RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Risen 2: Dark Waters

Genre: RPG
Release Date: April 24th 2012
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Score: 7/10
Similar Titles: Risen 1, Gothic, Sacred

Our courageous nameless hero.

I shall promptly begin my review of Risen 2 with a rant. Why? Because the combat is inherently broken. From the slightly annoying draw/sheathe system to the incredibly stupid parry idea, the fighting mechanics are a frustrating wall every player will have to overcome.  A developer should not continue creating their title when such a core concept is not functioning desirably. Alas, the challenge I seek in a game was found through battling various badly designed mechanics that made it barely playable.

Not many people can stand progressing through a game that constantly tries to make you quit, but when I persevered through the early stages I really feel I got my money's worth back, a little anyway. So if you like RPGs, pirates, and dying too much, Risen 2 has plenty to offer.

Those are ghouls. Ghouls are scary.

Everything in the story is a continuation of the first Risen. Same nameless hero, same Inquisition douchebags, in fact the only thing missing is the quirks that made the first Risen stand out. I digress- the game is brilliant, just lacking in polish.

This time around the goddess Mara is scourging the seas, whilst other titan gods are tearing shit up elsewhere. Your role as the sharp talking, eyepatch toting, rum fiend is save the world- again. Because some wench is telling you to, again. Despite this obvious plot hole that dictates a bad ass pirate shouldn't be somebody's bitch, the story is somewhat captivating, although I still skip through a lot of the less interesting dialogue. The objective of the game is to find and collect four Titan weapons, which will provide the strength to kill that bitch Mara, since nobody else has the balls to do it.

Hero, Patty and her father Steelbeard search for the titan weapons.

As you progress through the game as the Nameless hero, you will have to make multiple decisions that somewhat impact the course of the game. These choices dictate what crew member you will obtain, or who will win the climactic battle between two factions. Risen 2 is very plot driven, everything revolves around taking down Mara and the main quest line. It's a good idea to think about how you want to deal with problems, otherwise it might come back to bite you in the ass later. Overall the story is thoroughly enjoyable- and in my personal opinion extremely well paced. Being a douchebag of a pirate has never been more possible.

The story in combination with the gameplay is what brings me to address my love/hate relationship with Risen 2. My first hours playing this game gave me that feeling of being overwhelmed. So many opportunities, with a delightful cast of pirate and inquisition characters to suit my tastes. I felt as if the game had so much potential. However as you progress through the story and start to earn enough money to make expensive purchases and learn some awesome abilities, that feeling of being overwhelmed fades away; the lack of polish and frustrating combat slowly starts to become more prevalent.

Gave that bitch a gunshot, bitches love gunshots.

Combat is definitely fun at times, and when you earn enough cash to buy some good equipment and powerful skills there is a fair amount of depth to battles. However, constant quicksaving every minute is a must. Unless you want to get murdered fairly frequently, that is. I am not one to back away from a challenge, which is certainly not an ideal approach to playing this title. Some enemies you encounter earlier on are nigh impossible to beat. That did not stop me trying, and I must have spent hours fighting various monsters that have unpredictable attack patterns and can take you down if you make a single mistake. Hence, it is a logical idea to back down with humility and come back later when posed with an opponent that you can't beat.

Fighting a human opponent armed with a sword is balanced and you have to time swings to land fluently unless you want to eat several slashes to the face. Sword combat is sensational and has the aura of a real duel. Blocking is the most effective technique, parrying attacks will buy you time to look for a chance to strike back. Guns also play a fairly large part of winning an engagement- firing a shot off dishes out a chunk of damage equivalent to several sword combo attacks. Ultimately, fighting humans is satisfying and can test you skills to a certain degree.

The titan spear, harder to aim than it should be.

Fighting an animal or monster enemy will try your patience beyond belief. Apparently, it's impossible to block or parry something that doesn't have a sword, so you have to spend your time using a pseudo dodge skill that is actually your jumping mechanic. Yes, that's correct. The rolling dodge ability from the first game has been replaced with a pathetic jump.

Unbelievably, I found warfare in this game quite entertaining, single player RPG games never provide me with such a challenge, intentionally or not. Spending an hour fighting a simple Jaguar over and over wouldn't happen on Skyrim or Dragon Age.

Mara, the witch that you must hunt. Pretty much a mermaid on steroids.

Exploring the world on Risen 2 will deliver some of this titles greater aspects. Dialogue is fairly well voiced, the NPC characters all seem to be akin to swearing incessantly. There are a lot of people to talk to and a seemingly endless amount of side quests to be found. Role players will definitely get into the spirit if they like hearty pirate antics.

Searching for plunder and booty is also fun enough, with plenty of loot and rum to find. The game is well paced; you find just the right amount to keep you going and make some hard decisions on what skills to buy. Attributes are implemented in an easy to understand manner, with five main skill trees- Blades, Firearms, Toughness, Cunning and Voodoo.

There are some pretty big battles to fight, obviously with pirates.

You can learn a fair few abilities from trainers for money, an example being how to kick enemies to knock them off balance. You need to consider building your character carefully, because some bad guys are so unforgiving; the wrong archetype setup might make it impossible to win. Training a monkey is clearly awesome and you should do it as soon as possible just to be awesome.

I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around which is an incredible occurrence- I usually despise the boring parts in between combat and plot advancement. However, Risen 2 just captivates my attention flawlessly. Ultimately this game is really worth the purchase if you can deal with some incredibly frustrating dysfunctional mechanics and a lack of polish. These buns were taken out of the oven prematurely.

This boss isn't completely generic and utterly cliche.

For those of you that enjoyed Risen 1, you may be disappointed. This game is definitely missing some major overhauls that would take it the RPG history category. However, it doesn't deserve all the critical evaluation and negativity that many reviews have displayed. I just feel the final product was introduced badly- the developers should have done a final polish to smooth out all the prevalent issues.

The scenery truly is spectacular.

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