Risen is one of those games that has so much content that your brain can automatically implode in the mere thought of what could possibly be done first. Thankfully their are plenty of people that can appreciate this and are less found of a more linear approach to RPG’s, AKA a blockbuster title that came out recently … This is also because it is a port of a PC RPG but in any concern what do you get from this game you may ask? An open world RPG that the thought of untying your shoe laces will spiral you into an unforgiving path of evil and destruction. This is not true but their are enough choices to see where I’m getting at.
In a world where humans are in an ever growing war, your ship is attacked at sea and capsizes onto shore of a mysterious island. Unlike other RPG’s their is no clear path to go here. A simple set of instructions on what maybe your mission and players will need to make their move on what do to next. On one hand it does feel like the game leaves you high and dry at first but becomes rewarding when you yourself have discovered the next point you need to make on your own. We were pretty surprised to see how opened ended this was, walking through the forest to uncover passage ways, and going through caves to uncover items, etc. At first glance it may not seem huge, one big castle, town and a few smaller villages but rest assured that the land is vast across the entire game.
Making your way to any section on the island seems to be a commitment of sorts. Entering the harbor town almost feels like a game within a game, which btw you will need to pay to get in and warned that you will not be able to leave. The NPC’s (non playable character) in town are down, poor and outright nasty at times, you will definitely feel like the recession has hit its tole here. The harbor town is one of the many areas that you can learn skills through your progression, like pick-pocketing, selling of wares, combat and jobs. The time that can be spent completing quests and gaining information in this time would seem like a life time.
Moral choice is a key factor in this game, performing actions that are taken lightly in other RPG’s can’t be said here. Trying to enter an NPC’s house to open a treasure chest will leave you undesirable to say the least as you’ll most likely get attacked by the guard and home owner. Attacking or even killing some one can have permeant effects in the area you are in. While plenty of choices will surround you, there isn’t much to choose from the alliances that can be joined. There are only two factions to be apart of, the Order or the Rebellion which is how it sounds. If you are not apart of the ever growing Order, controling most the land then you are part of the Rebellious. More then one way can throw you on either side, sometimes unexpectedly.
Your inventory unlike other games is pretty much unlimited here, definitely something that we can get used to as loot drops like rain in the game. The armor that you choose to wear defines your actions and how you will be treated by characters. Different skills can be learned with different weapons, an Axe, a sword and staff are some of the few. If becoming a mage is a class you might desire then the Order is the faction for you, gaining skills by ranking up in training.
NPC’s are fully voiced and delightfully not painful to listen to, key characters do sound better but overall a nice touch. The music is actually very soothing as well and give that open world or MMO feel (sort of like Lineage II). Everything from sword swinging, ambient noise, NPC’s, and creatures sound great here.
Being that this game is a PC port somethings do not translate as well onto the Xbox 360. One being combat, while not entirely bad, seems very awkward. Another are the graphics and take a hit in this version as lighting effects and overall textures are taken a step down from its PC predecessor. Lastly is the games inability to give you a direct path or tutorial on said missions, skills, weapons or classes. Hardcore gamers are more forgiving in these types of scenarios.
Overall the quality of Risen is something all developers need to take a look at. Building your character opens new possibilities and doors, making traveling a breeze. While combat can be structured better and the degrade of graphics won’t catch everyone, their is just plenty to do in this game. The level of character engagement, choices to make and the ever changing mood are all its greatest strength. For many players their might be to much but it is worth a look at if you want your RPG to stretch for weeks on end.
[starreviewmulti id=2 tpl=20]
Overall = 7.9