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Risen 3: Titan Lords Review

My first five hours of Risen 3 were probably the worst I had experienced in a game for a long time. A comment that will be sure to raise a few eyebrows but for a game that is now third in the series surely whoever created Risen 3: Titan Lords has some idea of what to do and what is expected of a PlayStation 3 game. The initial game experience was that bad, the only highlight was when the cat sharted as it strolled across the TV unit, pretty much summing up what I thought as I ventured into this new pirate role playing game from Deep Silver.

If you feel I am being a little harsh with those comments then feel free to witness the frankly shocking intro videos that lead into the games tutorial for what it calls combat, set in a dream sequence where our hero is in the middle of a ship to ship sortie, the graphics resembling that of a PlayStation One title (I kid not) with screen tear, frame rate drops, the camera focus all wrong and textures popping all over the place. The game then leads you across the decks, cutting swathes through the boarding party in a really unforgiving and uncontrollable real time combat that struggles to focus on the real threat with you using a sword in your right hand and a pistol in your left to deal with the enemy before waking up, phew it was a dream, sadly no it wasn’t, as its gets a lot worse before it gets any better. 

Risen 3: Titan Lords takes us to violent oceans, no place for lily livered land lubbers as pretty much everything is out to get you. You play as a swashbuckler from some famous pirate lineage looking to out pirate his father by locating a famous treasure. Things do not quite go to plan, with a mysterious shadow enemy killing you; your sister and crew then burying you on the tropical island where you fell. Brought back to the world of the living by Bones, a rather annoying character who will now fight by your side you find out you are not quite alive, your soul taken by a strange being from another dimension and this is where Risen 3 manages to both create a wonderful world and mess it up at the same time, leaving you to your own devices as after having a very long chat with Bones he gives you the low down on the local islands to visit and what is required of you to start to become human again and also find out what all the shadow monsters are up to. 

There is just so much to do from the very start it is very hard to decipher exactly where to go first as even with the many quests on offer and a helpful waypoint marker it is still not clear. The game will constantly tell you if you struggle to go elsewhere and level up, but thanks to the awful combat system it is really hard to tell if it is the difficulty or just the bad combat that is making it hard to progress. And so my first five hours of the game truly began, island hopping, chatting to everyone which in turn opens up even more quests, dealing with some easy ones then coming against an impassable foe or area. Then certain characters start to mention of another island, one that is on the map but for some reason I cannot travel to it, with quite some time struggling here and finally succumbing to a quick internet search it turns out Bones, the very first character I saw needs to have all of his conversation options exhausted and then as if by magic you can travel to this new island, what was supposed to be actually the first island, where all of a sudden the game finally start to make sense. It still looks bad and the acting is awful but the game finally gets to me, pushing me along that little bit more. 

Lesson learnt, it seems that chatting to everyone over and over again is the only real way to progress here, even having to return at times to find out even more information which can get frustrating considering how bad the in game map is and how big the world is, spread across many islands. Finally getting to grips, the game really unfolds into something a little better than my early impressions, it is still a bit of a stinker but it has its charm, especially once magic becomes your main offense and getting some training behind you for better sword moves though even figuring this out is hit and miss as there is not any real instructions, with many vital areas of the game you just stumble across by pure chance like the ability to purchase spells or even cooking foods for extra provisions.

Risen 3 is not all bad and I would do it a disservice not to mention the strong points, many of which keep you playing the game, like the amazing worlds you visit, yes they can look a bit dodgy but the architecture and level layout is fantastic, the same being said for the monsters that roam, a huge variety on offer, though they are little gits to deal with in large packs thanks to bad framerate drops and combat mechanics. The story and character progression is another strong point, slowly building a strong crew plus being able to spend your earned points in levelling up your character to your play style, you can be a nasty silver tongued pickpocket that bullies and cheats their way through the game or a master swordsman devoted to being good, pretty much every action puts you on the path to light or a darker more demonic route.

With the open world being a bit of a double edged sword Risen 3: Titan Lords throws everything at you in the hope that you can at least figure out what you are doing. I will admit my experience was not that great but once settled the real RPG elements really shine through and make this a much better game, it is just a shame the overall visuals and presentation really let it down.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)

A huge world to adventure
Open adventure
Loads of quests
A deep character creation system and multiple story paths

Frustrating combat controls
Sub-par visuals

Edited On 20 Aug, 2014

( 11 )
Loli-Nox-Tan 11 months ago
I'm not going to defend Risen cos the series is hit and miss but tbh it's not really a PS3 game. Anyone who has played the previous entry's knows that they are PC games with shitty console ports
Loli-Nox-Tan 11 months ago
On the topic of the game. I really don't know why this exists
JoeToots 11 months ago
shut up Nox, you're opinion is invalid lol.
Ash Buchanan 11 months ago
I may actually give the PC version a try at a later date as at least there will be fixes and patches.
Zombieflamingo 11 months ago
Wasnt really expecting much from this to be fair. Might give it a try on steam sale at some point though I am still working my way through Divinity then Wasteland comes out in September as well.
Neil 11 months ago
Eh? Best game I've played in a while, I love how expansive and diverse these games are, I guess lots of people like those train rails... Risen is something you need to stick to to get the best out of it, like the Gothic series, like most games tbh
Loli-Nox-Tan 11 months ago
How dare you Neil! Risen should never be mentioned in the same sentence as Gothic, ever!
Neil 10 months ago
Nothing else even comes close lol I'd go as far to say Gothic 4 didn't even come as close! Gothic 2 was the best one I feel
Loli-Nox-Tan 10 months ago
Piranha Bytes had nothing to do with Gothic 4 and Gothic 3 was sub-par cos it was it was forced out before it was finished. Main reason Piranha Bytes left the publisher with the Gothic licence (The more you know)
Ian1969 9 months ago
I tried numerous times with risen found it dreadful the character acting was like reading from a script and to me I found previous titles stale,I love rpg so gave both titles a whirl I wish I hadn't,I'll be avoiding this one,good review by the way.
Loli-Nox-Tan 9 months ago
Risen 1 is quite good on the PC. I haven't played Dark Waters or Titan Lords yet

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