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...
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...
Mar 19 //
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.
"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 ...
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.
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...
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...
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.