Risen 3: Titan Lords Review – MOUSE n JOYPAD

Risen 3: Titan Lords Review



Risen 3 gives you the opportunity to turn into a parrot. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a game-selling feature right there, but wrapping the review up without writing about anything else would probably get me fired, so here we go!Back in 2009, via Risen, Piranha Bytes reiterated their RPG formula into a more user-friendly experience. It was a very Gothic-like game that didn’t really make the franchise stand on its own two legs, largely thanks to its atmosphere and storyline – both of which reminded of the game’s spiritual predecessor. Risen 2, on the other hand, gave the franchise a theme of its own – that of piracy and thief monkeys, eye-patches, wooden legs and everything else related to the overarching style. Sadly, a lot of its systems were bugged, the introductory sequence was a slog and combat took quite a while to wind up. Disregarding all of that, it was a rich RPG that offered tons of fun in quite a shiny package. Today, Risen 3 is out and about, building upon the universe some of us are already familiar with.

Instead of focusing on the same nameless protagonist for the third time, we’ve been thrown into the boots of a wholly different… nameless protagonist. Yeah, this is Piranha Bytes alright. If you’ve played Risen 2, you’re in for a nice surprise from the get go, as you’ll be greeted by Patty (you play as her brother) and meet Bones, Venturo and many others as you trudge across the vast seas of this colourful world. After getting rid of the Titans over the course of the first two games, it’s about damn time we got the chance to kick undead back to where they belong. Thankfully, there are no zombies per se, but physical husks left from humans that had their souls sucked out. Our protagonist is one such man, and by choosing appropriate answers during dialogues, his „soul“ level goes either up or down. This, in return, unlocks different dialogue options and alters the flow of the story. You can guess where this is going: setting the whole world saving matter aside, the hero also has to rescue his own soul from the mysterious shadowy creatures he encounters every step of the way.


Oh he just tripped, that’s all.

The story itself doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from all the other generic RPG storylines (undead, duh), but this can easily be forgiven due to the nicely portrayed characters, loads of humour and some really amazing quests. Case in point – as you explore the islands that comprise the game world, you’ll run into two dudes as they massacre ducks. Yes, ducks. At first, I thought this is some sort of a bug or that these NPCs are terrifyingly territorial, but talking to them revealed that they’re actually trying to chase the poor animals away. Why? Well, the ducks were acting slippery and seemed to stalk the NPCs. Naturally, my first reaction was to mock the obviously paranoid dudes, but I decided to take their mission to “kill the suspicious duck“, for shits and giggles. So I followed the trail of these feathery fiends, doing my best not to attack any duck other than the ‘suspicious’ one, at the duck-killer’s behest. After all, would you want to have innocent ducks on your consciousness? I quickly encountered a whole flock (is it a flock, or a pack maybe?) in a nearby grove. It didn’t take me long to spot the suspicious duck, as it was actually a turkey. I drew my sword and got closer to the bird, only for it to turn into a massive soul-eating monster that used the ducks as its scouts. The following dialogue was a marvel, really. And trust me, you’ll find a whole lot of missions such as this, and you will be laughing your arse off every couple of minutes. Don’t get me started on the smith’s lackey back at the pirates’ headquarters, either.

Gameplay follows the basic formula set by the Risen/Gothic lineage, but with numerous upgrades. Firstly, you will be happy to hear that real, actual spells are back after their hiatus in Risen 2, and are absolutely devastating. Upon equipping one in combat, the camera switches to OTS mode, allowing fast, dynamic discharges towards whatever duck you might want to kill. You can also use magic traditionally, as a ‘skill’, but cast spells now act as a medium/close quarters attack, dealing rapid elemental attacks with ease. Of course, muskets are fair game too, and offer a slow, albeit highly damaging alternative to crystal magic. The thing is, you won’t have access to these options until you’re several hours into the game. And even though the intro is fairly dynamic and much better than that of Risen 2, it’s still a frustrating endeavour at times. For starters, don’t expect to be dealing much damage with the starter weapons, as even the lowly scavengers will easily pick you apart if you face them alone. Not to mention what the snappers might do to you if you don’t run when necessary. Damage numbers aside, you will also have to learn combo attacks and additional moves if you want to be a capable combatant. The system itself is nicely done, however, even when you’re as underpowered as an average duck is. Left click is for fast attacks, right click for heavy – combine these with rapid evades, parry and block moves, and you’ve got a great alternative to what we had before. The finisher attacks themselves are as badass as they could possibly get. However, it will take a while before you actually realise how to fight effectively and equip yourself adequately, so push through that because the rest of the experience is well worth the effort.


This beastie here is a monitor lizard. It doesn’t die easily, trust me.

Just as it used to be in Gothic, good equipment is hard to come by. Armour especially, so don’t expect to be able to buy anything but the most basic sets from vendors. Crafting and looting is your best chance at getting proper gear, so covering as much ground as possible might be a wise thing to do. Exploration, while still lagging behind the likes of TES games, is greatly expanded upon what it used to be, and the game world is filled with unique, unmarked events that are triggered simply by the player coming close enough. This entices clever observation, because Risen 3 also gives you all the abilities you need to reach whatever you might be trying to reach. Movement system is much less rigid than it usually is in similar games, allowing climbing, long range jumps, fall-breaking rolls and similar feats, but there’s also the Parrot spell. This turns you into a giant blue parrot, giving you the ability to reach obscure places or simply scout a new area. Trust me, there’s nothing quite like flying over the entire map as a big-ass parrot.

Graphically, while Risen 3 might not seem too pretty on screenshots, it’s a wholly different experience in motion. Levels are vast and diverse, each offering unique atmosphere – ranging from quaint medieval villages to the lava-stricken landscapes of Caldera. The animals are also appropriately placed, with many of them having multiple iterations. Especially the damned snappers, the raptor-like animals that hunt in pairs. I’ve come across dragon snappers, wolf snappers, regular snappers… and each looks different. It’s this diversity that makes the environments come alive, as both flora and fauna shine on their own, but look amazing when combined. Again, not technically, but subjectively beautiful. Especially the sea, whose waves look almost uncannily (real)ocean-like, despite the relatively low-res textures it’s been fitted with. You can swim in it too, but this isn’t a great idea if you suffer from boat sickness.

Now, if I had to choose the weakest part of this game, it would be the sound department. The music is okay-ish, but fairly forgettable, while effects don’t leave a lasting impression either. Voice-over, however, is average at best, and will leave you disappointed more often than not.All in all, what we’ve got here is the best Risen game up until now. An RPG that isn’t afraid not to hold your hand or refusing to lead you through all of its systems. An RPG where you have to use your head to figure things out. True to its legacy, Risen 3 is one of those games that easily grab you and don’t let up until you’ve found everything there was to find, despite the relatively high difficulty level. A definitive recommendation to every RPG fan out there.