Platforms
Playstation 3
Risen 3: Titan Lords Review

Risen3_Gamescom_Screen_10

A sinking ship?

Picking up several years after the events of Risen 2: Dark Waters, Risen 3: Titan Lords somehow manages to scrap the pirate theme whilst managing to maintain the most interesting aspects around the seafaring theme. While previous games in the series failed to gain particular critical acclaim, they sold enough to reach the heights of a trilogy and the opportunity for Piranha Bytes to round off its tale. Risen 3 attempts to reinvigorate the series and, while it serves up a healthy amount of new ideas – each with some real potential – it falls short of the mark.

Titan Lords sees you stepping into the shoes of the son of Captain Steelbeard from Risen 2. He isn’t a particularly exciting character to play as, and his edgy demeanour and gruff voice feel overly cliché. It doesn’t help that, in an adventure game about exploration and customisable character development, you can’t pick if you’d like to play as a male or female character – you’re always male. This would be less of an issue if it weren’t for the fact that the story could be told from either gender, and your sister – who disappears after the opening section of the game – is dressed like a student in a ‘sexy pirate’ Halloween outfit. That may sound like harsh criticism, but quite honestly it instantly undermines what could well be an interesting character.

The story really starts when the Son of Steelbeard dies, gets reawoken and heads out on a quest to reclaim his soul from an evil shadow demon. You do all of this whilst fighting off the demons’ nefarious forces as they appear via portals and begin their quest for blood and destruction. Yes, I agree, that does sound rather generic – and also utterly absurd – for a fantasy title, but it’s a strange departure from the great content floating around the pirate theme embedded within. That said, Risen 3 does have some pretty enjoyable moments.

That’s not because of the gameplay though, as it doesn’t do a great deal in making things overly enjoyable – especially through laborious combat. You’re relegated to only having a couple of actions, with your thumbs and fingers only being able to alternate between blocking and attacking – with the occasional ranged attack to break up the monotony.

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It’s a tried and tested system, that, on paper really doesn’t sound all that bad. However, married with the lack of tact from AI opponents, things become tiresome rather quickly – especially as they tend to love throwing out the unblockable attacks. It’s frustrating, and is far too common an occurrence during Risen 3‘s gameplay, seemingly taking every opportunity it can to throw some enemies in your path.

So, it’s not all that enjoyable to play, and (on PlayStation 3 at least) it’s not really the greatest looking game either. For a game arriving at the end of a console lifecycle it should really have droves more graphical finesse than it actually delivers. There’s poor canned animation, low-resolution textures, and frame rate issues aplenty. It’s worth comparing it to its predecessors, and it’s evident that because of the games far larger scale, something has had to take a hit on the console builds, but was it worth it? It definitely leaves a sour taste in your mouth, and isn’t far better than what’s come before.

But it isn’t all bad news for Risen 3. The world you find yourself adventuring around is impressive and expansive, even if it’s not pretty. It’s great that you can tackle quests in any order that suit you best, and it means that additional exploration takes place reasonably seamlessly alongside game progression. It’s not really quite up there with The Elder Scrolls series, but nor is it trying to be. And you’ll occasionally find yourself just moving between locations rather than enjoying the journey, and at times the size feels a bit like an attempt to lengthen the game rather than add value. But that can be said of some of the side missions too.

Ultimately, Risen 3: Titan Lords isn’t that great. It does have its moments, but it certainly feels more like a chore to play through than a pleasure. If you consider yourself a fan of the series, or a serious RPG fanatic, then there’s undoubtedly some good content here to sink your teeth into. However, if you’re looking for a world to explore and just kill some time in – a la Skyrim – then this isn’t really the place for you.

TheGamersHub Score
Reviewer: Ash.W
4.5
10
+ Pros

- Expansive World

- Interesting Fantasy Setting

- Cons

- Poor Visuals and Occasional Bugs

- Unenjoyable Mechanics

- Lacking in Enjoyment Value

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