Set several years after the events of Risen, Risen 2 portrays a world ruled by the men of the seas. You begin the game as a guard in the city of Caldera, and soon discover that the legendary threat of a Kraken-like being is looming over the people there. In order to find a way to stop this destructive power, you are ejected from the military and begin a journey to become a pirate.
Risen 2 is, for lack of a better phrase, an old fashioned type of game. Whether that’s a good thing or not will probably depend on what sort of gamer you are—for some, the idea of a proper old school loot-grabbing RPG can only be a good thing.
Fans of games like The Witcher 2 or Dragon Age: Origins will likely be right at home with Risen 2, as despite being set around pirates it plays just like an RPG of that nature should. For one, it’s bloody hard, and secondly there’s shitloads of loot to pick up. That’s what makes those games interesting, and Risen 2 certainly looks like it will provide it.
That’s not to say it’s a hardcore PC RPG, however. The interface and playstyle is clearly suited to console hardware (though it works fine on PC, the platform I played the preview build on), with a third-person control scheme in place. This makes things like the combat feel a bit more involved as well, since it’s not just click here, click there, repeat ad nauseum.
Thankfully that is the case, because it seems like everything in the world wants you well and truly dead. In the preview copy there are hundreds of dangerous creatures and aggressive people all over the place. It’s not akin to something like Skyrim where dogs and rats can be brushed off—in Risen 2 every enemy requires a careful approach (read: I died over and over to pathetic enemies). If you think games these days are too easy, Risen 2 might be for you.
Risen 2, incidentally, is a beautiful place. It really is a tropical paradise, with thick jungles, rushing waterfalls, gloomy caves, ancient ruins and sandy beaches—and luckily for a game based around pirates and sea folk, the water effects were very good. I was particularly impressed with a section of jungle that has shallow water feeding aquatic plantlife and trees—very pretty.
The game also features a day/night cycle with animals and NPCs changing their behavior depending on the time of day, as well as a weather cycle with similar effects. In terms of attention to detail Risen 2 is looking solid.
The NPCs are an important part of any RPG, and thankfully they seem to be a decent bunch. The voice acting was good, though they all seem to have Spanish names but speak with random British regional accents. Why would a man named “Alessandro” have a Birmingham accent? Maybe it’s just Risen 2‘s crazy pirate universe.
From what I played of Risen 2, it seems to tick all the old school RPG boxes. I doubt it will be a game to convert non-RPG fans, but I think anyone looking for a traditional role-playing game about pirates could find something to like when the game comes out- and if you’re a console gamer looking for more of this type of game it will likely work for you too. There’s also a shitload of pirate-themed content, so perhaps if you’re just mental about sea criminals, Risen 2 will be for you.
Risen 2 is developed by Piranha Bytes and published by Deep Silver for Xbox 360, PS3, PC. It will be released on April 24, 2012 at an MSRP of $59.99. Look for our review in the coming months. Writer’s note: I did not write that silly title. Just wanted to make it clear that the men in white coats need not coming knocking for me.