Risen 2 features the role-playing game conventions players know and love, but replaces the more traditional high-fantasy and post-apocalyptic settings, characters and themes with classic Caribbean pirate ones. A refreshing take on the genre, it offers fairly unique island environments and an engaging story filled with swashbuckling action and battles with sea-dwelling monsters called Titans.
Risen 2's narrative doesn't require players to be familiar with its predecessor as it's a standalone story. Players take on the role of a nameless hero on a mission to infiltrate a group of pirates and take on the rampaging Titan goddess Mara. To do so they must choose to align themselves with one of two playable factions, the Inquisition or the Natives, and learn different skills and abilities from the characters in their group.
Although your trusty sword is your main weapon, Risen 2 also offers you the opportunity to get busy with muskets and voodoo. Those who fancy their chances with a musket will choose to get friendly with the Inquisition, while those with a taste for something out of the ordinary will make friends with the Natives and learn their magical ways.
Of the two, the latter provides more new thrills - we're all pretty familiar with firing a gun in a game by now. Contrastingly, Natives magic lets you create a voodoo doll with a range of powers; it can be used to assume control of characters to complete quests, or to stir up trouble amongst enemies, or to rile up the local wildlife.
The game also features a number of special abilities dubbed 'Dirty Tricks' which afford players an edge in combat. These include an auto-aimed pistol shot, rum that quickly restores health, a parrot that's thrown into battles to pester and distract opponents, and a monkey that's used for conducting reconnaissance.
Meanwhile, the world itself harbours plenty of collectible items that can be used to improve attributes such as attack and defence, and you'll need to pick crew members that accompany you on missions. Each has their own specialties in fields such as melee attacks or healing, and creating a balanced party is important if you want to avoid ending up walking the plank.
Risen 2 borrows good bits from just about every RPG out there, but its relatively unique setting and story mean it still feels like its own adventure. It's occasionally hampered by some odd behaviour from non-playable characters, voice actors are reused too frequently, and some of the fetch quests are a bit samey, but for those willing to invest the time to dig deep into the world, there's plenty of treasure to uncover along on the journey.
- A real adventure on the high seas
- Nicely realised environments
- Plenty to do
- Occasional bugs
- Some quests can be a bit repetitive
- Not enough voice actors