Review: Risen

If this were the time and the place for bad puns, I could replace my entire review with something along the lines of “they should have called it ‘Fallen (Asleep)’”, or even “Risen should only be spelled with a P and a C”. Fortunately for the readers, Gaming Angels is not the internet leader in bad puns, so I will say instead that not every game is for every player.

Rating: M
Genre: RPG
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Piranha Bytes
Release Date: February 23, 2010


Let me start you off with a Risen anecdote to give you a feeling of what a player is up against: The first NPC you encounter (who isn’t a goblin), is a burly redheaded fellow. He says that you need to find a weapon and then return to show it to him. “Huzzah!” I thought, “I already have a weapon! I stole it off of a goblin not 5 minutes ago (and honestly I don’t know how I would’ve navigated through all of the monster-infested areas without it, the game must want me to have it)!” I equip it and show my ginger friend, to which he reacts with whipping out his own weapon and threatening me to put mine away. I comply, and then he tells me to go get a weapon. This game is all kinds of maddening like that.

Oh man, this is the guy! He is so rude.

The game also suffers from the same plague to have befallen many of its high-definition brethren: tiny text. My TV is a modest-sized HD model, and I had a very hard time reading my menu screens and text prompts. I don’t know who told companies that every gamer now owns a 60” LCD TV, but I would like to bust that myth once and for all. The tiny text made looting and marauding a holy pain, because I was actually interested in what I was picking up and what its purpose was. Though, I shouldn’t blame the text entirely, because the combat system made me feel like I was a juiced-up juggernaut trying to thread a needle. If your game is only going to allow for one type of attack, make sure it can handle more than one boar, in an open field, under ideal conditions, and the boar is kind of sick and at half health already.

Cool shirt, bro. There is plenty I could say about my Risen, eh… “experience”. Only after playing it did I find out that the game was actually a port of a much-loved PC game, which definitely makes a whole lot of sense. On the Xbox 360, Risen never really feels like it belongs on a console. It doesn’t live up to the RPG standards set by Morrowind and others, and its controls absolutely do not lend themselves to controller play (good luck changing them in Options because you can’t!). Risen actually makes me feel bad for both RPGs and PC games, because gamers like myself who don’t like either category would purchase this game and swear off both forever. Though Risen on the Xbox is a noble effort (maybe?), I’m going to have to advise that you pass on the 360 version and opt for it on PC.

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Your writing style is awesome. I love the specific examples of in-game experiences- that's exactly what I want to know about when i'm reading a review.