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-   -   Risen 2 impressions thread (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16986)

Maylander April 30th, 2012 01:59

Risen 2 impressions thread
Hi folks.

Yet another big RPG has been released, so it's time for impressions and what not. Feel free to contribute.

I'll get started. I just completed it with a marksman type of character, swords as back up weapons (nice to have when dealing with sand thingys and so on). My ending stats:

Played time: 27 hours (in-game, actual played time is no doubt longer)
Blades: 7
Firearms: 10
Toughness: 4
Cunning: 9
Voodoo: 2
Gold: 3263, but with enough loot to boost it by 10k at least if needed.
Completed side quests: All that I came across, except finding a few legendary items (mostly ones I had to buy for 2000 gold, didn't bother as they didn't provide me with relevant stat boosts) + a bugged quest (The King's Sword, I got the hilt for Soul Caller twice instead of one for Soul Caller and one for The King's Sword).

Let me first start out by stating that the game is longer than Risen, despite the low played time. The main reason the played time is so low is due to extensive use of quick travel, and in Risen 2 it's available right from the start, unlike every other PB game where you have to dig up teleport stones in order to quick travel. The game world is bigger than Risen, no doubt about that, so there's quite a few places to explore.

Moving on to the good stuff.

The graphics got something of a boost from Risen, but the overhaul is not a major one in my opinion. Like always, PB creates a very vivid world, filled with strong colors. PB really manages to create incredible environments. Too bad the same can't be said of their characters - this was one of few things I wanted them to improve from the original Risen, but the upgrade is.. not much of an upgrade. Also, there's the infamous "plant pop up" feature in Risen 2, which can be toned down by tweaking the ini file. I suggest doing so. Beyond that, I had no technical issues at all - no crashes, no weird graphical glitches, no hiccups, nothing. I came across one bugged quest (the sword I mentioned above), but that's it.

For reference, my rig:
- OS: Windows 7
- CPU: Intel i7-2600K
- RAM: 16 GB
- GPU: Asus GTX 680
- I do have an SSD for my OS and similar, but Steam is installed on a regular 7200 RPM drive. Saving and loading was still very fast and smooth, however.

Disclaimer: I have no idea how it performs on other systems.

Rock solid as always. Not a lot to say there. The voice acting is better than in previous PB games (English that is), and the music might not have been as priceless as that in Gothic 3, but overall the sound is great.

Why did they alter a system that worked so well in Risen? I have no idea. The menus and what not are quite good, as are the hotkeys, but the combat actually takes longer to get the hang of than the one in Risen. Also, even once you do get the hang of it, it doesn't feel as smooth as it does at its best in Risen. The biggest loss is the lack of dodging, which really sucks once you face gorillas, alligators and so on.

I originally intended to play a melee character, but once I got a musket I abandoned that idea as muskets are so much better at dealing with certain annoying enemies (mainly due to the lack of proper blocking and dodging). No idea how good voodoo is yet, but I'll be trying that out in the next few days.

There are a few QTEs, but nothing major. They're more of a nuisance than anything else. I did find the final fight a bit odd though:

Spoiler – Final fight

My biggest complaint is actually the lack of memorable armor. PB has always been good at making armors distinguishable, something of a symbol, an achievement. In Risen 2 I barely even paid attention to what I was wearing. Most items looked similar, with minor differences. Getting native armor for a voodoo using character or inquisition armor for a musketeer would've been nice.

Character development
Character development got a completely overhaul. Regular stats are gone, replaced by talents and skills. Talents are the "stats" in this case, and determine your base skill at something, while skills can be bought from trainers once you reach a high enough talent level. Example: Blades determine your melee fighting skills, and in order to train the power attack skill, you need Blades rank 2. Talent ranks are bought for experience, or "glory points" as they're called.

The system works well enough, though no better or worse than previous systems. In all previous PB game except NotR, it's been possible to create powerhouses early in the game by pumping virtually every point into melee skills + strength. The main difference now is that such builds can't be made because of the increased glory point cost per talent increase (Blades 3 costs more than Blades 2). Whether preventing such builds is a good or a bad thing boils down to personal preference.

Also, I feel the cunning requirements are off the charts in a some cases. I focused quite a bit on cunning early on, but a lot of conversations were still far too demanding for me to choose the silver tongue option. A lot of them are not possible to repeat, which means it's actually expected that some players might have high enough silver tongue skill by the time they get to the conversation. I really don't understand how that's possible, unless every available glory point is spent on cunning and every gold coin is spent training persuasion.

