Good ideas gone wrong
I was in fact one of the minority who never really cared much about that, as I love open ended sandbox games, and I just saw through that lack of polish. And those games are to date some of my best role playing experiences on PC.
So, I was looking forward to Risen 2, and also braced myself for the regular dose of glitches and bugs. I am forgiving to these things, because after all it is hard to test every scenario in a game where you can do things in a vast number of ways, right?
Even huge titles like Skyrim has a large number of glitches, it is just damn hard to weed them all out when you give the player the ability to play the game any way he wants.
Well, the main problem with Risen 2 is that they kept the bugs, but nearly removed the sandbox experience!
It is now much more linear, and whenever they do offer some player choices, I kept being disappointed by glitches anyway. For example, it was the rule rather than the exception that I would finish quests before they were given to me, because I chose a tiny bit different approach than the game designers were imagining. And they are really quite careless about how they restrain you sometimes. For example, try to swim in the ocean and you just get teleported back to the shore. Quick and dumb fix to a problem the game designers didn't want to be bothered with.
i don't like to use the words dumbed down about games, because some of my favorite games are indeed pretty dumb and simple, but this game has seriously been dumbed down compared to past RPGs from the same company, yet still suffer from trying to carry its own weight. You can barely move where you want anymore, big mountain passes and convenient barriers keep you within a limited and controlled area. Although you can explore a bit, exploration is just really watered out and unrewarding. The world just seems like a dead, static backdrop, where you can in fact do almost nothing.
However, the main issue which hits you in the face right after you start to play is how amazingly glitchy the 3D engine is! Flickering shadows that seems like they got Parkinssons, ugly object pop-up right in front of your face even though I set view distance to the furthest possible, plants that suddenly shrink in front of you for no apparent reason, ocean waves that somehow comes up from dry land, people walking around in the air, weird looking animations, flickering vegetation and the list just goes on and on.
It's like the developers just stopped caring at some point. Basically it is nearly impossible to immerse yourself into the world.
Then, as if the glitches were not enough, the graphics is basically not that great to begin with even if the 3D engine was working perfectly. It's something you would expect from a game ten years ago, except for the landscape which does not look to bad, at least not in a screenshot before all the glitches become apparent.
So, how about the game itself? You will spend quite a lot of time trying to improve your character. This is the best part of the game. You can improve a long number of skills, including voodoo, which is is a pirates worlds magic. You can wear different clothes with different advantages, buy or build weapons, and do piratey stuff like intimidate people or fight dirty.
You'll notice the dialogue is quite adult, if swearing a lot can be called adult. The grown up dialogue also helps a bit to make the game more authentic for the pirate theme. However, the story is not that interesting, it's just there in the background to help keep things moving on. I just skipped most of the cut-scenes, the animations were just plain awful.
The voice acting is not half bad though, and might be the only thing that will help immerse you into the game.
I think I won't be going back to this game to finish it. It was released prematurely, is full of glitches that should never made it to release. I love the idea of a pirate RPG, and they do have a lot of cool ideas in there, but it is just not implemented well. The game feels dumb, unpolished and half hearted. I regret spending a premium fee to buy the game.