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publisher: Deep Silver
developer: Piranha Bytes
PIV 2000, 1GB RAM, 5GB HDD, 256MB video card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Oct 02, 09
|» All About Risen on ActionTrip|
Piranha Bytes is one of those developers we like to hold in high regard no matter how many cock-ups they had over the years. The reason we think they're a capable team is because of the original Gothic and Gothic 2. On the other hand, Gothic 3 proved to be too ambitious and a failed attempted to make a stand in an era dominated by open-world RPGs the likes of Oblivion. Gothic 3 was huge, but ended up being too huge for its own good. Not to mention the constant interruptions players had to face due to an enormous amount of bugs. Eventually, Piranha Bytes didn't get the chance to make it up with Gothic 4. JoWood handed that one over to developer Spellbound, who are currently working on Arcania: A Gothic Tale. With that project in the works, Piranha Bytes started a completely new game - Risen.
I simply have to shoot that rose bush. It's getting on my nerves.
Let me introduce you to my bad-ass sword.
Similarly to earlier Gothic games, you control a nameless hero with no backstory except that he was a stowaway aboard a ship that got caught in a massive storm. Shipwrecked on the shores of an unknown island, our hero sets off into the wilderness in the hope of finding shelter from the unyielding storm.
The crucial thing to keep in mind regarding this game is that it takes a long time to get going, both story wise and gameplay wise. Until the hero reaches a certain skill level, there's a fair chance gamers could turn away from the experience. Some rather annoying technical problems are present. To begin with, the AI can be dumb or at times being completely unresponsive. This doesn't happen too often, but when it does it certainly kills the sense of accomplishment players will be looking for when encountering enemies. The symptom stretches across the entire main campaign and may be experienced sporadically during gameplay. Other bugs include collision problems with NPC and enemy models disappearing behind walls, the main character jamming in mountain crevices and between rock formations. We've noticed errors on quest maps (the location of key objectives sometimes vanish from the map).
Again, regardless of its flaws, Risen has the tendency to reel you in with numerous interesting and challenging quests, simple and intuitive character development, and most importantly, plenty of choices. The player can choose to side with various factions within the game world, each with its benefits and drawbacks. It's possible to go down the path of magic or choose the way of the warrior (i.e. fighter - specializing in ranged and melee weapons). The situation gets even better once you get the hang of the combat. At first it may seem a bit clunky, (another element Risen inherits from its spiritual predecessor, Gothic) although in time it gets quite engaging. The combat mechanics actually make each fight tough, but immensely fun.
Risen still lacks so many aspects that would put it straight among triple-A games we're used to nowadays. Visually, it cannot compete with some of the games out there, albeit it has some gorgeous areas to behold; plus it works smoothly even on weaker systems.
It will take you about 1 hour of gameplay to figure out that Risen isn't just similar to Gothic - it IS Gothic. Seriously, everything from exploration, quest structure, combat mechanics and character development was taken from the basics of Gothic. Okay, these are the creators of Gothic after all, so it does make sense and it's definitely not a bad thing, most especially if you consider yourself a Gothic fan. If you have never played a Gothic game before, this is your chance to dive into a world that's very similar.
8.1 Very Good
Quests, potions, items, spells, skills, swords, shields, bows and arrows, basically everything you want out of a solid RPG, looks great at times, gameplay is engaging overall;
There are a lot of bugs, still none of them manages to ruin the experience too much, Risen needs more work in the story department and combat mechanics.