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Jan 20, 2013

Risen 2: Dark Waters PC Review

Ok, so when I sit down to play a Pirahna Byte (PB) game (which I've been doing since Gothic), there are certain things I know to expect and not to expect. I expect a good story, engaging characters, lush, vibrant, cheesy, outdated graphics, caves everywhere, and lots of character/class choices with a learning curve that will have me replaying for weeks. But it seems things have changed a bit, as this game is very unclear and frustrating. Even for a PB product.

Gone are the roaming AI animals who used to stalk and prey in packs and on other packs if they crossed paths.
No more richly decorated rooms with tons of items to nick.
Gathering (herbs,items,gold) in general has been reduced
Hunting is no longer a skill and can be done through tools you buy/ find
No longer do different ores create different armors/weapons
Sneaking is incredibly easy (and strange) since people are no longer really sleeping in their beds as much as laying down waiting for morning
The npc interactions with each other is almost nil and daily activities means most npcs shops are outside their huts/houses. They never move more than 15ft from bed to work.
Most skill animations are gone (sawing, woodchopping, skinning, etc) and replaced with mini games (drinking, some sort of skee shooting)
These sort of things were kind of the 'magic' of PB games- and when removed from the game it's much less easier to forgive the some of the games very blatant shortcomings:

As for the game, well, its ambitious. The pirate themed RPG take is interesting. The backdrops are very lush and green, sunlight streaming through the canopy, many more caves that first Risen, but that unique ability to solve a quest though combat/stealth/diplomacy is also gone.
It offers some unique features like having monkey/parrots as utility pets, unfortunately I couldnt make it that far.

Combat. Plain and simple, it is terrible. Frustratingly terrible. Make you want to punch kittens terrible. Again, I will go back to my roots of Gothic and say that I had no problem using my spacebar to block even though 99% of every PC games used it for jump. This is PB, I adapted. Unfortunately you cannot adapt to a bird, a crab or any other mob in this game from stunlocking you at will. And for as long or as short as they want. You can have 100% life and a mob with 2 hits left to death can (and most likely will) turn around and hit you 8,9, 10 times in a row until you are dead. All you can do is reload and take a deep breath.
Which leads me to the games seconds biggest flaw: Leveling up, the haphazard way the trainers are thrown around and the basic overall sense of confusion when trying to build a character.
Training a weapon not only requires finding a person who trains but also that particular type of weapon. And almost all the trainers on the 2nd island are offering skills/abilities you'll never be able to learn in the given time.
So after many retries using various different build types (high DPS, high Toughness, high Cunning) I can tell you it doesnt matter what skills you raise, you're going to die. A lot. To terrible combat mechanics that you are all but powerless to stop. You cannot perch mobs and because of this HORRIBLE new idea of food regenerating at a snail's pace, you will go broke either buying drinks or the materials to make them. Keeping a party member around helps alleviate this but you shouldnt have to rely on bait to survive, and if you do they should never leave you. Unfortunately none of this excuses a lowly level 3 crab pecking a decked out level 23 pirate to death.
Maybe a patch will fix this but for now, combat is ridiculous and just silly. Still love ya PB, good luck on the next one.    
Verdict: 60/100



Details:
Genre Role-Playing
Style Third-Person 3D Action RPG
Release Date April 27, 2012
Developer Piranha Bytes GmbH
Publisher Deep Silver
Flags Downloadable Release

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