When Risen 3: Titan Lords first released onto PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC last year, it wasn’t reviewed all that highly. The RPG had a clunky combat system, frame-rate issues, and poor graphics, making it not quite worth your money. However, while Risen 3: Titan Lords – Enhanced Edition on PS4 still deals with many of the same issues, it actually manages to look gorgeous on the current-gen system.
Things Are Moving Fast
Risen 3 follows the story of a nameless hero who is the son of the famous Captain Steelbeard, a pirate leader. Soon after the game begins, the hero dies, but is brought back to life a few weeks later. It’s revealed that he needs to find his soul, as it has been trapped in the Underworld. This leads the player on a quest to get the hero’s soul back by obtaining help from a variety of different magic users on a number of different islands. It’s a not bad story, but the pacing seems a bit too fast, almost as if the developer wanted to skip past certain, and important, parts of the story to get right into the gameplay.
Unfortunately, the gameplay isn’t all that much better. The world of Risen 3 is massive, allowing players to spend hours upon hours exploring a variety of different landscapes and fighting a myriad of different creatures and enemies. Since it is an open-world game, Risen 3 gives players the freedom to explore the game world at their leisure, working on a large number of side-quests and looking for treasure as they do so. It sounds pretty good, and it would be, too, if it wasn’t for the horrible animations and the clunky combat.
Actually, the animations are so bad, that they seem like they could have been taken straight out of a 10-year old PC game, or maybe something even older. The main characters seems to have no weight when he walks, and it looks like he glides across the ground instead of actually placing his feet down. This is only made more clear when attempting to “climb” a vertical wall. I found that by simply walking straight into the faces of cliffs or the trunks of trees, my character would sort of float up them, instead of staying on the ground like he should have done. This makes any sort of movement in the game both look and feel unnatural.
That’s Not Fun
Sadly, the combat also has an unnatural feel to it. There is only one main attack button, and if it is pressed quickly, the hero makes a quick melee attack melee, and if that same button is held down, the character makes a slow, heavy attack that is supposed to deal extra damage. Besides that one button, players are also able to dodge and block, and use a secondary weapon, which is usually a pistol or a throwing knife. Some spells may also be used, although they are hard to come by at first. Due to the limited amount of options in combat, it becomes extremely boring extremely fast. The animations become highly repetitive after a short while, and even using a secondary weapon soon feels like more of a chore than anything else. To put it bluntly — combat in Risen 3 is not fun.
The only positive thing about combat is that it gives the player experience points and gold, and they can be used to unlock and upgrade all sorts of new and interesting skills. Much like Skyrim, players can find NPC characters that will teach them new skills for a certain amount of gold. These skills can be anything from lock-picking to crafting to combat-themed, and there are a countless amount of them. Experience points can then be used to help upgrade these skills.
All of that content was in the 2014 Risen 3 game, however, so let’s move onto the one thing that really sets the Enhanced Edition apart from the original RPG — the graphics. It would be an understatement to say that I was surprised by how good the title looked on the PS4, especially considering how bad it looked on the PS3. Everything is bright and colorful, the textures are detailed, and the environments and special effects look beautiful. While there are still a few frame-rate issues, there aren’t nearly as many as the PS3 version had. Clearly, the team in charge of remastering the RPG did a fantastic job.
Yes, Risen 3: Titan Lords – Enhanced Edition was remastered with care, and it shows, but should the game have even been remastered in the first place? Probably not. Thanks to a story that gets a bit confusing, boring combat, and poor animations, Risen 3 is simply not a good game. The huge worlds, beautiful visuals, and large number of character skills do fight hard to make the RPG worth your money, but in the end, I think it’s a game that most likely should be avoided.
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