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August 24th, 2012, 04:42
Hello, folks! Some of you might remember me from way back in the original Gothic game, when rpgwatch.com used to be rpgdot.com. Ahh, how time flies! At any rate, as you've probably guessed, I've played every Gothic game and both Risen games. I actually just finished Risen 2 about 10 minutes ago.

In my humble opinion, nothing compares to the passion and awe I felt for the original Gothic game. Gothic 2 was a close second. Gothic 3 seemed to lose some of its charm in its unwarranted attempt to compete with Oblivion, but was still a great game. Gothic 4… well, let's just call it decent and leave it at that…

Now, Risen! What a game! Piranha bytes seemed to have found the spark which made Gothic 1 and 2 so fantastic! Another great game!

Finally, Risen 2…. my first impression was one of complete and utter disappointment. Yes, it sounds harsh, but given my high expectations (which were well deserved given Piranha Byte's earlier triumphs), it was inevitable. The graphics, voice acting, and general scripting seemed worse than any previous Piranha Bytes game with respect to the technology available at the time of release. I played it for a couple of hours and then lost interest completely.

Eventually, however, I decided to return and give it another try. So about 3 hours later, the charms began to reveal themselves. It is ironic, Risen 2 is a sort of buried treasure in retrospect. For each of its obvious shortcomings, I discovered several not so obvious strengths. With a lot of polish and improved graphics (especially NPC models), this game could have easily earned much more renown.

So in a nutshell, Risen 2 was not the best Piranha Bytes experience. On many levels it was inferior to Risen 1, and to its closest competition, Skyrim. However, as the game progressed the fun factor increased almost exponentially. The ship, crew, islands, and treasures made this game a worthy investment, despite its other shortcomings! And let's not forget what was arguably the best part of the game, the gnomes! Clever, brilliant, and funny, "fuck yes!" On a scale from 1 to 10, I'd have to give Risen 2 a solid 7.

If only Piranha Bytes would dig deep and return to its roots in terms of thoughtful, witty, and polished immersion, Risen 3 would likely be a game to redeem the Piranha Bytes name.

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