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Review: Risen 3: Titan Lords

Risen 3 is Piranha Bytes’ next entry in the fantasy role playing series. This time you play as a new nameless hero, pushing aside the previous two games main protagonist. A combination of the Medieval setting of the first game and the Pirate themed Risen 2, “Titan Lords” takes a while to get to grips with, but is this a worthwhile investment of an RPG fans time?

Developer: Piranha Bytes
Publisher: Deep Silver
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also Available On: Playstation 3, PC
Release Date: Out Now

I’m a huge fan of role-playing games from all over the world. From Baldur’s Gate to Tales of Symphonia, I’ve spent many hours getting lost in some truly memorable stories, interacting with unforgettable characters and exploring vast, detailed worlds full of mystery. But then there’s the Risen series. I spent a good amount of time with the first game and despite its many flaws, I enjoyed it.  The second game, Risen 2: Dark Waters, left me disappointed however. Maybe I just didn’t have the time to invest in it back when it was released so I pushed it to one side, to live forever in unfinished video game hell. Risen 3: Titan Lords is the first RPG I’ve played in a good few months, so I was eager to review this and sink my teeth into some heroic quest to vanquish evil.

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Immediately I was left confused by the story. Who was I? Who was my companion? Why was I on an island looking for who knows what? It slowly started to unravel as you progress through the tutorial areas of the starting island though and within the hour I was well on my way to being drawn into this pirate/medieval hybrid world. After the initial opening segment, you find that you’ve had your soul ripped from you by an otherworldly demon and must venture out in search of help from various factions before your lack of a soul ends up killing you.

Your quest to recover your soul leads you to several varied locations, with the option to travel to several places at any given time, giving the game and story an open-ended nature. This works well for an RPG as you may not wish to report back to someone or go meet with a Shaman tribe and check them off your quest list. Instead you might opt to go find a lost companion or see what the mages can do for your lost soul. It’s a fairly average story with some occasionally poor dialogue, but the open-ended way in which you can tackle the missions is a definite plus point.

It is a shame however, that Risen 3’s main protagonist is a bit of an unlikable character. Aside from his incredibly bland face and boring voice, he’s a bit of an arrogant idiot. Now, the game does allow you from time to time to pick options which can sway your alignment (The more evil your actions, the more demonic you apparently become), but some of the script just seems to force the main character towards the “douchebag” end of the scale, with no input from the player. It’s slightly jarring when you threaten someone one minute, then thank them politely and bow to them the next.

Risen 3 1

 

The combat found in Risen 3 works with you hammering an attack button, with an option to hold it to perform a charged attack. You also have a side weapon, usually a pistol or some other ranged weapon which is good for if you need a breather in order to heal yourself. Dodge and block works as standard, with some enemy attacks being unblockable. I was disappointed at the lack of a lock-on feature however, the game could definitely have benefited from one, several times I swung my sword, only to have misjudged it and missed the enemy, although maybe that’s just me being a bit stupid.

I found myself dying a hell of a lot when I first started the game, but I remember similar things happening in the original Risen before I’d started to get good gear, level up a bit and eventually, learn some magic (Turning myself into a Parrot has to be one of the most useless, but most amusing features I’ve seen in a game in a long while).

Aesthetically, the game is a huge letdown. The game barely looks better than Risen 2 (Which didn’t look great) and has a poor draw distance and way too much noticeable screen tearing. Even the frame rate can get choppy, it almost has a look and feel to something back in 2007. Some of the animations are quite clunky and not as smooth as what you’d find in a lot of other games. Although I have to give them credit for some of the melee finishing moves that occasionally occur when you defeat an enemy, they’re a brutal and very satisfying way to end combat.

The menus and map system in the game are just downright bad. The menus themselves are ok in truth, but they’re not too aesthetically pleasing. The map however, is just a map of the island  or area of land you’re currently in. Venture into a dungeon or interior and it’s useless, which caused me to become very annoyed when I was trying to find my way out of a maze like dungeon.

Risen 3: Titan Lords has a lot to offer die-hard RPG fans looking for adventure and its an enjoyable experience if you can look past is many flaws and unpolished state. Kudos to Piranha Bytes for making something so large and rich with lore, considering their studio currently employs only 20 people. You have a big game here, very big, with quest after quest constantly being given to you, Titan Lords is a game that will take you a long time to see and do everything it has to offer.

[tabgroup][tab title=”The Good“]
Good point 1 – Large world to explore
Good point 2 – Lots of quests

[/tab][tab title=”The Bad“]
Bad point 1 – Graphically underwhelming
Bad point 2 – Difficult first few hours
Bad point 3 – Bland protagonist

[/tab][/tabgroup]

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Aspiring writer, amateur drummer and miraculously a final year Computer Games Design student at the University of Huddersfield.

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