Hurrah, Risen 2: Dark Waters (PC) has quietly slipped out for sale. I had it on the calendar for 25th May in the UK, so it’s out a month ahead of the last-heard release date. The UK pre-order DVD of the Windows edition was a complete marketing shambles. There was no Amazon pre-order available for months, loosing oodles of potential locked-in sales from UK Risen fans who want to be loyal to such a great developer. And then suddenly, the actual game appears for purchase with no fanfare at all! What was that all about? Perhaps it’s just my fault, for not avidly scouring the gaming magazines (hint to publishers: plenty of gamers have stopped buying print magazines because of the recession). Anyway, it’s out now. But the console kiddies have to wait until August to play it.
The consensus of the early (and possibly quite hasty) magazine reviews:
* it’s fun
* beautiful world design
* nicely hand-crafted level design
* it’s often quite funny
* above-average writing
* excellent music and voice-acting
* superb ambient sounds
* an old-school PC RPG style
* it’s quite long, 20-30 hours.
The main gripe is about the patchy combat. But then… since when did any fantasy RPG get anything else, in reviews? I played the first Risen on PC using God Mode sometimes, so hopefully a flaky combat system is not going to be a problem for me. And compared to the clunky combat mechanism in Gothic 2, even fighting with an oven-glove and a cocktail stick would seem easy.
A secondary gripe from a couple of reviews is that the early quests are standard RPG fare and lack imagination (they seem to be “collect 6 X’s”, “take this parcel from A-to-B”). And you have to do them, since the game demands you follow the main story path quite closely.
One reviewer complained about “pop-in” on foliage, but only one.
One review said that the slow levelling up is jarring and a bit of chore, in the first stages. I seem to remember that Risen 1 had the same slow start, in that respect. I was fine with it. You just have to imagine our hero has been temporarily crippled by a jellyfish attack or something, and so finds even simple things difficult to do.
In the first Risen, to get into God Mode you typed in “minsky”, then Crtl + ¬, then typed “God”. No news yet on how to get into God Mode in Risen 2.