Yo ho, yo ho a pirates life for me!
Risen 3 released last year on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. The PC version was obviously the default choice for platform preference, but the console versions unfortunately had extremely bad technical issues. Now we have the PS4 enhanced edition that includes all the DLC and improved textures and effects. The question remains, is this version the best console edition?
In Risen 3, players star as the nameless adventurer from the first two games. While the original game was set on one island, Risen 2 added the pirate theme and expanded its exploration to multiple islands. Risen 3 continues this style, and with many of the same characters returning from the second. For folks that never played 2, this can make things a little bit more confusing when characters are referenced, but overall it’s still possible to enjoy the story that’s told. The main character explores an island in search of treasure, is attacked by a spiritual enemy and is presumed dead. Only later does he wake up to figure out that his soul has been taken, and he needs to recover it before he is lost forever. Meanwhile, an invasion of beastly demonic hordes is starting to overtake the land, and a pirates got to do what a pirates got to do…stop it!
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
How long to beat: 25+ hours
Risen 3 is a vast open world pirate RPG, unique in its setting. Yet players familiar with games like Fallout, Skyim, and Witcher 3 will feel right at home with what’s offered, with tons of enemies to fight, unique places to explore, sword combat, gun combat, magic attacks and more. Much like those mentioned, Risen 3 lets players pick up mostly anything, from forks, spoons, vases, meat, cheese, trinkets and more.
The best part is that the character never becomes overburdened, so players can pick up to their hearts content. While the intro of the game takes place on one island, once that is done, the player has the choice of multiple islands to visit, and this can be done in any order. Granted, enemies do not scale, so if enemies are providing a hard time, some areas might be easier to do first. Yet the choices are there, and while it can feel intimidating it’s also refreshing, as the core ideas and goals are presented right from the start and the player has all the options from the beginning.
While doing quests that range from serious to silly, players will be dealing with combat in third person. Sword fighting is a big aspect of the game, and it’s not quite as simple as just hitting a button. If players just button mash, combat will seem erratic and odd. There is a distinct flow and rhythm that sword combat has, along with heavy attacks and dodging and parrying, which becomes crucial to play. Players also have access to a multitude of guns and spells over the course of the game, and it’s really up to them to decide what path they want to go down as they level up.
Leveling up uses something called glory for experience, and as the character levels up, stats are increased. Meanwhile, the player must visit specific characters throughout the game to learn better sword fighting skills, or lock picking traits which cost some gold and glory. Think of it as a trainer to help assist in whatever skills the players wants to improve. It’s an interesting system, but one that’s been seen, and is similar in design to Risen’s previous titles.
Risen 3 enhanced edition does add some new textures, some depth of field effects, and other things to make this version shine even more than the PC when it comes to graphics, which is great. That being said, while the PS4 edition is a hugely improved game over the last console versions in almost every aspect, it still has various bouts of slowdown depending on what players are doing or the locations being explored. It’s far from a smooth ride, but it’s much more manageable to deal with then the last console version. Risen 3 also still suffers from all the issues the game had at launch, from some questionable voice acting at times to combat system that isn’t for everyone, and other minor issues such as animations feeling off.
Risen has had an interesting history of console ports, with the first game getting extremely downgraded in order to run on the original 360. When Risen 2 released, it stayed true to the original content more so, but still had issues. Risen 3 seemed to follow in its footsteps but with even more technical issues. Risen 3 enhanced edition is now the best console version of the game series, period. It looks great, has a unique theme, a fun world to explore, and is hilarious at times, all while offering a very solid, lengthy, and competent quest. Just be sure to know that sometimes it will make you feel like walking the planks with its handful of minor annoyances and issues.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.