Games, like with other forms of media, give their audiences subjective experiences that are then formalized and described as objectively as humanly possible. There are those that get praised by the majority, while a lot of others languish far in the background or even deep in the bin. But there are those that do well in dividing opinions due to their mix of positive and negative characteristics. There was Sacred 3, and we now have Risen 3. The number and release period are the only things in common between these two.
Risen 3: Titan Lords is a role-playing game by Piranha Bytes that is almost like a throw back to the mid-2000′s, when RPGs were starting to really take shape in the 3D realm. It’s not really the uber gorgeous open world games that people have gotten used to these days, but it’s still does well enough for itself and makes up for it in other areas. There’s quite a bit of explaining here to do for those who may not be that impressed by its looks.
The predecessor was admittedly sub-par compared to the first game, so this sequel is like a back-to-basics title that wishes to satisfy the inner wanderlust of long-time CRPG enthusiasts while somehow erasing the memory of the previous installment. This one is not isometric though, but in third-person perspective, so it’s not like it’s way too old-school. But it does have that MMO vibe to it with a mini-map and skill bar on the bottom of the screen almost like you’re playing Guild Wars 2 or something.
There are three factions in this world, namely the Voodoo (from the previous game), the Guardians, and the Demon Hunters. You get to play as a pirate of your own design, who has ended up in some tropical island and got into trouble with a lich. After having come back to life due to some voodoo magic, although he’s not exactly in perfect shape despite being alive again, he must now venture forth to see how he can have the fullness of his soul back. It’s not exactly the most compelling of premises, but it should do well enough to justify the adventure.
Perhaps one of the best things in this game is the character customization, which this title has a fair share of. This also extends to character progression, wherein they’ve done away with the usual level up system common in most RPGs in favor of increasing individual attributes as you please through glory points, which is this game’s version of experience points. It’s basically purchasing upgrades with some form of in-game currency earned through gameplay, which isn’t new but is perhaps not used enough in role-playing games.
The combat system is not that bad at all, with a mix of melee and ranged combat that does make for some possibilities. The controls feel a bit stiff though, so it does take some getting used to. You also get allies that have competent enough AI for keeping your back covered, so fights should be fairly enjoyable. Boss fights though may be a different matter though as you may find some of them to be harder to grasp than you’d first think, as if they’re beginners’ traps on first playthroughs.
Despite its unpolished visuals and other rough edges, its overall quality isn’t too shabby at all. But it tries to be what games like The Witcher and Dragon Age 2 had already done and tried to do. Whatever wasn’t really working for those games could never really work for this one as well, especially when done this way and at this time. However, it’s still a decent game, although not worth enough of its full price tag. If you find this in a sale, then you may perhaps consider it.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 6.5/10