Risen 3: Titan Lords
Top Critic Average
It's fun to fight in Risen 3: Titan Lords, but other important elements of the experience fall far short of acceptable.
It's a rusty cutlass in the heart of a sequel that, otherwise, is progressive in small but welcome ways. The series still lacks a worthwhile identity of its own and is too quick to run away from its piratical setting in favour of more familiar fantasy archetypes, but for surprisingly hefty chunks of Risen 3 I was drawn in and entertained, at least until another clumsily staged battle soured me again. For those who have been able to cut through the clutter and clumsiness of the series so far, this may well be a small hurdle, and you'll discover a commendably deep and full RPG for your trouble. It's just a shame that such a fundamental feature as combat takes the shine off what could have been the sequel to make Risen popular beyond its small audience of devotees.
Combat quibbles and muddy graphics do little to spoil the fun of this enjoyable RPG.
Despite its oddball shortcomings, Risen 3 is a solid open-world RPG packed with entertaining characters and challenging combat scenarios.
With three different core paths to take and tons of optional adventures, there's a ton of content to consume. However, the combat feels like it could use some work and the lengthy, sometimes absurd diatribes that NPCs launch into can bog the adventure down
Like it's predecessors, Risen 3 provides a rollicking adventure that doesn't quite deliver on the details.
If you want pirates, play Assassins' Creed IV. If you want epic fantasy, play Dragon Age: Inquisition or The Witcher: Wild Hunt. If you want a combination of the two, know that desire could lead you down a very dark road. Please do not buy Risen 3. It is a very bad game.
For such a large RPG, it's the small moments where Risen 3 works best. The game just needs more of them; times when you get swept up in a random quest, stumble upon hidden treasure, or chuckle at a random quip from Bones. It's a game with its heart in the right place and when everything clicks, you won't want to leave.
Risen 3: Titan Lords is an old-school RPG that will appeal to only the hardcore Risen/Gothic community. For the rest, this last-gen offering is one that will likely fly under the radar. And given that well-executed freedom of exploration and passable combat barely balance out the handful of negative aspects, this is one experience that can wait for a price drop.
As much as the awkwardness, the wobbly writing and the ghastly attitudes often pushed me away from Risen, I'd still take its offbeat ambition and clumsy ambition over a slick, impersonal Diablo or a focus grouped Bioware effort. At the same time, sharper, caveman-free writing and a big spend on more accomplished voice-acting would be redempetive – would transform Risen from appealingly odd and into truly impressive. But maybe what's special about this would be lost if it were able to pursue norms. Perhaps it needs to be as weird and awkward and unpleasant as it is. Perhaps that's why I like it so much, even when I hate it.