I’ve recently been producing a 24 hour gaming event for the new Dragon Age Origins game. It’s a massive 3rd-person fantasy RPG for PC and consoles so it’s going to be hard for anything to top it. Risen developed by Piranha Bytes recently came through my door so I thought I’d give it a go and see how it fares.
The game begins when you, as a stowaway, are shipwrecked on an island called Faranga. You then slowly begin to work your way into the politics of two factions (the bandits and the inquisition) on the island and explore and talk to townsfolk in the process. It’s actually a large RPG with plenty of areas to explore, upgrades, armour and magic to collect. In this respect it’s not bad at all. Unfortunately the game is so bogged down in clunky controls, poor execution and a counter-intuitive menu and interface that it’s not a joy to play.
The first thing you’ll notice is the poor presentation. The graphics are muddy and bland, cut-scene camera shots jump all over the place and characters wave their arms about when they talk like very bad amateur dramatic students. The voice acting is quite good though even though it’s low in the audio mix.
Then there’s the combat. Basically you just hit one button to hit things with a sword or club or fire spells. There’s a sort of lock-on feature but it soon loses track of creatures when they flank you and that’s when you usually end up rather dead.
And don’t get me started on the map and inventory screens, at least on the Xbox 360. RPGs should be about exploring the world you’re in, not trudging through menus and pressing odd button combinations on the d-pad to find what you’re looking for or swap an item in or out.
I’m sure this system works better on the PC and I’m also fairly sure the game will play much better on there, coupled with the fact that hardcore RPG gamers will probably get sucked into the world and actually get a lot of enjoyment from it. Unfortunately, on the Xbox 360, the game just doesn’t work for me. If you want a solid RPG on your console then get yourself Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition. It’s got all the expansions included in it as well!
Risen on the Xbox 360 gets an average 5 out of 10.
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