Risen 2: Dark Waters – review
Risen 2: Dark Waters is another game created by Piranha Bytes, which unfortunately repeats the same mistakes as the Gothic series and the first Risen. You’d think that the creators are doing it on purpose and treat these inaccuracies as their trademark. If so, they’d better stop.
Piranha Bytes is specialized in one type of games – RPG with an interesting and original story. However, I sometimes think that they should simply do design and scenario part of the game and hire someone else to do the rest. The Gothic trilogy (although a great and still extremely playable) is tormented by tons of bad solutions, errors and problems of a technical nature. After the conflict with Jowood about the production of the third Gothic, they decided to create a completely new brand, which resulted in Risen. On the one hand, the game is very similar to the Gothic in terms of climate. It placed player in a mismatched world where magic, technology and pirate legends dwelt with each other. It came out well and the result was used as the basis for Risen 2.
It consistently immerses into climate of pirates and this is one of the biggest advantages of this production. The plot is about 30-40 hours long, with quite a large number of side quests. Unfortunately, only a small part of them is original and interesting. Some of the missions have an alternate path to the target, which gives some sense of the impact of what is happening on the screen.
The game world has been created in an ingenious way, and there can be found almost everything that might be associated with a pirate island. In addition, the freedom of action is not limited by anything – as in all previous games of this developer. Nay, the player has its own ship, with the help of which you can travel between the islands, although it was present even in a DLC to Two Worlds II: Pirates of the Flying Fortress.
Risen 2 is a game of pirate, so fencing and tricks in the fight are a must. There is a melee weapon, which is certainly not the easiest to use, as well as firearms, which are – just like in real life – much more deadly. Fights are spectacular and do not rely solely on just swinging the sword. Everything is based on the character development system, which allows you to select your preferred style of fighting. The game contains also magic in form of voodoo, which allows, for example, to control an NPC – not only during combat.
As far as the heavenly views with exotic plants and sandy beaches may please, it’s all the rest that breaks the whole game. And, to be clear – I’m talking only about the version on the consoles. The character models are from 2007. The behaviour of the camera is also archaic. If not for a wide variety of animations, then I’d be convinced that I play some kind of modification for the third Gothic. But wait … After all, this is the same engine, just after alterations. Developers for more than 10 years failed to take over the technology, which they used to create more and more games with the same bugs and did not come up with the idea to create a new engine or switch to something proven. This resulted in a really bad optimization or unreadable fonts.
Risen 2: Dark Waters is a 6 out of 10. It is an unfinished game that is the outcome of a few bad decisions. A really addictive and approachable pirate atmosphere is not enough. The game will not be saved by a great soundtrack which, after all, you can listen to on the Internet. Hardcore fans of the Gothic series, who had recently replayed any of Piranha Bytes games will certainly treat Risen 2 with greater distance. But in an era when on the shelf you can find games like TES V: Skyrim, The Witcher 2, Mass Effect 3 or Deus Ex: Human Revolution it is difficult to appreciate a game, which is just underdeveloped.