One of the most addictive and enjoyable RPGs I've played in a long time.

User Rating: 9 | Risen PC
2009 was not really a great year for the good old fashioned non-MMORPG style games that I enjoy more than any other genre. This game really seems like it is going to be the slump breaker.

I'll start this review off by bringing up the bugs associated with the games released by these particular developers and by pointing out that I really loved Gothic 2 (and 3 although it was a little buggy) and this really seems like Gothic 4 to me. It has been much less buggy than it's "predecessors" (in quotes because for some reason the name of this game isn't Gothic 4) but every once in a while you can run into a bug or two. For example I was fighting an opponent in the arena in the bandit camp and he procedded to walk backwards up the 6 foot verticle wall and then kind of get stuck, which I didn't really mind because it just made it easier for me to beat him down with whatever one-handed sword I was using at the time. Long story short, I enjoy the games from these developers so much that the few bugs I noticed in this game were endearing more than anything else.

It is also a very open-ended game. You can pick several paths early on, from joing the bandits to the mages to the imperialist sodiers occupying the city and probably a few other clans I've overlooked. The island itself is also suprising large (I have to admit I was initially dissappointed when I first opened the map because it looked rather small), and you could spend days just roaming around looking for plants, creatures to battle, treasure, etc. For my first run through this game I chose to side with the bandits but I have a feeling I will be playing through this game again and joining a different clan.

If you have played any of the games in the Gothic series, the combat will be very familiar, with some minor tweeks / improvements that you would expect with a new release from the developer. I've actually always been a fighter in these games and specifically a one-handed sword fighter, and the combat for me has been almost identical, except for the few new tricks that you pick up if you choose to upgrade your sword swinging ability (which I've so far mostly avoided since I prefer maxing out my strength).

The side quests are also very entertaining and can be pretty immersive. Of course, there are also a few variations on the 'main quest' as well since you can pick who's side you are on early in the game.

The weapon / spell / alchemy selection is broad and impressive. It makes it difficult to decide which path you are going to follow.

Overall I would recommend this game to anyone that liked the Gothic series or RPGs in general. It's a shame it is so hard to find in stores and there are some countries that have banned it all together but it is still easy to find and download online and if you are a fan of this genre then it will be worth the wait and bandwidth.