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Risen Pc Review

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I've been on a RPG mode for a couple of weeks now, and since I'd already played Oblivion to death, I thought I'd try this game, Risen. I didn't read too much into it before I got it other than it was similar to the Gothic series (made by the same devs, I guess) and I've heard a lot of positive things about Gothic 2...


Risen is all that I love in a RPG. You literally start out with nothing, as nothing (weak and basically defenseless) washed up on shore after your ship is destroyed by a water titan (you'll learn about those as you play the game). You then have to fight for survival and choose where you want to go from there.


The only other survivor is a woman named Sara, which serves as a helpful tutorial NPC giving you small "quests" such as "Let's get something to eat, I'm starving" and moving through the jungle on the island you washed up on. After getting Sara somewhere safe, you proceed to move inland and find out what is going on and where you are. I love that feeling the first time you play a game where you have no idea what is going on... You can never get it back once you finish the game, and that is sad.


After some fights with sea vultures and overly sized spikey rodents, you find that the island is inhabited by humans, and thus your questing begins.


Starting out is hard, since you basically have no skills, but as you level up, you can guide your character to be what you want... either a magical/mage character by joining (or being drafted by) the Order of the Holy Flame, or becoming more of a rogue/thief/fighter by joining a band of bandits in the swamps. Mind you, there is only 1 town on the island, but the island itself is HUGE. And there are no loading periods between when you start, and entering in buildings or crossing from one end of the island to the other... Everything is seamless. Basically, if you see a landmark from where you are, you can get to it somehow. The whole island is available for your exploration. Later in the game, you get teleportation stones that allow you to magically transport yourself around the island, which by chapter 3, you've already scoured most of it already...


I did have problems with memory leaks using the highest graphical settings, but turning the draw distance down and turning textures to Medium eliminate any stutters, and it also didn't affect the look of the game at all. Overall, this game was mostly bug-free, with only a few special instances where I had people stuck fighting invisible enemies that weren't there.


The graphics are incredible in this game. There are no load periods other than if you quicksave/load or first start the game, which beats Oblivion in that every time you entered a building, it had to load. I turned off Depth of Field in mine simply because it blurred the backgrounds, which I didn't prefer...


Here are some screenshots from the game, though you get a better idea of some of the effects playing it:


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Full day/night time sequences, also has rain effects, all really well done. The screenshots do not do this justice.

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The environments you play through are nice and varied.. Overall has a medieval look, but you will on this island travel through swamps, a city/town, jungle, underground ruins/dungeons, the insides of a volcano, and a monastery.


Voice acting is very well done, as are the animal sounds and the sound of the seas, rivers, rain, etc. No complaints in the sound department.


Gameplay is nice because leveling up feels more intuitive than most RPGs. You don't simply hit harder if you study swords... You have to get points by paying people to teach you, but they show you new moves that you can do that will actually make your wild swings more efficient and stronger. You get a set amount of "learning points" ever time you level up, and you can spend those points on anything you'd like... If you want to be an archer, you focus on Archery and Dexterity. If you want to become a swashbuckling sword fighter, you spend them on strength and swordfighting... or Mages can spend them on how much mana you have to use spells and wisdom.


There are ways to increase your strength and dexterity by use of special potions, but finding the ingredients for those potions can be hard. You can learn alchemy and create your own potions, as well as learn blacksmithing to create very powerful and sharp swords. Learning these means you don't have to rely on paying people to do it for you.


I became a rogue/thief and bought skills in sneaking and lock picking, which is rather simple to do. Depending on the lock strength you'll see a series of circles at the top of your screen and you either hit the Left or Right key and figure out the sequence (ie. (L)(L)®(L)®(L)(L) ) or something similar, and if you guess wrong, sometimes your lockpick will break, so you'll have to make sure you have enough or an Open Lock spell which automatically unlocks the chest for you. My tip is to quick save before you start, so you can figure out the sequence, then quickload and just unlock it ^.^


Performing menial tasks like cooking and blacksmithing may be a bit excessive, but it gives the game some sense of realism... You are on an island, and you have to cook your meat before you eat it. Make sense. But to restore your health, eating 24 cooked steaks at a time, or standing over a water barrel sipping water a dozen times to increase your health may break the immersion.


Of course with all RPGs, everyone needs something, and everyone is too lazy to get it themselves. People will be standing around doing things, but mostly (as with all RPGs) they just stand around not moving, so it's not hard to find them if and when you need to report the success of whatever task they fling at you. You must find maps or you will be totally lost. In your quest log, if you have a map, you can select the "Quest" map and it will display a dot where your quest will take you, which is nice, but it took me a few hours to really figure that out. Quests generally don't have you going far to complete, but the main quest does take you all over the island... multiple times.... which takes up a ton of time.


Ok, so far, I've praised this game for its realism and gameplay and graphics... Now I have to vent about the negatives of this game




- Game Playing Time... My last savegame states that this game took 10 hours to beat... But that does not take into consideration all the quick loads and replaying I had to do due to dying and replaying sections of the game that were particularly hard... I would say I have about 30-40 hours invested in this game, and by the end of it, I was quite sick of it and ready to finish.


- Poor second half presentation... There are 4 chapters in this game marked by finishing main quest objectives... The first two chapters take place all over the island and you are working on exploring and leveling your character... The Third and Fourth chapters have you running all over the map to find quest items in dungeons... So the first 2 chapters were really open ended and give you a chance to explore, where the last 2 chapters are all linear dungeon crawls that are hard as hell in some instances, and very tedious.


- Travel time and realism... Ok, so it is realistic to have to walk from one place to another to get to it... The island is so huge, but it is all open to you (if you can survive the monsters) but it would have been nice to employ some sort of animal (such as a horse) to get to places faster... This isn't too big of a problem in the last 2 chapters because you get teleport stones that enable quick travel, but for the first couple of chapters, you will find yourself running all over the place, and that eats up a lot of time. There is also a "speed" spell that makes you run twice as fast, but it still takes a long time to get places without those teleport stones.


- The Ending... By the time I got to the ending of this game, I had done so many boring dungeon crawls, I just wanted the game to be over. The final Boss isn't too hard once you know what to do, but I was unimpressed by him both is scale and in difficulty... Then once you beat him, you get the main character saying "Whew" and walking away, and a narrator saying stuff over a black screen. Then Credits. For all that I've done, I would have at least liked to be able to play more afterwards... I hope they come out with a freeplay mod.


*mild spoilers*


The ending also has some unresolved plot points... Like, even though I defeated the boss at the end, it didn't make things any better off than if I hadn't even played the game to begin with, since my involvement on the island was the reason I had to deal with the end Boss to begin with!


*end spoilers*


Overall, I'd have to give this game a 7/10... The first half was engaging and fun to integrate into the game world, but the second half turned into a boring and frustrating dungeon crawl which lacked the charm the first half had.

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