Risen 2: Dark Waters First Look PreviewBy Stephen Johnson - Posted Mar 24, 2011
There are many games competing for your attention and money, so I understand that you probably are most concerned with the tent pole releases from major publishers, but I urge you to add Risen 2: Dark Waters to your consciousness. It’s a scrappy, can-do, underdog of an RPG with a lot going for it. Mainly, pirates. It’s an RPG about pirates, cool, colorful pirates with peg-legs and parrots, as opposed to murderous Somali pirates who kill rich white people on yachts. Potentially, this game could do for patch-eyes what Red Dead Redemption did for cowboys, take a moribund genre and make it awesome again.
Let’s get Risen out of the way first, though: Publisher Deep Silver didn’t exactly apologize for the 2009 console version of Risen, but they came close. They would like you to know that the console version of Risen 2 will not be like Risen. It will not suck, because it is not a bad port of a decent PC game. Instead, they plan for Risen 2 to be a good game, and have assured me that the title was developed across-platforms from the jump, with not-sucking in mind.
Risen 2 takes place five to 10 years after the events of the previous title, and stars the protagonist of the first game. Having saved the world, you’re now a tortured drunkard, who's bitter and one-eyed -- like Snake Plissken from Escape from New York, but more emo and wearing pantaloons.
At our GDC demo, a brief intro video laid out the start of the plot: Sea Monsters are attacking ships, and you must put a stop to the madness. The trailer hinted at some of the excitement to come, including pirates shooting guns at each other (Risen’s bows and arrows are gone), and one character in the intro video was clearly brandishing a voodoo doll, leading to the suggestion of a unique magic system that fits the setting.
Deep Silver wouldn’t talk about a potential pet system, but I am holding out hope for parrots. The reps did say there will be no ship-to-ship combat, as the idea was to make a great RPG as opposed to a naval combat game.
After the intro-movie, I got to check out a small taste of Risen 2’s gameplay. The look in Risen 2 has been improved significantly from the first game. The colors are richer and brighter and the details more highly defined. The demo level featured a pirate town, filled with makeshift pirate structures – It’s a bit like a more detailed, better looking version of World of Warcraft’s Booty Bay – lots of makeshift boards piled up and I-don’t-care-about-looks architecture.
We also saw some cool monster designs, including an impressive giant spider, as well as taking a look at how the game’s accessory system will make every NPC unique and memorable through mix-and-match hats, weapons, shoes, and more.
There’s no release date yet for Risen 2, but I’ll be using my spyglass and one remaining eye to keep watch on this one.