This is one of the best new additions. I like having companions, bringing them along really makes exploration quite a bit easier. They do have some interesting conversations (more than Skyrim, less than BioWare), though they're obviously intended for combat and comic relief more than deep, soul searching philosophy. Small piece of advice: Don't build your character around having a companion, as they might not always be available. I learned that the hard way by pumping cunning like crazy in the start to get high conversation and thievery skills.

Story and setting
The other great addition is the setting. The whole pirate thing with muskets and what not works. It feels refreshing. They did take the whole slavery bit a tad too far from my point of view, but other than that I'd say the setting is a huge success. Hopefully, we'll see PB trying even more new stuff in the future, as they are clearly capable of making interesting settings.

The story is decent, certainly above most PB stories. In fact, I'd say it's better than most open world RPG main quests, but worse than most narrative RPGs (Mass Effect and similar).

There were a few really annoying fetch quests though, especially related to finding X objects spread out over a fairly large area. Overlook a single object and you might end up combing an area several times just to find it.

There are several areas to explore (five islands, including the Treasure Isle DLC + three areas connected to continents), so there's no lack of exploration options once you get a ship. However, it's all a bit more streamlined than I would've liked: Going somewhere usually means you have a very specific goal in mind, instead of just roaming around.

It's worth mentioning that PB is still PB though: There are quite a few hidden treasures to find, some more valuable than others. The best treasures in the game are usually hidden pirate treasures, which tend to be a real bonus to find.

Also, the atmosphere is very good, as always.

As I've already mentioned in several other threads, I honestly wanted PB to simply improve Risen in a few ways: Better looking characters/animations and a bigger, more refreshing world to explore. I felt such small improvements could turn Risen 2 into another Gothic 2, maybe even with NotR. Let me be blunt: Risen 2 is not another Gothic 2, with or without NotR.

It's a good game, by all means. It's rock solid, in fact. However, it really is "two steps forward, one step back" as others have pointed out. The setting, voice acting, companions and story all take a step in the right direction, but at the cost of exploration, factions and certain gameplay issues. Also, it's technically superior to most PB games: Very few bugs, crashes or other issues that I came across. In fact, the most annoying issue I've discovered so far is the whole "stacking save game" issue - quick saves and autosaves stack indefinitely, so the save game folder ends up being massive after a while. After completing the game, my save game folder contained:
- 1442 different save games.
- 2886 different files
- 8,67 GB

Anyway, I really don't see the point in whatever streamlined they've done. Risen 2 is still a hardcore game, no doubt about it. I simply don't see how anyone that did not enjoy previous PB games is all of a sudden going enjoy Risen 2 - it's still a challenging PB game at the core. They'd have to abandon their own formula completely to reach the mass market, which is something I really hope they refuse to do.

I'd say Risen 2 is a 7 or 8, depending on the player. I've got a fairly strict scale though, so that's a good score. I enjoyed it a lot, but there's clearly room for improvement.

There's probably a lot more to say, and I assume I've missed a few points here and there, so feel free to comment or ask questions or your own impressions or what not.

I'll be playing a voodoo based character now, cheerio.

huggster April 30th, 2012 10:39

Interesting about Cunning, is the lockpick/pickpocket skill worth it overall? Seems like a big investment down that path when I could be focusing on swords and toughness and getting some of the nice skills there sooner. Am finding it more of a graft than Risen for some reason to "get going".

joxer April 30th, 2012 11:13

Cunning is probably the most important in this game so don't listen to him. I'm not even near the game end, I've cleared only 3 areas (first two islands and then went back to Caldera) and now my thievery is 90 so I've backtracked all chests I couldn't open before. Pickpocket although expensive earns you some nice cash later and I can't say I had some problems on buying anything I want, for example you saw in the first tavern you were in that you need to pay 2000 coins for +10 silver tongue mirror, not a problem, then you find in the Caldera shop another such item (not spoiling this one) which is a must have, again I had enough cash on me. Selling warthog/jaguar skins, bowls, candlesticks and etc simply can't earn you enough cash. At least not enough to buy just anything. ;)
Not to mention that you need IIRC cunning at least 4 to be able to loot (some) temples. You can't transform into bug in Risen 2, but you can, if your cunning ain't low, to move through holes in the wall use… Well… ;)

27 hours Maylander, I really don't know how you did it. I'm 20 hours in the game and still haven't set a foot on 4th location.

