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Default Impressions after completing Risen 3

August 18th, 2014, 19:49
Great rundown, Maylander! Thanks!

Your description puts Risen 3 on the buy sooner list for me. Hand-crafted exploration plus a better magic system makes me think… YES!
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August 18th, 2014, 20:25
Whoo, this will be a long one!

Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post
Maylander, how long did it take you to complete one playthrough? Sorry if you already mentioned that.
The timestamp on the save game says 31 hours. This is not accurate, however, as I don't think it includes reloading and what not. I'd say it's probably closer to 40.

That is actually quite interesting. 40 hours. Not a whole lot for a game like this, and yet I've said it's huge and bigger than most PB games. What's the deal? The reason is actually quite simple: It's so much easier than most PB games. Gothic 2 isn't a huge game compared to Risen 3 or any of the Elder Scrolls, but it still takes quite some time to complete due to three things:
- Enemies take much longer to kill.
- You'll die a lot more in Gothic 2, which leads to a lot more time spent reloading and figuring out how to do certain fights.
- While you certainly progress in power in Gothic 2, you never reach a point where you can effectively steamroll your way through the game. In Risen 3 that happens about halfway in, after which the fighting is often reduced to a few seconds of WHACK! and you're done.

So yes, the game world is the 2nd biggest in any PB game (Gothic 3 is bigger), but it still doesn't take longer to complete because it's not as challenging.

Originally Posted by bazmod View Post
thanks for that! Really good write up that pretty much mirrors my thoughts on the game. I have to admit I'm never really that bothered about music in a game but playing this I miss the old PB music so much!

On the difficulty/combat side has anyone tried playing the game entirely without a companion? I'm wondering if it might be considerably more enjoyable like this given the lack of challenge and relatively small feeling of progression. At the moment I just feel like every difficult combat encounter is a case of 1 person soaking up damage (blocking or rolling) while the other smacks the beasty from behind. Whenever I've encountered things one-on-one (usually because Bones is stuck somewhere) the game becomes quite a serious challenge
Well yes, that is true. I've tried soloing, or using Jaffar, for quite some time on my Mage now. It stays challenging for some time, but once you near the end it won't be a challenge even without a companion (I tried that on my Demon Hunter). That being said: There is a fight where you have to be solo that is quite a challenge. It came completely out of nowhere and really surprised me, so I won't spoil it for anyone. It's actually quite a fight.

Originally Posted by BrianOConnell View Post
Nice review. I'm early in the game but I am very disappointed with the combat. Basically I am on the first island I visited, Ticuragua or whatever it's called, and I've pretty much cleared all enemies with Bones without levelling up whatsoever bar the first time on the tutorial island. I would prefer to try it on my own without Bones but it seems obvious to me that on my own it would be a total pain to get through so many enemies. I might force myself to do it though because otherwise there is zero threat which is very un-PB like.
Once you join a faction, you'll get access to a healing spell. After that, Bones isn't really needed anymore and you can solo all you want. The only thing you'll miss out on is the occasional funny remark.

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
All those mobs from R2 that ment instadeath if you met them early (panthers, grave spiders, etc) you can solo in R3. Okay, maybe it's easy for someone who played all previous PB games.
This was actually one of my disappointments: Even the heavy hitters weren't heavy hitters. The only enemies in the game with enough firepower to actually be a challenge are the undead shadow beast like thingys, the Shadow Lords and the occasional magic user. Everything else, including Grave Spiders, are rather laughable to be honest.

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Actually PB did solve it as you've said - in G2.
The problem with G3 was it got released prematurely. You can't polish challenges then.
Well, kind of. The world of Gothic 2 is not as big though, and every area is not open from the start. That's part of what I suggested as a solution - keep certain areas inaccessible until you've completed certain quests, and those areas have tougher enemies. Also, Gothic 2 spawns a lot of its heavier enemies in later chapters, which is also a possible solution of course.

