While big-budget RPG epics like Skyrim tend to hog the limelight, this equally ambitious but less well-known European series has its own devout fan base who are all set to sink countless hours of their lives into the third instalment out now on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
The setting? A lush and varied world which has been abandoned by the Gods and in their place, nefarious forces known simply as the Shadows are spreading and snatching souls including our heros. Cue a quest to get it back, save the world, etc. You know the score...
What this translates into is a handsome RPG that sees you trying to win over the attention of one of three magic factions to help you in your mission including the nature-hugging Voodoo Pirates, the melee-loving Crystal Guardians and the Demon Hunters who are more barbarian than Blaine.
Exploring the games large open world sees you island-hopping to often strange and imaginative locales packed with NPCs to add to you crew, plentiful opportunities for acquiring Glory and new skills, and a ridiculous number of quests to indulge in. Fans will also be delighted with some of the core changes made to the game the piracy-themed setting of Risen 2 has been heavily tweaked to offer a more medieval vibe as found in the original game. More importantly, you can now wield magic again, something that was controversially omitted from Risen 2.
In battles, this means youll rely on magic as well as traditional RPG swords/bow and arrows/hammery things, assaulting enemies from afar with ranged weapons and spells while getting stuck in up close and personal with your melee attacks. The boat combat from Risen 2 is thankfully back and better than before, nicely breaking up the land-lubbing action as you blast enemy vessels and more importantly, blow big, icky sea monsters out of the water (take that, Assassins Creed IV!).
It all adds up to a typically idiosyncratic, alluring outing from developer Piranha Bytes, one which will please diehard fans but also offer newcomers a fresh, unique take on the ever-green RPG genre. And give you plenty to do before Bethesda Software announces its latest and greatest and starts hogging that limelight all over again...