Risen 2 Dark Waters Review
Shiver me Timbers, and whatnot.
Have you ever wanted to be a real pirate, with the eye patch and everything? Now is your chance, with Piranha Bytes upcoming RPG, Risen 2: Dark Waters. While the story of the original Risen had some pirates in and around it, Risen 2 has you literally quitting your job to become a pirate. Or at least pretending to quit your job, sort of. While it hits on all of the major cliches; bearded captains, rum, sea monsters and rum, Dark Waters puts a number of different spins on classic pirate themes. Whether it will hook you, or not, may be another story. Get it? Hook?
Risen 2: Dark Waters is a non-linear Action RPG that follows a, mostly, open world format in that you’ll be limited in where you can go at times, but eventually you’ll have the run of the place. Even at the start of the game, when you’re pretty much confined to the one island you’ll still have free reign over how you play the game. There are often a number of different quests that will accomplish your goal and a number of different ways to complete each quest.
The way you play Risen 2 will depend heavily on how you build your character and you’ll have to choose wisely as this game doesn’t make it easy to be a jack-of-all-trades type. Stat points are hard to come by and fall into one of five categories, so you’ll often find yourself wondering if you should up your toughness so you can stay alive longer, or your thievery so you can finally pick some of the locks you’ve been coming across.
In fact, Risen 2 is difficult in almost every area. Not in an unfair way, simply in the fact that it doesn’t assume your character is some sort of superman. You can heal instantly by drinking rum or grog, but these are very expensive and an uncommon item to find just lying around. On top of this, your character can’t take much of a beating so you’ll have to be quick to the kill and get used to taking a defensive stance. Having a loaded pistol in your pocket helps too.
The combat is made a little more difficult by a couple of issues that crop up from time to time. For one, you can block attacks from enemies with swords but there is no way to block or dodge attacks from monsters or animals. This unbalances things a bit as there isn’t really any strategy when fighting something that isn’t human, you just have to hope you have some rum, or manage to kill them first. Next, my character loved to randomly turn to a different direct to fire his pistol. Pistols have a long recharge time and frequently miss, so this was frustrating. All in all the combat was probably the least interesting thing about Risen 2 so it makes these flaws stand out all the more.
I did, however, enjoy exploring the islands in Dark Waters. Since there is no mini map or waypoints, and most quests aren’t marked on your map you’re left following verbal direction from quest givers or simply exploring the jungle on your own. I found this gave a real sense of accomplishment when you found something interesting or completed a quest. Dark Waters may not grab you right away, but it is one of those games that will find you looking at the clock and realizing that it’s suddenly four hours later.
There are no multiplayer modes in Risen 2: Dark Waters.
The combat in Risen 2: Dark Waters is buggy and boring but it’s surrounded by a challenging game and engrossing environment. The world seems small at first but as other areas open up you’ll find out just how much there is to explore. The difficulty may scare some people off, but it will also be the element that sucks some people in. Building your character is a series of accomplishments in Dark Waters, rather than the constant march toward increased strength you get in other RPGs.