Risen 2: Dark Waters Preview

Flush the Fashion were invited to get an early look at Risen 2: Dark Waters, the new action-RPG which dares to tread on mostly unspoilt ground.

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Breaking away from the fantasy theme the series originated on, it sports a pirate theme that sticks to every classic, lovable archetype; from fighting rum-swigging, wench-chasing scallywags to locking sabres with eye-patched, bearded captains of the sea. This alone is hugely enjoyable – since there’s barely been a well-received pirate game since Monkey Island it’s an immensely fresh scene – but Risen 2 does more than just tickle that sea-faring fantasy nerve.

In the first location I was let loose on, Piranha Bytes demonstrated their abilities to compete with the best open-world RPG developers when it comes to giving the player a wide selections of side quests and errands to run in a hub area. Set on the fictional isle of Ticaragua, the unnamed protagonist was tasked with helping out any and all of a captain’s shipmates, in an attempt to get into his good books and, consequently, be allowed onto his ship.

This could range from mingling with the riff raff at the inn, involving a surprisingly challenging yet addictive mini-game for a drinking contest with a large rowdy man, or more down-and-dirty missions like holding off a bunch of killer crabs. In each beautiful area that Risen 2 gives you to explore, it also makes sure to give you plenty of things to keep you busy, and washed down with the games’ excellent sense of humour and dirty dialogue, it’s a guaranteed laugh from start to finish.

In the second section, I was given a perspective on how Risen 2 functions in more adventurous environments. Combat is somewhat basic, but is spiced up with a selection of ‘Dirty Tricks’ – in true pirate nature – which can be anything from drawing your trusty flintlock pistol in the middle of a swashbuckling, to using one of the game’s many dark voodoo powers, which can control enemies’ minds and force them to do ungentlemanly things like attacking their allies.

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Risen 2 also doesn’t skimp out on customisation, with every item of clothing making vital changes to stats and combat performance, as well as stark visual imperative.

After an hour or so of exploring the island’s dense and luscious jungle, I had gained little knowledge of a story, but what I had learned was that Risen 2 is a fascinating game simply for purposes of roaming the lands, meeting the locals, and making use of the game’s many tools while fighting through the wild.

Mechanically, it might not be ushering in a new era of action-RPGs, but Risen 2 is looking to be a solid and adventurous title that not only offers a heck of a lot of potential play hours, but one that hits the pirate theme better than any before. Get your cutlass and flagon of rum at the ready, as Risen 2: Dark Waters will be shivering the timbers of game stores in the US on April 24th, and in Europe on the 27th for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.