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Risen 2 Preview

Risen 2

We were given the opportunity to take a look at Risen 2: Dark Waters, the sequel to Piranha Bytes 2009 release Risen. The original Risen was faced with mixed opinions, varying based on what system it was played with. Even then, the game was a very solid RPG with a rather large emphasis on exploration among other things. The Risen 2 we were given to play was an early build of the game that ended at the build up to a rather major fight. This being said, it was incomplete and it wouldn't be surprising to find certain things discussed here changed or altered in the final release. Risen 2 starts off a couple years after the first game in the city of Caldera where the Inquisition is still working on defeating the titans and are unable to get significant supplies due to a Kraken constantly destroying incoming ships. This bundled with a pirate war raging on and magical artifacts floating around it doesn't look good for anyone no matter where they stand in the conflict. The protagonist makes a return from the original game however, he seems to have slipped into a bad place, involving large amounts of alcohol. After a ship is destroyed and an old friend is among the few survivors the player sets off to find a way to kill the one controlling the kraken.

Risen 2

With limited time to actually experience Risen 2's story it needs to be said that it seems pretty solid. How certain parts of the story are accomplished can be decided entirely by the player. This goes more for the abundant side quests but is at least partially valid for the main quest line. If the play style chosen is more rushing in sword drawn that's always a valid option although not always the best. It actually gets rather interesting due to the fact that NPC's do not repeat any of their dialogue, excluding a few situations. So unlike RPG's that like Fallout (purely for example) there isn't the option to go through lines of dialogue over and over again. It forces a sense of role-playing that gets much more interesting once the player understands that there is no hand-holding to be found here. There are no paths lit to follow to the goal, there isn't anything saying exactly what to do, and there sure isn't an easy button. It's just the player, and the NPC telling you where the general location is. It's up to the player to do some path finding on their own, to determine how and where they need to go. Paying attention is paramount, and could be a turn off for some players who traditionally like to skip through the in-game dialog. Certain environments are even littered with random traps that may be run over and require quickly dodging out of the way. These are completely hidden from view, and constantly keep players on their toes. Exploring is as fun as it is potentially dangerous.

Risen 2

Before we get to combat of Risen 2 it's best to mention that our experience with the combat will be completely different than yours. It was suggested to not play on hard due the difficulty of the game. Needless to say we accepted that challenge and managed to beat it with minimal troubles but this is not recommended by anyone. Risen 2 is without a doubt a very difficult game until some time has been spent practicing. The combat, while rather simple at the start, can advance into more complex mechanics and includes melee, ranged, and a few other dirty tricks. Simple sword-play is what we had time to focus on during our time with the game. It's a rather tricky system on the harder difficulty, requiring parry's and constant attacks to make sure the enemies don't get a lucky hit in. Dirty tricks focuses on, well, dirty tricks. Throwing sand in your enemies face or anything involving the player getting the upper hand. Lastly we have ranged combat involving guns or "thunder sticks" as the "savages" choose to call them. This was the one that we didn't really try out the best we could have. There is the ability to equip a pistol to the characters off-hand and fire it during combat but for the most part it was inaccurate though that's most likely due to the minimal effort put into it. Even with all of these abilities combat ended up being power attack after power attack until the enemies fell over. Focusing more on use of dirty tricks in the long run may work in the players' favor.

Risen 2

Sneaking, stealing, and talking out of situations is also a perfectly acceptable option. Putting points into these allow you to sneak without being seen, pick locks, and even get an animal to do the dirty work if that's how you'd like to play. Sadly not much time was spent with these outside of the silver-tongue skill and learning how to pick locks. There are numerous locked chests all over the place just waiting to be opened and having that is pretty darn nice.

Risen 2

Lastly on the combat, there is a voodoo ability. This wasn't available until near the end of the available game so we didn't experience much outside of making a doll to control NPC's. They do anything the player wants (while adopting their unique skill set like thieving for example) but they can not be forced to draw their sword for combat. It's a rather cool feature and the only problem was not attempting to experience more of it before finishing. All told, Risen 2 is looking to be an extremely competent game. Even the graphics, which weren't discussed here, are perfectly find except for a few minor hiccups which more than likely will be fixed by the final release. With around two months still left until the games release there's a lot of time for them to make the game better. The game is challenging without being horribly difficult and role playing is encouraged. Even in this early build we couldn't find anything we'd consider wrong with and look forward to its full release in the future.

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