Ah, I went swords and voodoo, not muskets as Maylander did. And honestly I have a hard time with some enemies - aligators for example. I do use a pistol for some additional burst damage, but it's reload is very slow and while you can outrun some enemies till you're able to shoot again, aligators are faster than you so either you'll use plenty of grog or you'll bring a party member to distract aligators. I'm playing on normal and wanted to solo areas, and generally it isn't a mission impossible - but on aligators I had to bring a party member. Without tons of rum or grog, also groups of ghouls are impossible to kill solo, not to mention the grave spider which was so far the hardest enemy (even the undead guardian you meet in the tomb behind that spider looks like a baby compared to the spider).
The damage you make with swords is not bad at all, but your low health is the real problem. Perhaps I should have invested some more into toughness and not so much in blades. ;)

Kostas April 30th, 2012 11:33


Originally Posted by Maylander (Post 1061141348)
I'll be playing a voodoo based character now, cheerio.

So we should expect the next sum-up tomorrow?

Maylander April 30th, 2012 14:52

@huggster and joxer
Yes, cunning is worth it. Looting is practically impossible without it. However, it is a huge investment and will leave you lacking in combat (for some time), as it takes a lot of glory points and gold to really get it going.

However, I wouldn't take cunning above rank 8 (including a legendary item that boosts it by 1, so 7 as max), as you can get both thievery 3 and silver tongue 3 then, which adds a grand total of 30 points each, giving you 70 points total (40 from the 8 cunning, 30 from skills). Add an item or two and you'll pass 90 without problems. Use a potion of thievery in the few cases where 95 or 100 is needed (I think I bumped into two such situations).

Hehe, probably Wednesday, but you never know.

joxer April 30th, 2012 15:44


Originally Posted by Maylander (Post 1061141464)
However, I wouldn't take cunning above rank 8 (including a legendary item that boosts it by 1, so 7 as max), as you can get both thievery 3 and silver tongue 3 then, which adds a grand total of 30 points each, giving you 70 points total (40 from the 8 cunning, 30 from skills). Add an item or two and you'll pass 90 without problems. Use a potion of thievery in the few cases where 95 or 100 is needed (I think I bumped into two such situations).

If it's true you don't need thievery above 100, then I absolutely support this!

As said in a few previous posts, I've cleared so far only 3 locations which means I've returned to loot chests and open doors I couldn't previously and I've also killed respawns: Caldera, Takarigua and Sword Coast.
I haven't been anywhere else yet.

My cunning is 8 and my thieving (unlocked master thief) with inventory items is 90!
I'll provide a screenshot later.

Maylander stating we don't need thievery above 100 anywhere is a huge hint, thanks!

Arrgh, the legendary item I thought I have is not +1 cunning, it's actually another such item, Snuffbox, +10 thievery that I have… :(
So I've practically wasted too much of glory, nevermind when I replay with guns I'll stop cunning on 7. Also I went to Antigua, found another item and now my thievery is 100. :D
And a huuuuuuuuuge spoiler for Antigua, in case you have the monkey and are into muskets:

curious May 1st, 2012 17:52

actually unless you want the parrot a level of 5 without the black pearl +1 is probably enough to open any chest. i just found the ring (or was it amulet) of greed on antigua which has a +15 theivery, rather easy to get to.

Ovenall May 2nd, 2012 07:41

First impression: underwhelmed

I'm going to give it some more time, but I might just wait for a patch. The ballooning foliage and flickering scenery are really annoying. The movement is pretty clunky. Combat (so far) is pretty boring.

It looks nice though. I'm only about an hour and a half in so too early to judge. Back to Skyrim for a while.

Glorian May 2nd, 2012 19:56

With all the faults mentioned thus far this is a typical PB game and it has the MAGIC!

3 words - I L O V E I T!

…as every Gothic fan should do ;-)

Maylander May 3rd, 2012 03:41

Completed my voodoo playthrough now. Quite a bit different to be honest. Trying both paths is worth it in my opinion.

