Risen belongs to the large genre of fantasy action RPGs and offers a single player only experience. The game was published by Deep Silver with a Windows release in 2009 and an Xbox 360 port several months later.
Risen has been compared to the likes of the Gothic series with its same emphasis on exploration and faction alignment by the player. This exploration opens up plenty of quest options which forms the majority of your time with the game. Some of these quests are fairly detailed but there are plenty of busy work style quests thrown in which slightly pull the entire experience down.
Risen lets players explore the fantasy island of Farnga and take control of an unnamed hero who has washed ashore on the island. Players have arrived during a dangerous time though as a number of ancient dungeons have recently been uncovered, opening up the town to attack from a number of evil creatures.
In terms of gameplay Risen lets you take on a number of roles, allowing you to fight with the weapon of your choosing (magic, swords or bows) while combining it with skills to suit your preferred gameplay approach. Skills are slowly unlocked throughout the game as you level up with some having minor visual effects which adds a nice touch to the gameplay. For example levelling up a fighting skill might result in your character using a different stance in battle or using a different attack animation once unlocked.
Beyond combat type skills players also have access to abilities and a few professions which can be improved as you level up. Crafting and smithing are the professions that have clearly received the most love from the developers with plenty of options to create and craft your own equipment if that is your style.
Risen has a good difficultly balance and plenty of visually attractive environments to keep your journey interesting. The Xbox 360 port unfortunately has a few issues which definitely makes the Windows version the better option if you have the choice. There’s nothing wrong with Risen but some more development time could have taken it from good to great with some elements feeling slightly underdeveloped and below their potential.
- Solid RPG for Windows and Xbox 360.
- Unique storyline that keeps you wanting to push on.
- Plenty of skills, professions and abilities.
- Good difficulty that is never too hard or too easy.
- Surprisingly large world with lots of different environments.
Review Platform: PC