Originally Posted by DPB View Post
Which difficulty setting has everyone been playing on? I'll switch to hard if it really does get that easy, even if it won't fix the exploits like roll being infinite invincibility and the companions.
Mostly normal, but hard is needed if you want a challenge. Like Moriendor points out: At least then you'll have more of a reason to avoid being hit.

Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
So what I'm doing for the most part now is mash the 'E' button, dodge, 'E', dodge, until combat is over. The pistol is very effective and WAY too effective against some of the supposedly harder mobs. I can take down a golem in three shots (no kidding and I don't have uber skills or a uber pistol… both stats cunning and pistol damage are in the 45 to 55 area) and grave spiders also go down real fast. Shadow lords? No problem as long as I avoid getting hit by that death wave or whatever it is. Spam 'E' and the shadow lord goes down in under 10 shots.
Seriously, a pack of scavengers or monkeys is way more scary than a golem or a grave spider. Definitely makes you wonder who greenlighted this…
Yes, as I pointed out previously in this post: I am disappointed by the fact that the so-called heavy hitters aren't actually heavy hitters. Getting hit by a golem in Gothic 2 was usually a death sentence. In Risen 3 it's barely a nuisance.

Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
That's a pretty thorough review, thanks. However, I'd like to hear a little more on the soundtrack and how it compares to Risen 2's music. It's a bit disappointing to hear that it's not at all memorable. Not even one single track? Whilst you do note that Kai Rosencranz isn't present, this was also the case in the sequel as the composer was Bastian Seelbach.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis…74C743D5E8B3B2

Interestingly, I've always found that Risen 2's main theme eerily reminiscent of New Vegas's main theme, but that's another topic for another thread…
I still like the original soundtrack more; bit more subdued and contemplatively mellow. I think my memory of the time and place when playing the game was also stronger, which assists in making music more memorable.

Finally, I have to echo the sentiment of GG: The speed of completion is absolutely off-the charts ridiculous.
The thing is: Every PB game so far has had memorable tracks. From the relaxing music in the Old Camp (Gothic 1) and the Harbor Town (Risen 1) to majestic symphonies in Myrtana (Gothic 3), there's always been something that I'd remember afterwards. Even Risen 2 had one melody that I still love (the quiet music at night).

Risen 3 just doesn't have that. It's not bad by any means, in fact it's quite good by gaming terms, but it's not quite as memorable as in previous games. It's a bit of a shame, as it's always been something of a trademark.

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Usually I'm the one who puts a word or two on games soundtracks, but here I still can't be completely sure as I didn't finish the game yet so it's possible I didn't hear every score.

Those I did hear, range from mediocre to under mediocre. Thankfully, none of it is irritating, but I see no reason buying this game's complete OST, if you do find a score you like, buy just that one on iTunes.
Yes, I agree. It's mostly mediocre.

Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Great rundown, Maylander! Thanks!

Your description puts Risen 3 on the buy sooner list for me. Hand-crafted exploration plus a better magic system makes me think… YES!
The magic system really is a huge upgrade. Massive. It's actually the first time I feel a magic system has worked in a PB game, as they usually have some sort of extreme mana constraint that leads to every mage in essence becoming a "battle mage" where 4 out of 5 fights is won primarily with a sword. That is not the case in Risen 3: Once you have access to magic you can safely ignore other weapons completely, yet you can also play as a battle mage if you want to. I like that.
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August 18th, 2014, 20:35
Nice writeup!

Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Challenge
Sigh. This is what I call "The Big Problem". The reason why it's such a big issue is simply the size of the world: It's actually too big for a PB game. No one has ever solved the problem of having a giant world, open for exploration right from the start, while still maintaining a sense of danger and challenge throughout the game.
Here´s my example how to solve this in Risen 3:

when it comes to difficulty scaling:
- have some enemy types which appear exclusively behind the game´s story gates
- make the deadland areas a lot .. deadlier (and more interesting while being at it)
- have an optional unusually difficult encounter or two á la G2´s black troll on each island, or at least on the three main ones

additional changes to support the above:
- limit the invincibility frames on rolls, add in healing animations, manage reviving companions via interruptible player animation
- give enemies bigger diversity of attack patterns, defenses and abilities (healing allies, necromancy, possessing companions, etc.) - player gets a nice arsenal in this game, but the game is massively lacking on the opposite front
- since the world is big and combat is now hopefully more difficult, don´t feel like filling every wilderness area with enemies is necessary - devote some of this space strictly to exploration, questing and passive wildlife

Easy peasy .
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August 18th, 2014, 20:49
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Once you join a faction, you'll get access to a healing spell. After that, Bones isn't really needed anymore and you can solo all you want. The only thing you'll miss out on is the occasional funny remark.
It just wouldn't be *that* if I left him out. Making hats from skin when we're attacking skeletons? Hilarious! Finishing his thoughs about "an itch" on Fog Island (pants)? Hilarious! Spotting sacrificial meat everywhere and in everyone? Hilarious!

Unlike an arrow to the knee…

Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Also, Gothic 2 spawns a lot of its heavier enemies in later chapters, which is also a possible solution of course.
You've just flushed levelscaling/endless respawn crap down the toilet!
Not that I'm unhappy for that. Thanks.

Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
Suggestions…
Not bad ideas, now the problem is how to pass 'em on PB. I don't think those will mean a change for R3, but noone ever said there Gothic5 (or real 4 to be precise) won't happen.
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August 18th, 2014, 22:20
Risen 3 isn't much easier than any of PB's other titles if you play on Hard. I'm pretty sure that 99% of the people who are bitching about a lack of challenge are playing the easier difficulty. It sounds like they made the normal difficulty easier than in past games though.

The only bummer is the instantaneous healing provided from drinking liquor. Since there's no animation or cooldown, it can obviously be exploited by spamming drinks in the middle of battle. I hated it in Risen 2, and it's disappointing that they kept it that way for Risen 3.

Also, my first playthrough was 50+ hours and that's not including reloads (or the endgame). The only way someone finished in the 40 hour range is if they skipped a considerable amount of sidequests.

*Edit* My bad.. that does include reloads.
Last edited by JDR13; August 18th, 2014 at 22:43.
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August 18th, 2014, 23:19
Well I for one am playing on hard. It's not so much that I'm finding it easier than previous pb games in general it's more that so far (I've completed 3 islands) I am yet to encounter a single enemy or group of enemies that have been particularly challenging - as in feeling like I need to level up and come back later. Really though I think it is mainly down to always having a companion, it just makes it very easy to exploit
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August 19th, 2014, 00:05
Originally Posted by bazmod View Post
it's more that so far (I've completed 3 islands) I am yet to encounter a single enemy or group of enemies that have been particularly challenging - as in feeling like I need to level up and come back later
And it's in this that I think PB have failed. Something I have loved about almost all of their games is gone.
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August 19th, 2014, 01:30
You guys are pretty fast. I'm taking my time as usual and I'm at ~30 hours, still in chapter 2. I could become a voodoo pirate or a demon hunter at the click of a button now.
Next stop Taranis to do all of the quests there and then I'll make the faction choice so I'll probably be at ~40 hours before even committing to a faction .
And I haven't finished the DLC islands either so it might even be considerably more than 40 hours since I think I'll want to clear those islands before making the faction choice save game .
Plus, there is a little left to do on Takarigua and Antigua where I haven't quite finished the shadow-infested parts yet (got one-shot wiped out in the Takarigua swamps by a shadow mage… ranged attacks are not fair ).

What's taking me so long is that I'm scouring every square inch of the map and I do lots of experimenting like swimming and climbing in all directions and flying around with the parrot to see if there is something nice on a pillar or rooftop. You can "waste" tons of time just exploring like that.
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August 19th, 2014, 01:40
Sounds like my play style.

