Last year saw Piranha Bytes and Deep Silvers RPG adventure Risen 3: Titan lords a game that received a lot of mixed reviews. Open-world exploration combined with pirates sounds like it should be a winner so why did it receive so many mixed opinions? With only a year under its belt is this ‘Enhanced Edition’ simply a cheap port to bring it to the next generation or has it been given a genuine update to improve on last year criticisms.
So what have the developers done to ‘enhance’ this title? Graphics and Downloadable content included. The visuals have had a considerable improvement with some higher resolution textures which show. In some areas you can see some really nice scenery…providing you don’t move. There are the occasional drops in frame rate and while the textures look nice and fancy it doesn’t cover up the games other flaws, in a way it just highlights them. The animations for example are incredibly dull to look at and whenever you go to scale something you clip in to it which just breaks your immersion. As for the DLC we get some extra islands to explore as soon as you start, although you may went to hold off on them until you’ve built up your stats a bit.
You take control of some nameless pirate out to seek his fortune. Sadly while he is on his journey the forces of darkness rise up and you’re subsequently killed. Then brought back to life. Now though the world is in turmoil and you’re the only one who can restore peace as you raise up a pirate rebellion to fight back. There’s much more to the story but unfortunately you never care for it. Pirates and mages aren’t something you usually see go together and on paper it sounds like quite an interesting concept but, for a pirate you never really do any pirate-y things. The whole mage element quickly takes over at which point it becomes just another fantasy game and not a very interesting one.
When the story does hit high points it is sadly brought back down by some bad voice acting. The characters have very little personality making it rather hard to engage with their side stories as they speak in dull monotone sequences. It might be okay if there were only a couple of key sequences in which they spoke but here it’s constant. Dialogue is surprisingly extensive in this game as when conversing with someone you’re given a number of topics to talk about. As this game utilises a moral system your responses to some conversations can affect your overall rating, it does little to affect relationships with other characters though and really only affects the overall outcome of the game. It’s an nice little addition sadly there’s just not a lot going on, you’ll find yourself rarely interested in what people have to say and wind up skipping large sections of text (which can leave you choosing moral choices with no idea what the question was) just to get to the point and activate your sub-quests.
As for the side missions they mostly consist of your general fetch and kill quests which give you some nice rewards and of course glory (experience points). All of this greatly beefs up the games length and gives you around 60 hours of gameplay. Perhaps the worst aspect of this game is the combat. When engaging the enemy the circle button draws your weapon leaving X to chain attack combos or charge attacks and R1 to fire your secondary. You can equip yourself with a number of weapons from swords, axes and shotguns while carrying a second smaller weapon like knives and pistols. No matter what your choice may be attacks always feel sluggish and inaccurate. Parrying attacks and striking when there’s an opening also isn’t a viable tactic. Enemies can easily break your parries, they’re always faster than you and you can’t directly target your opponent (incredibly frustrating when taking on multiple at once). Which leads to your final option, the dodge roll! You’re invulnerable to attacks while dodge rolling and when you work this out all of your tactics revolve around using it, so battles are drawn out in a slow monotonous fashion as you wait for them to attack and follow up with your own.
As this is an open-world game you get to explore the world at your own freedom having a number of islands available straight from the start for you to choose from. There’s enough going on in each location to differentiate them and hold players interest. From the tribal forests of Kila to the lonely rocky plains of Fog island, maps are extensive with lots nooks and crannies to explore. Not only are you treated with some enjoyable views but it pays off as you can find more quests to undertake and find some valuable loot. Fighting enemies may be a real pain but you can’t say they’re not varied. Gorillas, ghouls, wolves, hellhounds, lizardmen, skeleton warriors; the list goes on and the more unusual enemies all generally have interesting designs to separate them.
Pirates were the most appealing aspect of Risen 3 but unfortunately it gets quickly overshadowed with an average story about magic and demons that fails to hold players interest. There is an enjoyable amount of locations to explore and enemies to discover but actually take any on in a fight and you’ll be faced with some very clunky combat mechanics. With so many other RPG’s available to players Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition or otherwise is probably one that’s best avoided.
This review is based off a promo copy of Risen 3: Titan Lords – Enhanced Edition provided by Koch Media.
This review was originally published on the site GamersFTW which unfortunately has now been taken down. It’s been published on my personal blog, DanielVaughanReviews, out of respect for the developers/publishers that were kind enough to give me review copy of their game.