Review: Risen 3: Titan Lords - Enhanced Edition (PlayStation 4)
- Release Date (NA): August 12, 2015
- Release Date (EU): August 21, 2015
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Developer: Piranha Bytes
- Genres: RPG
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- PEGI Rating: Sixteen years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
We take on the role of the Nameless Hero, a gruffish-looking pirate with suspect voice acting who kind of sounds like he is doing a bad Jason Staham impression. It made me cringe and laugh at the same time, pretty much every time he opened up his potty mouth. He swears a lot, as I imagine a pirate would, but it sounds so forced and out of place - as do all of the voice overs in the game.
Risen 3 opens with the Nameless Hero in a dream where he and his crew are in the middle of a sea battle against another ship full of undead Shadow warriors. Why this is happening isn't explained and the next thing you know you are landed on a tropical island, along with your similarly foul-mouthed buxom sister, Betty. You find a temple hidden at the centre of the jungle and activate a portal that leads to an undead magical being, the Shadow Lord, who then proceeds to suck out your soul, killing you in the process. The Nameless Hero is then buried on the beach by his crew, but shortly afterwards is resurrected without his soul. This sets up the goal of the adventure; to recover your soul and seek revenge by wiping out the undead army.
You should come back later if an enemy is too strong for you
The Southern Seas are a treacherous place for even the most hardened of pirates. There are a good variety of enemy types lurking at every turn, ready and waiting to bring the pain to our Nameless Hero.
It took me around 5 hours of playtime to raise my melee stat high enough to actually fight enemies with confidence. Risen 3 is the first game I've ever played where you can shotgun a monkey (or any 'minor' enemy) in the face at point blank range... and it doesn't die, and the same monkey can kill you in 2 swipes. At the start of the game I was getting one-shotted by giant enemy crabs and it was really frustrating to keep seeing the same message pop up on-screen: YOU SHOULD COME BACK LATER IF AN ENEMY IS TOO STRONG FOR YOU. That's all fine and dandy if only there were a low level starting area, but as far as I know, there isn't. No matter which of the seven main ports I decided to dock at, the enemies in the area seemed equally as brutal. This led me to start exploiting the combat by letting my NPC companion do the brunt of the work whilst I roll stabbed my way around to victory.
Combat feels clunky and and enemies use cheap attacks that you can parry but cannot riposte until you find the right trainer and pay them to learn the tactic. There is no traditional level up system in the game but instead you earn Glory by dispatching enemies and completing quests. When you have earned enough Glory you can then choose to upgrade your stats. Initially I pumped everything into melee as guns use ammo which is a pretty scarce commodity and bullets tend to miss more often than not until you raise the relevant stat. Magic isn't really viable until later in the game after you have chosen one of three factions and learned some offensive spells.
You would think that a pirate themed RPG would have a lot of sailing in it, but alas me hearties (sorry), in Risen 3 nearly all of the sailing is done via cutscenes. There is some naval combat in here which is done considerably well, but it left me wanting way more. On the upside though, you can transform into a parrot and fly around...
Content with content?
Risen 3 Titan Lords - Enhanced Edition has a lot of content to get through. There are hundreds of missions to find and finish and the majority of the ones I stumbled upon were fun to complete and not just glorified fetch quests. Whether it was helping a guy escape a magic mushroom cave whilst he was tripping his face off, or collecting relics for a voodoo priestess to create a sceptre, the variety of quests on offer is interesting enough to make you want to find as many as possible. The dialogue between the main character and NPCs is a bit janky though, often with nonsensical reply options for the player to choose from. Fortunately the voice acting is so funny that it made the bad dialogue bearable. My favorite NPC, 'Bones', who I kept by my side the most due to his tendency to heal me all the time in battle, is meant to be a vodoo warrior, yet the voice actor sounds like he is doing an audition for a role in a Shakespeare play.
As well as the slew of available quests in the adventure, there are also mini-games to partake in like arm wrestling, knife throwing and liquor drinking as well as many other tropes often found in Western developed RPGs, such as forging weapons and armor, crafting spells and magical jewellery and alchemy, used for the crafting of potions. Packaged with the base game in this Enhanced Edition are all of the title updates and three DLC packs; 'Adventure Garb', 'Fog Island', and 'Uprising of the Little Guys'.
I went into Risen 3: Titan Lords with really low expectations after playing Risen 1 back in 2010 on the Xbox 360. Despite the game's extremely slow opening and cumbersome systems, I ended up being pleasantly surprised once I'd got to grips with what was going on. The game does have some issues though, it isn't a AAA experience and if you are coming at it after something like The Witcher 3, you could easily be disappointed. It isn't as polished as it could be, with loads of clipping issues, a broken autosave feature that never loads, unexplainable happenings like companions randomly vanishing or your armor set changing after a load screen. Despite these issues I found the game to be fun, and that is what matters most in the end.
+ Loads of content
+ Great setting
- Clunky combat
- Terrible voice acting
- Long load times
Risen 3 on PS4 is a mixed bag with great looking environments but not so great NPCs and enemies. Developer Piranha Bytes claim the game runs on PS4 with comparable settings to the PC version set to 'Ultra'.
Gameplay consists of the usual RPG fare; take on quests and fight bad guys. Due to the large amount of quests thrown at the player without much direction, the journey can quickly become frustrating with loads of backtracking. Add to this the clunky combat and occasional glitches and it can sometimes feel like you are fighting with the game instead of enjoying it.
With a large open world to explore, hundreds of quests to complete and 2 sizable DLC packs included, Risen 3 should keep you adventuring for some time.
out of 10
(not an average)
Risen 3: Titan Lords - Enhanced Edition is a solid attempt at an open-world RPG that just falls short of being a great game. Overall this is the best title in what is otherwise a mediocre series.