Risen is an absolute gem of RPG brilliance, highly addictive and uses the Gothic Engine, priceless in my eyes.
Risen uses the same system as the Gothic series which are my personal favourite RPG games. The system is made for PC gameplay, which explains everyones apparent discust with the controls. After getting the console port of Gothic 4, I was majorly disappointed, it just wasn't Gothic to me, it was extreemly dumbed down and linear. But Risen on the other hand puts the almost exact perfection of the PC style into a controller.
To move on to gameplay, Risen is completely open worlded, with so many little areas to explore. There are factions to join, each change the story conciderably but the ending remains the same. Unlike a lot of RPGs the tough and sometimes ridiculous enemies are already there in some places and from the beginning even the easiest enemies present a moderate challange. Your character, the nameless hero (like in Gothic) starts off very weak and armed wth a stick, but as you go on you will gain experiance and level up like it pretty much all games, however in Risen as in Gothic you recieve ten learning points upon levelling up, instead of just learning the skills on the spot you have to find 'trainers'.
Trainers are certain people who can teach you the skills you want providing you have the cash and the learning points to learn. The skills I would say are put into 3 categories, they are; the stats which are strength (used to wield weapons and deal more damage), dexterity (used to wield ranged weapons), wisdom (magic obviously), hit points and mana. These are followed by the weapon proficiency skills, such as Sword fighting, bow and arrow, crossbow, staff and spear, axes etc. And then last but not least are profession skills which you usually only need to learn once to three times, these include smithing, alchemy, scroll writing, lockpicking, pickpocketing, magical skills in different categories, prospecting, gutting animals and acrobatics.
The game world is fantastic if not a bit small, there are always places to go and return to once you have the proper skill, like lockpicking etc. It leaves for hours of fun and exploring never gets boring. There are plenty of quests to pursue and completing sidequests often gets you further in the main story. The NPCs are brilliant, they all exhibit different personalities to an extent and depending on where you stand in the world and to them depends on their attitude toward you. Concerning characters the voice acting it is brilliant and clever, the games voice actors are all typical working class British and exhibit some brilliant witty remarks, insults and praises and it makes a change from the usual Californian people we get. The protagonist is almost always sarcastic and downright rude which at times you just think "shut up" but at other times it will make you laugh.
In order to stop this review dragging on I will stop here. You can usually get the game cheap because it isn't appealing to graphics whores so it is a definate pick up! It is highly addictive and a fantastic game overall, completely underrated.