I’ll start my Risen 3: Titan Lords review by pointing out Piranha Bytes hasn’t got a particularly good track record when it comes to their RPG series “Risen”. Despite this they are back with Risen 3: Titan Lords and this time they are determined to get things right.
I honestly wish that they had, unfortunately for them (and for us) they’ve made all the same mistakes.
Risen 3 throws you straight into the action. Your ship is under attack from some sort of undead monsters and you need to do something fast. This acts as the game’s only real tutorial. It’s also where things start to go wrong.
The game’s fighting mechanic is incredibly simple and even more clunky. In an homage to the Fable games you hold the attack button to power up your melee strikes and attack. However you can only link together a maximum of 3 hits and the power has nothing to do with how easily these strikes can be blocked.
Your secondary weapon (a gun) can be fired at any point but it interrupts the flow of combat and the hit is based on a dice roll so it’s not guaranteed. It ends up meaning you just roll around waiting for an opening then continuously press the attack button until the enemy goes down. It leaves the combat in Risen feeling unrewarding.
Soon after you meet up with an overly busty woman who nags at you. It wasn’t until I was about 10 minutes into the game that I realised, this woman in the revealing corset is actually your sister. I don’t know why the developers decided it was necessary to turn your own sister in a sexual object but for whatever reason they did. If anything it breaks the immersion of the RPG. They should have been trying to make me feel love, not lust.
Luckily, you are soon after killed and separated from your entire crew.
This is where the game finally, and in truth, completely, opens up. It turns out dying isn’t the end of this little adventure. Here “Bones” (who is some kind of crazy magical shaman) digs you out of your shallow grave and explains a bit about what just happened.
Essentially dying has left you separated from your spirit and that has weakened you, it will also kill you if you don’t act quickly. This is a nice little segway into the RPG elements of Risen. To be honest the RPG stuff isn’t too bad. You gain experience from killing enemies and questing then you can level up your attributes anytime you have enough to do so. Its fun and its easy to see what raising certain attributes will accomplish. It’s one of the few things in the game that is well done.
The story takes a while to develop and you are gradually introduced to the shadowy enemies of the game like hell hounds and minions. However the story in Risen isn’t particularly compelling. I often found myself skipping the poorly acted story lines and its hard to care about the world around you when the story and characters are completely lackluster.
Still with Bones in tow you can set about exploring any of the five islands and in any order you see fit.
The environments in Risen are rugged and the textures look dated. The game suffers from screen tearing and from bad draw distances. The character models aren’t much better and it all just leaves the game feeling very unloved and unpolished. Which is a shame because the freedom to roam around and do whatever you want is one of Risen’s strong points, it doesn’t hold your hand and assumes you know how to play video games which is a nice change.
As you explore you meet new characters and there is plenty to keep you entertained. With a large amount of secondary quests and crafting abilities to learn Risen 3 will at the very least keep you occupied with its ‘all you can eat’ buffet of side content.
Risen 3 is game with huge ambition. It’s full of characters to meet, side quests, buried treasure and, disappointment. While it has some redeeming qualities like its freedom and leveling it’s just not enough to save Risen from missing its mark. Ultimately it’s not nearly as good as the game it set out to be.