Being woken up after you have died will always be a bit strange, but then to be told that someone has messed with your soul just makes it even stranger. Best you find some clothes and sort out just what is going on…
Risen 3: Titan Lords has you returning to familiar territory and seeing so old friends and although there is still a bit of the ‘pirate’ feel to Risen 3, you will find it has returned to the more original ‘medieval’ setting of the original Risen. Now it must be said that I have a real soft spot for this style of RPG. Risen, Gothic, Two Worlds, and Dragons Dogma are some of my favourite games. All come with quite annoying bugs and have met with less than favourable reviews. So be ready for a some what bias write up. It’s not my fault you don’t have such a great taste in games as me…
Not being stuck to one style of play via a class system is something I like in any game and Risen 3 implements this very well in my opinion. Your typical melee and ranged attacks are covered by a slew of swords, maces, axes, and early firearms. Now it is the ‘magic’ that is nicely included in the setting of Risen 3 that is well thought out. Instead of some pie in the sky fire/water/earth/air system, all your spells and alchemy are based around Voodoo which is practiced by the natives of several islands in the area. Somehow it makes the system more believable, if you can ever believe turning into a parrot to cross a chasm is believable. So instead of finding scrolls lying about, it is Voodoo dolls you are after. And as usual for most RPG’s there is the the constant magical ability of swimming across open water in full armour while carrying 16 swords, 7 shields, 4 pairs of boots, and the nations gold reserve in one pocket.
Graphically Risen 3 rises up to standard with a nice variety of locations to visit and a good selection of inhabitants to slaughter or aid. Although now we are well into the ‘next-gen’ of consoles it is impossible not to notice how dated it looks compared to releases on the Xbox One or PS4. But unfortunately Risen 3 has only been released on the last-gen consoles. Fans of the Risen franchise will be right at home with the look and feel, and lets face it, if you are genuinely interested in this style of game then it isn’t the graphics you are here for. One interesting thing I noticed is how light it is in underground areas, maybe to compensate for the pitch black environments in previous games? The sound is used to great effect with the local wildlife, all of which want to kill you, giving you warning if you stray too close to their home. And trust me, even the simplest of foes will take you down early in the game and even later if they have numbers on their side.
Now that I have mentioned combat, I guess it is the right time to mention the biggest gripe I have with Risen 3, combat. In particular the camera and inability to keep an eye on your enemy. Many a time I found myself backed up against a tree I didn’t see or fighting and enemy who was off screen. You can get by and still get plenty out of combat but just be ready for more than a few moments of frustration. As for the shotgun controls, I’ll just call it different. Different enough that I only used the shotgun two or three times. I know combat shouldn’t be the core mechanic in a RPG but it also shouldn’t be the biggest source of frustration either. Out of combat the controls are good and allow you to explore the open world at your pace and going where you please, which as you may guess can lead you into all sorts of trouble if you aren’t prepared. At least you can leave your companions to fight while you just run around in circles avoiding blows.
Risen 3: Titan Lords is a niche title that is a hard sell. Those who like this style of RPG don’t need any kind of convincing and can overlook its shortcomings to enjoy it in its full glory. Those gamers who haven’t played RPGs like this before will be hard pressed to stick with it long enough to get pulled in to the story and quirkiness, like having to cook food before consumption. There is also the fact that not releasing on the new generation of consoles will miss a reasonable group of gamers.
All that aside, Risen 3 is a game I am really enjoying, even if it is competing for my time with the likes of Destiny and Shadows of Mordor on the Xbone. It is a different pace, my happy place, a world I can disappear in and feel welcome and familiar. Games like this are rare, a good story with lots of interesting characters. Unfortunately it is also a take it or leave it style of game…. You decide.