Risen 2: Dark Waters review
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This type of progression system is extremely frustrating in the beginning. At the, start you don't have the ability to travel between islands at will, so if you miss the blocking and riposting skill then fights become extremely difficult. There's no way to go back until you get a ship for free travel, so that means tough luck. It's an odd design choice — though it makes sense in theory — that brutally punishes the player for messing up. Since you have to cough up gold to learn skills, you might find yourself farming for gold if you don't have enough.
However, not is all wrong with the gameplay. The quests are interesting, despite appearing to be fetch quests, and the tidbits of narrative and clever dialogue make the distractions worthwhile. Most importantly, the quests don't feel like they they hold your hand with markers for every location you have to go to. Rather, sometimes you have to pay attention to the dialogue to know find your destination. Luckily, there's a dialogue log to run through in case you miss it.
Despite the gameplay problems, Risen 2's audio is an absolute stand out. Filled with great voice acting from various characters, the world is crafted to bring the vibrant pirate world to life. The main character sounds like an ass half the time — and rightly so — and his companions have a certain touch that gives a hint of their origin. In addition, the music is littered with tidbits of Caribbean feel. It's an exotic set of musical tracks that complements the theme of pirate adventures that's so prominent throughout the game.
To match the excellent audio, the graphics are lush with color. Beams of sunlight pierce through the trees, and wildlife are brimming with diversity. The technical power of Risen 2 really creates a sense of journey due to everything feeling so natural. While the environments are well done, the character models seem a bit lacking. Textures appear flat at times, and the facial expressions can be outright abysmal — leading to some awkward looking conversations. Even so, it doesn't detract from the entire visual experience the game has to offer.
Risen 2 is a mixed bag in ways; it is filled with excellent audio and visual parts that don't really match the poor gameplay mechanics instituted, often leading to the player's displeasure. Combat is dull and mindless, not even remotely entertaining, and the customization of your character can feel frustrating at times. Even so, the narrative and the cinematic experience that can be had with Risen 2 is something worthwhile. If you don't mind the trouble you will have with playing through tedious aspects of the game, then it's worth checking out.