Continuing from the last “finished” post, this image shows my character in Risen, the “inofficial” successor of the Gothic series. He is a badass. With the mightiest armor of the whole game, not even the toughest enemies stand a chance against him anymore.
This image shows him at the beginning of the game, stranded after his ship sunk, weak and defenseless against all but the lowliest critters. During this part of the game, you’d better watch where you go and pick your fights wisely. And this is exactly what I always loved about the Gothic series and which Piranha Bytes have transported perfectly to Risen. In the beginning, everything is hostile, and you are a noone. In the old games, even the game put stones in your path with a lot of bugs. But if you stayed with it, you became stronger, and you saw the beautiful sides of the games. And this happened again in Risen.
It reminds me of how I never could get myself to really enjoy Oblivion. There’s just not this feeling of progression if the world around you gets stronger at the same pace as you do. I want to be able to go up to the monsters that were challenging in the first part of the game and finish them off easily. It’s just like Half-Life 2’s gravity gun, the game benefits from this feeling of progression or even invincibility.
As the last screenshot shows, some of the glitches found in old Gothic games are again present. In the screenshot, I’m supposed to fight the guy at the bottom, inside the ring. However, the game thinks I’m in the pit even though I stand up there, and allows me to finish the guy off with a lot of arrows, and he can’t get out of the ring. Actually, this sort of glitch for me always belonged to the Gothic series, so I’m not unhappy about it. The evil bugs in Gothic 3 however didn’t make it to Risen. There are no boars you don’t stand a chance against at any level, the game crashed only once during my playing time, and loading and saving was reasonably fast. They really learned from the bad image Gothic 3 cast on them after it was released full of bugs.
A good indicator of that is also the debug interface, which can be activated by following this forum post, and which solidly shows all important information for debugging.
The story is not that great, but the game lives more from exploring the world and the challenges found there. I missed some more memorable NPCs, such as Diego in Gothic. Also, the introduction to the game is a bit lacking, because it leaves you wondering what happened before. As RPS noted, you are accompanied by a woman in the beginning whom you leave at an abandoned house, and she is never mentioned again, and when you go there she has vanished. Feels like a story thread that has not been picked up.
And one more screenshot to show just how beautiful the game looks: