Tis the Season of sequels! This year we have had sequel after sequel, everything from Spellcraft 2 to Sacred 3 and now Risen 3, the newest sequel to the long running franchise by Piranha Bytes and Deep Silver.
A good sequel should take the positive points from a game, and fix its negatives, grow on what was there and make it badass. Does Risen 3 do this?! ....No. Sorry. It’s kinda the same as its last one. Not significantly, we have an average game here, potential for greatness, but just like its last iteration, it’s let down by a few silly things.
To begin with, you aren’t really handed much in backstory, for the uninitiated you will have literally no idea what is is happening, here’s the skinny.
"After the Titan wars have ended, your character while on a quest for booty (hahaha), runs into an evil spirit and has his soul stolen, and now he’s on a quest to reclaim his spirit, while being the most badass pirate he can be."
Sounds cool right? Could be great, but this game falls sadly short on greatness, being just an average adventure with a few interesting sparks.
The game is played in a third person behind the character perspective, which fine, but it can be a little difficult when it comes to combat, more on that later. Once your character has been brought back to life you given an objective and have the ability to take on as many different quests as you like across all these different islands, only problem is you aren’t given much of an idea of how to get where you want to go or what you’ll need to do it. The world really is fleshed out and there is so much information and atmosphere in this series along with beautiful character designs, why not give us some more information on them Risen 3? People eat that shit up. As it is I feel like I’ve been dropped into Azerbaijan dressed as a leprechaun and have no clue what is going on.
So as time goes on you realise you can fulfil these quests to gain glory and make yourself stronger, there are plenty of skills on offer, but you need instructors to teach you these. This always cost money, and more money than you will ever have at any given time.
Immersion is one of the biggest things that can make or break a game, and that is one place this game fails. Don’t get us wrong, this is a beautiful game, the areas are all lush, vibrant with plant life and atmosphere, the music is fantastic, really brings a good level of immersion. But the voice acting, the god awful voice acting and the lip syncing that would make an old Bruce Lee film seem like Pride and Prejudice, it really breaks everything. Your character is brought back to life by a shaman, face paint and all, with a British accent? And now suddenly he is my best friend and fighting partner. Who the fuck are you mate?! What do you want?! It really can yank you right out of it and make you think "The Christ am I playing right now?"
And now on to combat, if you’re on an adventure, you need to feel like an adventurer, a badass. Doubly so if you’re also a pirate. But combat in this game is frankly boring. There are additional skill trees to unlock and movements into rune magic, voodoo etc, but in the early game it is a frustrating slog. Every RPG should start off like this of course, you unlock the cool shit later, but this game requires effort to really get into. One thing we will say however, killing enemies and fulfilling quests gets you glory, you use glory to level, whenever you have enough. It is quite refreshing to be able to improve yourself constantly without having to hit an arbitrary level of experience.
The original Risen games combat was basically hammering left click until something died, this time around it has been mixed up with a roll mechanic, you can roll and dodge around to avoid damage, but it is really unpolished, kudos for listening to a gripe from the previous game, but there really wasn’t enough done to fix it. If enemies are smaller than you in the third person mode, your body blocks them, you can’t spin the camera however to give you a better view, as it'll change your target, at which point that adorable monkey you were fighting now has its hands on your adorable nutsack and is using it as a flannel.
Alongside this there is no way to customise the way your character looks and feels, he’s a faceless emotionless berk, why can’t I at least make him a tall and brown emotionless berk like me? Something as little as that would really get this game some extra points.
What this all distills down to, is that Risen 3 is a lukewarm attempt at improving the flaws from the previous game, where Risen 2 had quests where you honest to goodness sold weed and had to sweep peoples houses, this game has fixed the smallest gripes which is great. The only problem is fixing the small gripes from the previous games just makes the big ones from before look even bigger. Don’t get us wrong, its not a bad game, like we said, it is beautiful, with a rich vibrant world to explore once you have learned the ropes, but time will only tell if Piranha Bytes can push forward and really make Risen the pirate RPG we all want it to be.