Risen 2: Dark Waters Review

Posted By | On 29th, Apr. 2012 Under Reviews | Follow This Author @KartikMdgl


I had a tough time getting Risen 2 to work on Steam, and when I finally managed to do that, the game was simply unplayable and running at 10 fps. Of course, my PC is not at fault here, otherwise I wouldn’t be mentioning that. It’s an i7 with 570 GTX GPU, which I think should be enough for the game, or so I thought.

But I did manage to get it running at 40 fps after some tweaking and installing newer drivers, and I think that was sort of a satisfactory performance level for me after what I encountered earlier. I shouldn’t have to settle for that, though. Risen 2 does not set the world on fire when it comes to graphics; it does look great, but not that great to make my PC chug along slower than a snail.

Risen 2 is Piranha Bytes second entry under publisher Deep Silver, and I have to admit that I was a big fan of the first game. I did preview Risen 2 earlier which you can check out here, and while the preview code showed a lot of promise, the full game leaves a lot to be desired. Here’s why.

Risen 2 is a pirate themed RPG, and lovers of the first game will find a lot of things similar here, and as for Piranha Bytes, the developers of the game — some of the design changes they have implemented here a cause for concern. They’re mostly technical issues, as in, breaking down the land mass into smaller islands and what not. I actually preferred how it was set up in the first game, so this ended up being slightly disappointing for me.

The premise of the story is to find a mystical weapon. You also have to take down the Kraken, which is shown at the beginning of the game sinking a pirate ship with all its tentacles. Then it’s just a series of quests which help you accumulate Glory, so that you can dig deeper in the game.

As I mentioned in my preview here, the combat is slightly clumsy and the game is pretty challenging as well, so you need to be on your guards at all time if you are planning to engage in sword fighting and are thinking about leveling that area. Whenever I play RPGs, I tend to conserve whatever is the in-game currency for that specific game, and Risen 2 is no different. Yes, level up the cunning ability and you will be able to steal more accurately and in the end that benefits you.

Ranged weapons are also quite good for this game, as I mentioned above sword-fighting can be a real pain as you need to be quite precise when engaging in that sort of combat. Ranged weapons remove this required precision and makes the game, in my opinion, a lot of fun. I guess for me cunning and ranged weapons are the two areas where I concentrated a lot.

The production values aren’t that high, as there are plenty of glitches here and considering the character models and voice acting employed, it pales in comparison to something like The Witcher 2. Although, comparing this game to The Witcher 2 is probably harsh considering the size of Piranha Bytes. If you have a PC capable of running this game maxed out, then by all means go for it! It’s the way the game is meant to be played.

There are some good dialogues here and the banter between characters can often be a pleasant thing. But it is inconsistent and the quality of writing sometimes doesn’t do it any favours. There will be periods in the game, usually after the first section, that you will be completely immersed, but some quests are so poorly designed that they make the whole thing a frustrating exercise in repetition.

While I think the game isn’t that memorable as the first one, it does have its moments and if you’re a fan of RPGs in general, Risen 2 will satisfy you if you are a bit negligent to its shortcomings. All in all, this is a decent effort by the developers but I fail to understand why they broke down the game into different islands.

The game is already out on Steam and the other usual places, so if you loved the first game, then check it out, or just wait for a sale. Risen 2: Dark Waters will give you a genuine RPG experience, but it gets a lot frustrating sometimes.

This game was reviewed on the PC.

THE GOOD

Fun quests. Lot of character customization. Challenging game. The visuals are good provided you have a competent PC.

THE BAD

Inconsistent. Production values are on the lower side. Character models are questionable. The combat can be frustrating.

Final Verdict

Risen 2: Dark Waters will give you a genuine RPG experience, but it gets a lot frustrating sometimes.

A copy of this game was provided by developer/publisher for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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  • Jon Lambert

    May I ask what ‘Tweaking’ you performed? I’m getting < 10 frames/sec on a I7 920, 2xGTX560TIs in SLI, 24GB of RAM and 2 OCZ Vertex SSD's in RAID0.

    I've updated to the latest beat NVIDIA drivers, tried the 'not installing 3D Vision' trick all to no avail!

    • Kartik Mudgal

      Hey, Jon. Remove the Nvidia current drivers. I mean, wipe them out, then re-install the drivers again. Set the game settings on lowest, then slowly raise the values. Keep doing this you will get an acceptable performance.

  • Jon Lambert

    Thanks Kartik,
    I’ve already tried uninstalling the drivers (completely) then installaling the Nividia 301.24 drivers without the Nvidia 3D Vision drivers. Unfortunatley that did not work.

    I get 40-60 frames per second+ when not moving, but as soon as I turn or move foward a few steps I get 0-5 frames/sec. Even on 1024×768 settings with all settings on low/off. (I can play skyrim in 5760×1080 on high with no issues).

    Maybe I will try what you said, and start on the lowest settings and slowly raise them and see how that goes.

    Either way, thanks for the feedback.


 

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