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Risen Review

The time of PS3 and Xbox 360, was a time of experimentation in terms of the RPG genre. At that time, games were released that proposed us to explore vast lands in which we could do almost everything, from being a vandal or a champion of justice. We have the case of risen, of Pyranha Bytes, an RPG released in 2009 that tried to supplant the studio’s masterpiece, Gothic. Although it did not have the expected relevance, at least it had enough to earn two more sequels.

However, in the era of remasters, remakes and so on, Risen is for the current generation, a port direct that brings with it all the things that made the game not stand out at the time. Unfortunately, I have to say that if you didn’t like the game originally, I don’t think you will now.


a mysterious island

The game starts with a boat trip where a mysterious storm brings with it a strange creature and a character known as the Arbiter tries to stop it without success. Our main character was stowed away with a woman and after the disaster they are stranded on the shores of a small island called Faranga. After fighting our way through wild beasts, we finally found civilization on the island, and it looks more organized than it should.

We soon learn that the island is in the midst of a power struggle, as a force known as the Inquisition has overthrown the local pirate leader Don Esteban. Meanwhile, a mysterious temple has appeared in the center of the island, believed to house ancient creatures known as Titans.

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On the island, players can explore a microcosm of the factions and subsequent politics of the world at large. There will be three main factions: a mysterious monastery where they use magic, a camp of outlaws struggling to survive in the swamps, and the aforementioned Inquisition.

As is customary in Piranha Bytes, we will be presented with a choice of three factions with which to ally ourselves, this will visibly affect future events within the game. These choices bring variety to the RPG, and it really matters in terms of narrative and building your own character.


A bittersweet gameplay

Risen Review

Risen’s gameplay is also based on the decision to help one faction or another. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, as well as moral issues that make siding with one or the other a real puzzle. This opens up possibilities for different character builds, which you can make from risen a good candidate to repeat several runs.

Faranga Island, although it is not the largest, does have the necessary density to keep us entertained. It has very varied environments with fauna, flora and inhabitants typical of each area. There’s always something to see and do in Faranga, and exploring could be rewarding if only control wasn’t so cumbersome.

Risen Review

The combat system was not improved and therefore, we find ourselves with a control inherited from PC systems that tries to fit into consoles. To select weapons, we must access a menu that works well on PC, while on consoles it is very confusing. Once we deal with the selection of a weapon, we move on to combat. This one does not have an aiming system and in which we will be hitting the air, and as if that were not enough, the enemies have impressive agility to dodge. This can be frustrating early in the game, but as we develop our abilities and gain access to new ones, it grows in scope and constantly gets easier.

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The game has a progression system that could well be interesting, but the fact that the combat is frustrating doesn’t help much, being level 100. Points can be invested in branches such as alchemy, locksmithing, blacksmithing, etc., while stats we must buy the increments with money. This means that in order to be powerful, we need to have deep pockets, which evens the scale for not being too OP.

a very dense island

Risen Review

risen encourages players to explore multiple solutions to the same mission. Many of the quests throughout the game can be solved in various interactive ways, without compromising the morality system of one good and one bad solution.


As you level up, so do weapon skills that also allow you to gain access to other new skills and moves for combat, such as parry attacks or attacks with large area of ​​effect to help deal with hordes of enemies. The combat is likely to turn many players away, but those brave enough to stick around will find the game partly interesting.

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It doesn’t help that the game doesn’t offer clear tutorials on what to do. In addition, many of the mechanics of the title are not clearly explained either. This can lead us to search the internet for how to play Risen in the best way.


It’s not a remaster

Risen Review

The graphic section of Risen has remained in time. The screen scheme was hardly adapted to 16:9. There are no new graphics modes, texture adjustments or increased resolutions. The game was passed as is to the current generation, which makes the years of when the game was released stand out.

Meanwhile in the sound section, the dialogues have a good level of interpretation by each actor. As for the musical themes, it is not that they stand out much and it sticks to what is a medieval epic game.


Risen for the current generation of consoles is a strange thing to analyze. First of all, being a direct port and coming with all its control issues, it’s not the best way to introduce the game to new players. Although it can have a somewhat interesting story and witness different events, depending on the chosen faction. Gameplay-wise, it has good intentions and mechanics, but the cumbersome and unintuitive control doesn’t help the cause.


Note: This review was made on the Xbox Series X version and the code was provided thanks to THQ Nordic.

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