protagonist actually has multiple straps that bind the eye patch to his head. You don't want to lose it in combat, after all. So, that's another one of life's mystery's solved! The Treasure Isle DLC will be available to anyone who pre-orders the game, regardless of region and platform. For once, Europe doesn't get the shaft.
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"Aaaargh!" is an exclamation often associated with pre-order and "day one" bonus downloadable content. You end up with an extra character, skin, or a weapon or two, often followed by Internet outcry when some of that content ...

Preview: Swashbuckling and rum drinking in Risen 2

Feb 13 // Steven Hansen
Risen 2: Dark Waters (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Previewed], PC) Developer: Piranha Bytes Publisher: Deep Silver Release: April 24, 2012 Risen 2 begins with its nameless hero washed up on an island and needing to prove himself as a pirate in order to captain a ship. In this way, it opens up more linearly than its predecessor, allowing the player to get their bearings and organically figure out the mechanics, as opposed to being dumped in a wide open world without any direction. Once the nameless hero acquires a ship, the game opens up entirely, with six different islands to explore at the player’s leisure. They’re not one and done affairs, either, as quests will bring you to different bits of the island or new abilities will allow access to previously blocked off sections. The ship serves as a hub, much like the Normandy of the Mass Effect series; there is no actual sailing in the game. The crew rest aboard the ship as well, with one mate ready to tag along whenever the captain wishes. The crew mates are specialized, thus making particular members useful for certain segments of the game. Additionally, members can be used to cover any deficiency in the way you build the hero.[embed]221630:42670[/embed] Sticking true to its western RPG philosophy, there are a lot of different ways to customize your character. Superficially, you can dress him up in a variety of clothing or fanciful hats. More importantly, however, he can be built to accommodate a variety of play styles, from the swashbuckling swordsman to the ranged gunman to the subversive voodoo practitioner. Within these groups of abilities there is more divergence. For example, choosing whether to focus on slashing or piercing swords, or choosing to augment the main character with an adeptness in alchemy, which would allow you to gather herbs and the like to distill your own rum. Oh, yes, rum. This is a pirate game after all. Rum is the game’s healing item, and equally useful in greasing up a drunkard for information or help. The first thing I did during my hands-on with Risen 2 was talk with a tippler about getting fresh water loaded to my ship so I could shove off. A bit of rum made this charming, already intoxicated drudge quite chummy, and he informs me that his boss, Butch, is keeping them from loading water, in accordance with some embargo -- though he couldn’t quite pronounce embargo in his drunker slurs. Conversations are fully voiced and rife with crude piratical jargon, delightful accents, and loads of swear words, all of which is rather charming. It’s also important to listen to the dialogue, as there are things you might be told that are important, but the game won’t explicitly highlight them for you. From the drunkard’s dialogue, for example, I learned there was a desolate, near off cave I could trick Butch into going to with me. Mentioning the cave and insinuating that it might be treasure-filled was one of a bunch of dialogue options, but the only among that group that yielded the desired result, which was a mano a mano sword fight with Butch -- and I didn’t even have to kill him before he gave up! Reloading the save and talking to the drunkard further also opened up the idea of using voodoo to get my way, an option available because the nameless hero had sided with the natives prior to my hands-on. I went to talk to Butch, distracted him, and pilfered a strand of bead hair. With it and a few other items, I made a voodoo doll, which I then used to assume direct control of Butch and bark orders at the filthy layabouts to load water onto my ship. With the rest of my time with Risen 2, I mostly wandered about the island, exploring and fighting all manner of nasty little creatures. Thankfully, the game’s inventory does away with encumbrance and let me scavenge to my heart’s content. I don’t know why I got so much joy out of seeing a coconut on the floor and picking it up, but I did. The combat felt somewhat stilted, as one might expect from an RPG. Playing with the cutlass-clad swashbuckler, I was mostly locking onto enemies and hacking away at them, as well as using the kick command to deliver a nice boot to the face. Also at your disposal is the aptly named “Dirty Trick.” Limited by a recharge time, these can give you an edge in battle. While the one that involved pulling out a pistol and shooting your adversary between sword swipes was deviously fun, my favorite has to be the parrot, which you can send out to temporarily disorient and annoy enemies. This can either render one threat in a group helpless, evening the numbers, or it can be used to distract an enemy while you flee. While the pirate world in and of itself has me excited, the little hints of personality and charm in the game have me the most excited. At one point, I pulled out my handy voodoo stick and made two gorillas fight each other, allowing me to slip by unnoticed. At another, I found myself being chased down river by a voracious, snapping crocodile. There’s even an adorable pocket monkey, which you assume direct control over and can use to scout an area, get into tight spaces, or steal things. Risen 2 has a lot of traditional PC RPG aspects, yet its abandonment of the medieval setting that has become so ubiquitous makes it feel surprisingly fresh. The lush, tropical environments are pleasingly vibrant, made more dynamic by some nice mood lighting and the day and night cycle. The characters are crass, affable, and oftentimes humorous -- it’s a nice break from stuffy fantasy dialogue. Everything about Risen 2: Dark Waters just feels so adventurous. I really hope my positive experience with the game is indicative of the final product, because I could really use a new, good pirate game.
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Pirates -- the swashbuckling sort -- are pretty great. Videogames are pretty great too; the good ones, anyway. For some unfathomable reason, these two things don’t come together as frequently as I would like. Fortunatel...

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Risen 2: Dark Waters gets a really epic teaser trailer


Aug 10
// Jim Sterling
Here's a really nice teaser trailer for Risen 2: Dark Waters. This minute-and-a-bit of footage is more exciting than anything I found in my first (and only) hour of the first game. So, that's a good start! I'm pretty keen on...
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Have some bright n' breezy Risen 2 screens


May 12
// Jim Sterling
It's nice to see a dark fantasy RPG that isn't so ... dark. I'm really digging the sunny screenshots for Risen 2, and it's also great to see that the twisted monster design from the first game is still intact.  The first...

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