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PC Game Review: Risen 2: Dark Waters

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It is at this point that I must confess I never played the original Risen. That said, when I heard there was a single player game that involved pirates and Cthulhu sea monsters, I was rather keen on reviewing Risen 2 : Dark Waters. To be honest, my initial impressions were that it is more Pirates of the Caribbean Online with lots of swearing and no ship-to-ship cannon action. The plot is uncomfortably close to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but if Disney doesn’t mind, who am I to quibble. Your character spends most of his time trying to channel Jack Sparrow and failing.

This review has been fairly hard to write because my opinion on the game has swung between decent and awful more often than I can remember with any other game. Ultimately, what saves the game for me has been Patty Steelbeard’s daughter, who is your helmsman/minder/girlfriend. Her witticisms are just on the good side of being irritating, unlike some of the other NPCs rambling, and she is genuinely useful to have around with her sword/gun.

Additionally, the game looks and sounds glorious. You can almost feel the sweat and smell the stench of the jungle. I dare you tell me the first thunder clap in the game doesn’t make you jump when using headphones. As someone who has lived in tropics, I can tell you the sounds are spot on. These two things that kept me coming back to the game.

What frustrates me though is the inane swear-filled banter of everyone in the game. Most of the dialogue is just painfully lame. Beyond that, the melee combat is glitchy, twitchy, and atrocious. The gameplay is not well converted for PC play especially the stilted movement. “Main hand” gun combat is decent once you get the shotgun, but lackluster before then. It is as if the designers wanted to replicate crap MMO melee combat for a complete experience. That is the only thing that reminds the gamer of MMOs. Some of the quests are frustratingly simplistic and dull. Several have bugs where if you have been to place already you are unable to complete the proper quest unless you return to a previously saved game. This is a game that does not really reward the player for exploring outside the linear story-arc (there are quite a few chests scattered around, but their contents are rarely that useful). In this sense it is the antithesis of Skyrim and that game’s acceptance of the desire to explore every nook and cranny of the map.

The plot is about as predictable as you can imagine. It is so predictable that when you find yourself forced into a glaringly obvious trap it can be irritating. After the worst of these you are then expect to deal with some of the most annoying non-human anthropomorphic characters I ever encountered, the gnomes.  Then again, the whole point might be that the game’s dialogue, storylines, and characters are meant to lame and cliched.

In short, I think paying for this game at full AAA price is pretty unwise and not recommended. When it gets down to the $30 or less mark, you might want to take a look if you are in need of an at times frustrating, RPG laugh.

 

Risen 2:  Dark Waters is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence. This game can also be found on: PS 3, Xbox 360.

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