I'll update later on with more specific impressions of the differences.

joxer May 3rd, 2012 10:45

You're definetly fast, I'm still playing my first run… And am on 7th area.

sherwinz28 May 3rd, 2012 21:01

I don't know how you finished so quickly(no work, no kids?!), but thanks for the review. I've been playing this game this week and I must say that I am really enjoying it. The weird graphic anomolies don't bother me much like the foliage growing…found it strange at first. I have a very old system P4 3.2 GHz with an 8600GTS and play on medium settings. I really like the way PB has done most of this game. At first I was turned off by the Pirate theme but I am now enjoying it. I've got about 10 hours game time into it…more than that in reality due to reloading and redoing things in order to get as much glory/gold as I can. I'm hoping someone comes out with a guide to get most glory/gold and build some uber character…not sure if there is enough gold/glory to achieve that in the game though. Going inquisition this round and will try voodoo next.

joxer May 3rd, 2012 21:27

There is definetly not enough glory in the game to bring everything to 10.
Right now I'm 38 hours in the game and only two things are left to do. Treasure Isle and Temple of Mara or whatever it's called. I've collected all legendary items except Steelbeard's almanach (dunno what does that one do) and currently I have 905 spare glory and these stats:
blades - 8
guns - 2
toughness - 10
cunning - 9
voodoo - 6

I've seen some respawned mobs on islands so it's possible I can get voodoo higher but I really don't see the point of it as because of swords I haven't needed anything from voodoo but potion making for perma-potions that give you +2 permanent to three skills - for example I got +16 from permanent potions for pistols, shotguns and muskets.
As previously noted by maylander, there is no need to improve cunning above 7 (8 if you already have the legendary +1 cunning item) but I didn't know that in my first run so it's 9 on me which is a massive waste of glory.

If we talk about money, then there are some more things to note. As you can see I went with blades but wasted (too much) money on piercing weapons. And in fact most of the game I actually use slashing weapons.
Also what you're not aware of when you start the game is that soon you'll get a ranged weapon - spear, that is equipable and useable. After that I got the knife that's equipable and useable, those are two weapons needed to nail Mara and not bad at all. So in fact maybe it could have been wise if I've improved throwing weapons instead those piercing ones!

hwfanatic May 3rd, 2012 21:41

My first impression was: the game leaves much to be desired.
After 20 hours I feel pretty much the same.

joxer May 3rd, 2012 22:57

Okay I've finished the treasure island, as I do everything thorough I wasted about an hour on it. Not a bad area I must say and it grants you about 7K glory - unless you first go for the treasure and after that explore the rest of the island. In the case you get the treasure first, then do the rest things available on the island, you'll get more glory. Just a hint for those who didn't finish it yet. If I knew what the legendary item (Almanach) does, I'd go for this quest ages ago.

And since Temple of Air/Storm Island DLC is not released yet, man… I feel so unhappy I'm gonna finish the game now. :(

Did Mara in - the game lasted for me (checked the time on the last autosave) 39 hours and 57 mins. Since I've loaded then replayed some areas/dialogs etc on Steam it says I've been playing it for 50 hours in case someone wonders.

Now I know why some reviewers said "the game has many things that are underused". I'd really love to have more areas "beatable" with monkey, more "nuff said" situations, more intimidate to show, hell, I'd love more of everything.
But it's still 8.5/10 for me and I'll replay it as marksman when Temple of Air/Storm Island DLC gets available.

cptmaxon May 3rd, 2012 23:48

all in all was enjoyable I dunno if I'll replay it , while I had a good time, I can't say I had a gothic good time where I want to try out different things:)

joxer May 3rd, 2012 23:57

Yea well I'll replay it because now I know I can sell all those golden monkeys and gold ore from the inventory I was holding all the time instead of training all skills as soon as I could. Pots too, I never used any of those and my inventory is full of that stuff.

Oh and a huge hint for those who play voodoo path… When you control someone - don't forget to open any (empty) chest and to load out items from your victim's pocket. You won't believe what awsome stuff you can get that way.

cptmaxon May 4th, 2012 00:38

I honestly don't know how you got by joxer :) I suffered from lack of gold all the way to the 4th location

joxer May 4th, 2012 00:51

Of course you you can't get rich that early! Only 3 locations are not even close to grab enough money for everything you can learn.

joxer May 4th, 2012 18:12

Doubleposting, yea, I know, but since Ive given the game some more thought after I've finished it… A few more words.