I am in no rush to play through all the content.
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August 19th, 2014, 01:46
Wow… After 60 hours (total) I finally just realized how the teleporters work.

Duh…
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August 19th, 2014, 05:52
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Wow… After 60 hours (total) I finally just realized how the teleporters work.

Duh…
lol, one of the reviewers bitched about them being hard to understand, but I found it pretty simple. If you don't mind explaining, what was your misunderstanding with the teleporters?
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August 19th, 2014, 06:08
Originally Posted by Melvil View Post
lol, one of the reviewers bitched about them being hard to understand, but I found it pretty simple. If you don't mind explaining, what was your misunderstanding with the teleporters?
Well you normally have to interact with something to use it in a PB game. Since there's no prompt at the teleporters, I figured I had missed something. i.e. NPC dialogue that explained what I needed to do to activate them.

Of course I noticed the teleporters marked on the map, but I had never bothered to try clicking on them.

I was also thinking that you had to actually be at a teleporter to warp to another. It feels kind of cheap that you can use them from anywhere at no cost.
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August 19th, 2014, 06:19
So what would be the most 'natural' order (in terms of difficulty) to go through the islands?
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August 19th, 2014, 06:56
I started with
a) Antigua (isle of Pirates),
b) then the isle of thieves/gnomes
c) then Taranis (isle of mages)

seems natural for me… follow the hints for Patty
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August 19th, 2014, 07:45
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
I started with
a) Antigua (isle of Pirates),
b) then the isle of thieves/gnomes
c) then Taranis (isle of mages)

seems natural for me… follow the hints for Patty
That seems like a slightly strange order for following the hints for Patty .
Bones says she sailed off to Takarigua to hunt down the seller of the treasure map that led you both into the trap.
Once there -Takarigua-, you learn from Jack that she has moved on to Kila. Once in Kila, you learn that she is in fact there and that you should look for her on the northern island.

Anyway, wolfing, you can do it any way you like. There are easier and harder parts on each island. The hard parts are easy to avoid. Once you have cleared one of the bigger islands like Kila, Calador or Taranis, you should be in good shape (even when playing on hard) to tackle just about everything and everyone.
Hint: Bring a companion and a pistol or throwing knives as your secondary weapon. Turns the game right into easy mode even against supposedly tougher mobs.
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August 19th, 2014, 11:28
We all did it wrong. Following Patty, reporting to Antigua or forcing joining some faction ASAP is… Not rational.
And since I'm too far in the game I just won't restart now. But:
Spoiler

From there dunno if it's possible to grab the hunting item in ruins on that same island that early, but would be nifty since if it works as I suspect it does, you don't need to train two hunting skills at all.

EDIT:
Now I see we got Risen 3 Spoilers subsection.
Right… I'll take a screensot or two later and repost this in there.
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Last edited by joxer; August 19th, 2014 at 13:54.
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August 19th, 2014, 14:50
I haven't even looked for patty yet - joined a faction, demon hunters, killed 2 shadow lords so far…I think I may swicth to hard or leave a companion behind. It is much easier with someone to distract enemies. I only have problems with large mobs of beasts…and I have a cross bow that is way too powerful (spam, spam, spam). I think they should have drinking times etc on potions - you can spam those too (and people will, I do!)
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August 19th, 2014, 20:31
Just head to your faction island. Getting faction abilities is a blast. You'll feel silly if you clear a huge chunk of the game before getting access to that stuff, as you'll be passing up on all the powerful stuff.

Head to Fog Island after you've joined a faction, and then Tacarigua. At least that's the best route in my opinion.
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August 19th, 2014, 20:34
Does the game tell you where the faction headquarters are?
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August 19th, 2014, 20:37
Yes, I'm fairly certain Bones tells you when you're done with the trial island when you talk to him about where to go.
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