Published by Deep Silver and developed by Piranha Bytes, Risen 2 is pirating themed RPG sequel to Risen and it comes available on PC, PS3 and XBOX 360. Now I love pirates so this game was right up my street, and I can promise you there’ll be lots of rum, sword fights and treasure. However I can also tell you there will be problem after problem after problem. I’m not saying it’s a bad game, but it could be better made. For the purpose of this review I played the game on XBOX 360 so my experiences may differ to those playing on other systems.
So let’s start with the story of the game which I really enjoyed playing through; it is set several years after the end of the first game in the series and since the Gods left the world humanity has taken huge losses due to a war with the titans which it seems they cannot win. The Inquisition and pirates are not willing to work together to stop the titan menace so it is left to you, the hero, to go undercover and following rumours that may or may not be true, find a mighty weapon that can demolish the titan’s Kraken and turn the tides of war in your favour. Along the way you’ll find new allies, fight monstrous enemies, trade goods with merchants and complete many quests that will reveal to you where you must go next to complete your mission; oh and how could I forget you can drink lots of rum too, the only thing any true pirate needs.
Now the game is not bad at all, it does some things well and others really bad, so to get it out of the way I’ll just talk about all the negatives now. Firstly and this is just a tiny thing, but the voice acting is terrible, each character has a monotone voice that just shows no emotion what so ever, they could find out their mum has just died and they’d sound exactly the same as if they’d been told they’ve won the lottery. It doesn’t help that at the scripts seem to be poorly written too, though I assume that is just because pirates are usually drunk and can’t string two sentences together. The tutorial isn’t great either, it’ll tell you what a few buttons do but nothing really gets explained, maybe it would ruin the game if it went too in depth but still it could’ve definitely given the player a little more guidance.
In addition when walking around the map you can get stuck; that’s right stuck, I was walking through the jungle trying to track down some escaped slaves (or involuntary workers as some like to call them) and I got stuck between some rocks. Now every game usually saves save often, but I just can never be bothered and let the auto-save feature do it unless I’m quitting the game, so to get out of this situation I had to reload a point in the game 20 minutes previous to which the same thing happened to me again. That was 40 minutes wasted because I couldn’t move, so take my warning and if you don’t want to track back every few minutes SAVE OFTEN.
Other things such as the graphics were poor at times but then the game made up for it in different sections like the cut scene at the beginning where you see the Kraken sink a supply ship which just looked epic. The general movement is static and not very fluid, plus the fighting moves are pretty repetitive too. It’s pretty much the same slow and stiff, slashing and poking motion when you fight; though over time you can upgrade your skills and this will improve, it is just very costly to do and can take a while. Especially when you need honour (XP as most games call it) to upgrade most things, but you can’t kill things in the first place to get honour because you aren’t strong enough yet, so you end up killing defenceless monkeys and turkeys. The more annoying thing about killing turkeys though is when you scavenge their body and you pick up chicken. Now I’m no Gordon Ramsay, but I am pretty sure Chicken and Turkey are two different things.
Anyway negatives aside we can now move onto the better bits of the game; for people like me it benefits to explore the open maps as you can often find hidden chests that hold useful items and gold or you can come across hidden caves where you can find special items that when used add to your attributes. If you don’t like exploring then in all honestly you’re not a real pirate are you! Exploring the game also makes it more difficult because you will constantly find yourself in situations where an enemy will appear who is much stronger than yourself and retreat is the only option, if you can be quick enough anyway, if not you’ll pretty much just end up as food for ghoul, giant crabs, jaguars and massive cave spiders.
Trying to think of other positives but nothing is really coming to mind right now so I’ll talk about the clothes. They are well designed outfits and really add some quality to the game, plus find certain pieces of clothing and it can increase your attributes, as an example you can become more persuasive or intimidating which opens up more speech options when talking to some characters, leading to different outcomes. However clothes come at a high price if you go about getting things the right way and buying them from characters, but you can always sneak into someone’s house or a soldier’s barracks at night and steal from them saving you a pretty penny here and there.
I suppose another positive is that the controls are easy to navigate; movement is the usual analogue sticks’ and fighting only really requires you to lock on to your enemy with the left trigger (which you need to do to parry attacks) and press X to attack them, occasionally pulling the right trigger to use your secondary weapon. The secondary weapons will vary, and different weapons may suit your fighting style; you can choose to have a trusty pistol at your side which if you land a shot can do some real damage, or if you prefer to fight dirty you can grab a handful of sand and throw it into the enemies face to temporarily blind them.
The amount of gameplay itself is good as well because unlike some games that you can complete in a day, it took me well over 24 hours of cumulative game time to finish because you have five islands to explore and plenty of side missions to keep you going. Plus if you get the add-on packs the adventure just continues. Unfortunately I have the code to download The Air Temple add-on pack but my XBOX live is playing up so I haven’t been able to download it yet. Once I do though I’ll review that for you guys as well.
So overall it isn’t a bad game but it never made me go yo-ho-ho. I mean it has its problems but that can be washed away with a few bottles of rum. I really enjoyed the story, though the voice acting and the stiffness of characters could be worked on a little. Still you don’t get many pirate games available that are this fun to play, so if you think of yourself as a bit of a swash-buckling pirate who seeks adventure, pillaging villages and searching for treasure then this game is definitely worth it. If you don’t enjoy exploring foreign lands, thieving from people and getting drunk then you will probably find this game a little too hard because playing things by the book doesn’t always end well.
Buy it for as little as £19.99 on
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.