Sep 30
By Matt Gander In Reviews 4 Comments

Risen360

So there I was, about to have a rummage around a tomb when the quartet of giant moths that I’d been running away from finally managed to catch up with me. Suddenly I heard a voice. “Don’t worry, I’ll help you!” yelled a nearby farmhand. I knew that his attempts to kill the moths would be futile so I sat back and watched him get stung and clawed to death. And then I went and raided his corpse and stole his weapon, before vanishing into the tomb to carry on my pilfering spree.

It’s during the unscripted events like this which Risen really shines, which is slightly ironic given how dull and washed-out the visuals are. I can’t vouch for the PC version but on Xbox 360 it looks like a fuzzy old PlayStation 2 game at times. If you’re expecting blistering combat then you’ll also be disappointed. The politest thing I can say about the combat system is that it’s simplistic, being merely a case of standing in front of an enemy and bashing the A button. A lock-on function would have been a massive help as if you aren’t standing exactly in front of a foe then your blows won’t register, and if an enemy sidesteps it takes ages to swing the camera around which leaves you open to attack.

You do get the impression though that developers Piranha Bites simply wanted to create an interesting, living and coherent island that’ll take weeks to explore. And if that really was their aim, then they’ve succeeded – the island is genuinely exciting to travel around, with caves, crypts, and abandoned buildings to discover and countless people needing your help.

You’ll need to put the hours though. It wasn’t until six hours into the game that the nameless hero – who finds himself washed up on this mysterious island – was able to take on more enemy than once. To start with even early enemies can drain half your health bar with one hit. It wasn’t until seven hours in that I strolled into Harbour Town and got my first bow and took a trip to the local brothel, and by ten hours in I had only just learned how to make potions out of the herbs I’d been gathering. The developers estimate a good 60 hours playtime and I’m inclined to agree.

You’re free to explore at your own place, just like RPGs Oblivion and Two Worlds before it, but the best thing to do is let yourself get caught by the long arm of the law as they force you to join the Monastery where you can learn new skills. The main character can also use magic by gaining scrolls. Levitation let’s you float across chasms and you can turn into a snail-like creature to go through tiny gaps.

Risen360

Unlike Two Worlds the voice acting is remarkable, with the main character being both witty and sarcastic – two very good qualities considering most of the quests are solved by chatting to people. There’s a fair bit of swearing in the text and a dark sense of humour – some of the more dubious characters that you come across smoke something called brungle weed and smoking this yourself earns +3 experience. Mmm, mellow.

It’s a pretty comprehensive RPG, then. It’s not as slick or as well presented as Fable II, but providing you can look past the muddy visuals and unsophisticated combat there are enough quests to complete and areas to discover to keep this in your Xbox well into the chilly winter months.



Published Wednesday 30th September 2009 by Games Asylum


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About the Author
Matt Gander

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles for the site since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

  • mike

    Sounds like the sort game you pick up cheap when there’s little else to play.

  • Matt

    It’s sad to see the poor review scores this has been getting, like the 4 from Eurogamer.

    The graphics aren’t up to much and the combat is very basic – especially when compared to Fable II – but it’s addictive to play. Not as addictive as WoW is i’d wager, but there’s always something to do or see, or somebody to go and talk to. Or rob from.

    I guess it’s all down to what people look for in a game. I like games that are rewarding and where you’ve got a fair bit of freedom and a long list of missions to be getting on with, which describes Risen perfectly.

  • Vix

    I’m sure that for a hardcore RPG the reviews all look bad – but for me (I’ve never been a fan of the older RPG titles) I think it keeps me from wasting my time.

    I am one of those that enjoyed oblivion and fallout 3 with it’s “easy” mode – while this looks interesting it also looks like it’s ridden with bugs that the “hardcore” can forgive.

    Also I’d go on about RPG and FPS on consoles – surely any “hardcore” rpg fan would only ever bother with the PC version? Each to their own I guess.

  • Darryl

    Being a “hardcore” 360 gamer with over 200 games now, Risen became apparent to me sheerly by fluke whilst trawling through Marketplace trailers one day.
    An RPG fan through and through, both Oblivion and Fallout 3 have been completed to 100% and I was looking for something to fill the void.
    With Two Worlds, Dark Messiah and Fable II all waiting for me, something drew me to do Risen first and boy…am I pleased!!!
    The graphics aren’t spectacular of course, but the gameplay and creator imagination are first class.
    The use of sarcasm, wit and dark humour are fantastic additions to the game and I have truly been sucked in.
    I would warrant this game a generous 7.5/10 purely for the main characters lovability without you ever really appreciating him.
    Some people would seriously benefit from opening their minds and allowing this story to surpass the looks of the game.
    I hope this helps some of you to make a good purchase.
    £14.99 I paid by the way and worth every penny!

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