Gamescom 2011: Risen 2 Preview

Beware of pirates and dress codes in this open-world role-playing game.

Risen 2: Dark Waters is an open-world role-playing game set in the pirate-infested seas of a fictional world. In it you play as a burned-out drunk with an eye patch who uses a combination of witty wordsmithery and swordfighting against a variety of enemies both historically rooted and purely supernatural. But for as much as this game dabbles in the fantastical, it focuses on one very serious issue: sometimes you just don't want to wear a shirt.

Well, at least that was the focus of the somewhat lighthearted demo that publisher Deep Silver ran us through earlier today at Gamescom. It was more or less a metaphor for the choice you have in Risen 2. Your character is looking to meet with an island's governor in order to get his hands on a map of the island. As you approach the governor's mansion, the guards warn you that you'll need to be dressed a little better than that to meet with such an esteemed political leader. When you do charge up the stairs still very much shirtless, a fight breaks out and things head south.

Now, you can continue fighting your way to the governor and strong-arm him, but you don't have to. You can run along and find yourself a shirt through a variety of means, whether that's doing favors for people, stealing one from a barracks, or, one would hope, simply buying one if your character hasn't spent all his money on booze.

As the game expands, you're faced with more serious choices. Meeting with the governor, he offers you to join his employ and hunt down some escaped slaves (or as he slimily calls them, "involuntary servants"). It's up to you whether you want to work for such a dirtbag or not, a choice between filling your pockets and suffering a guilty conscience or taking the high road and remaining a poor adventurer.

Said adventuring takes a lot of forms. Risen 2 is a game where you can freely run through lush island jungles, sail the seas between islands, and upgrade your combat skills to fit your preferred play style. There's also a full conversation choice system with varying personalities to suit a given situation. One of the big goals for Risen 2, according to Deep Silver, is to take all of this openness and use it to reverse the "funnel effect" of the original game--specifically, the way the original Risen started out as an open experience and narrowed your level of choice as the story developed. Now the team working on Risen 2 wants the opposite approach: start with a linear experience (including purposely leaving out a character editor) and let the player control the experience more and more as the narrative unfolds.

We also had a chance to see the Xbox 360 version of Risen 2, which Deep Silver wanted to assure us was going to be far closer to its PC peer than the original version, which was criticized for having a thoroughly substandard console port. There's definitely a noticeable difference, but aside from the predictably lower resolution on the 360, there wasn't a staggering gulf between the two platforms.

After all this, we're cautiously optimistic about Risen 2. It seems to be a game with a lot of options to offer the player, with a setting that hasn't often been used in the role-playing world. Check back for more coverage before the game is released.

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Discussion

21 comments
downloadthefile
downloadthefile

hopefully it's on par with Witcher in terms of choices. love the pirates idea. i wish more games took on different types of professions and roles in life for rpg's instead of just generic hero or the nobody who turns into hero.

CaptainRaa
CaptainRaa

Looking forward to it. Risen almost did it for me but fell just short on combat. I am interested to know if there will be sea battles. Looks promising so far.

theycallmeRP
theycallmeRP

I didn't love the first risen, but if they make the combat a bit more fluid and a bit of a better tutorial then I'll give the sequel a fare shake. Especially if I can be a pirate :)

gihrenzabi
gihrenzabi

This game doesn't take place during Colonial times, unless they had giant Kraken monsters back then...

the22for4
the22for4

i think its great which means ill not buying it by hoping its good.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

sounds very interesting, so many great RPG's being announced recently, its amazing :D

syam32245340
syam32245340

Oh how I love the you-have-to-make-a-decision type of games! Will be waiting anxiously

kaem79
kaem79

Another Gothic game play would be awesome.

dv_mrkn
dv_mrkn

pirates game .. hmm .. interesting, will take a closer look

hrothgar99
hrothgar99

i remember a disney game titles pirates of the caribbean that got shelved ..this reminds me of that .... there arnt enough pirate base rpg games ..pity really ...hope this game is good ..will be following it

supertom221
supertom221

Hated the first Risen, only got it the first time because I heard it was related to the makers of Gothic. Not expecting this one, but i'll keep a lookout.

Chaotic19
Chaotic19

Interesting, i'm gonna keep an eye out for this game. Hopefully it lives up to expectations.

RpgGamer23q
RpgGamer23q

really looking forward to this game, cant wait to get more details on it.

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

I have high expectations for this game, played the first one and simply loved it even with all the flaws. The conversations felt real thanks in part to a (most of the time) superb voice-acting and a greater interaction in the game's World.

az0za
az0za

This will be the best game ever made ARRRR

Dordledum
Dordledum

is that screenshot Harbourtown again? looks similar to the main gate area.

fluent2332
fluent2332

This game will likely go under the radar, but I suggest anyone reading this keeps their eyes on it. I have a feeling it's going to be a gem.

bhmg
bhmg

I loved the first Risen..The absurd difficulty and all possible options to be made ​​in the game.. if the sequel is 1/10 of what the first was...SWEET!

Dante366
Dante366

first one was just a not bad game because of its grafics i hope so this time they pay attention on grafic

shaks101
shaks101

Open world RPG? Count me in.