It's still 8.5/10 for me and I'll try to explain why it ain't 10/10. I won't write OMG this part was so amazing and stuff, once you'll play the game you'll see that with just a few adjustments Risen2 had a potential to be this year's GOTY. There are so many things to try here, so many options, even wits tests (for example the boss frog you solve easily when you realize he eats everything on Isle of thieves) and on the other hand hard to believe just a few non-performance/quest bugs of which none is gamestopper. Instead, this year's GOTY title will probably go to MassTurd3 endings which is really a shame.

QTE traps scheme is the biggest annoyance I've added to a reason for giving 8.5/10 to the game. While new picking locks system is IMO great because no breaking lockpicks nor arcade minigame means less reloading, I really dislike rediculously low time interval to react traps (not just jungle ones but also those ones in temples). Final QTE in the fight against the first boss is also not bad at all, even if you miss to trigger it first time, you still don't have to reload the game.

Another annoyance already mentioned and easy to someone but not me is shooting minigame. As previously said, it's not a big problem to successfuly hit 7/10 on normal (medium) game difficulty. But although I've tried, I never managed to grab 10/10. You'll say so what? See, I don't like to have a "fake quest"/"steam achievement" unsolved. You'll also say, so what, another reason to replay the game and that's good… Sorry but a reason to replay the whole game shouldn't be just a minigame that really doesn't add to the story or something. You may also say, joxer you imbecille, just turn the difficulty on easy while doing that minigame… And you'll be right in that case - I was just stubborn to do it in my first run through the game expecting in time maybe I discover something that affects this minigame just like lockpicking, but I was wrong.

While we can all agree that muskets are OP (I've recruited Venturo and cleared aligators with him although went later with voodoo path so I've seen it), who says voodoo isn't OP? If you did play voodoo path and used curse dolls you could finish the hardest enemies in just a few hits. Groups of hard enemies like those 3 gorillas or a pair of aligators on Tresure island? Baah, equip Sceptre of power and they're history.
The only problem in this game is early melee, swords do low damage. But even if you improve swords (as I did), you didn't lose anything as while on voodoo path you can get 45-100 damage sword on Sword Coast before you steal the ship. There is IIRC only one better (slashing) sword (sabre in fact) to get later in the game, and you want to say Inquisition is better choice? Easier maybe, but better… Can't agree, sorry.
Why am I writing this then? You won't believe what I'll just write. Once you make a choice, you get only one crew member of two possible ones. Yea, Chani is really great, she heals you during the fight, but c'mon, I took voodoo path which means I need a damage dealer and not a healer! While everyone will say it's a design choice, it wouldn't feel right in the story, and etc, I find this issue very annoying.

Another annoyance is attribute system. Okay, you can't get everything on 10, and that's not the problematic part. The problematic part is that not all attributes are equally important. So investing in cunning over 7 is utterly useless, in fact (if you'll keep the earring) it's useless over 6.
On the other hand, getting toughness on 10 (9 in fact since you'll find a legendary item for +1) as soon as possible then training healing is awsome not just for fights but is moneysaving thing, you will not need provisions any more so you can just sell them.

It's not the end. While clothes DLC is IMO a rip off and not needed by anyone, Treasure Island is really fun although short. But what's annoying in that area then? The annoying is the legendary item you get as a reward. It's utterly useless if you get it just before the end (as I did). That's the item you should get as soon as possible in fact, not when you're just about to reach the final destination.
It's not everything I've had in mind but those are things I really disliked. The game is really so much fun and tries not to repeat itself anywhere, so an annoyance here or there is really easy to forgive. But once you finish the game, once you decide to replay it with the second faction, you start to remember those things and you can't just say "10/10, best game I've ever played, not GOTY but DOTY (decade)", or something.

Oh and… Okay, it's a pirate game so yucky romances feel unwanted here, but where the hell did brothels disappear? Some players wouldn't like to see them? That's what's RPG for, you don't want to visit sluts, your choice. Just give me an ability to make such choice!

But I'll disagree with anyone who says Risen 1 was better. It was not. Risen 2 went into a good direction. If PB continues with a good job like they did here, there is no way Risen 3 won't be GOTY. Will there be Risen 3? Of course it will. In two Risens we nailed just 2 of 5 "titans". Honestly, can't wait to see the next one.

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