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PC, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Piranha Bytes
Publisher: Deep Silver
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

I imagine that game developers have a checklist somewhere in their studios for what they’re looking for in a game, and would be pretty sure that Piranha Byte’s Risen would meet a good portion of those demands. Beautiful visuals? Check. Expansive world  that’s tons of fun to explore?  Check. No nagging technical issues? Ladies and gentlemen..we have an issue.

Risen is a great looking, deep and enjoyable RPG experience that everyone from RPG newbies to seasoned veterans can enjoy -- but a slew of nagging issues, both on the technical and gameplay side keep it from being a truly great game. More often than not, just as the game begins to pick up some speed and become enjoyable, it shoots itself in the foot and does something so incredibly frustrating that you’ll wonder if you want to pick up the game again.

The game’s story begins with your character being shipwrecked on Faranga; a mysterious tropical island inhabited by both humans and some pretty weird creatures. The best part? You seem to have arrived smack dab in the middle of a three-way civil war. Taking part in this conflict, you’ve got the Outlaws – which as you can probably guess are the bad guys, the Inquisition (guess what they do!) and the Mages, the island’s original inhabitants.  The war creates the game’s main back story, which unfolds over four chapters and takes around sixty to eighty hours to complete.

"’re always encouraged to go off the beaten path..."


The story itself should be enough to hold player’s interests but what really makes this game is just how fun it is to explore the world of Faranga. Make no mistake about it, the game is massive and you’re always encouraged to go off the beaten path to see what else you can find. Even cooler, you’re going to find that the world in Risen is quite alive and you have a direct effect on it. Feel like being a jerk? Join the oppressors and torment the innocent. Of course, you could always be the classic good guy and stop the oppressors – but really, where’s the fun in that? Sure, it’s a gimmick – and sure, it’s been done before, but the world in Risen is so expansive, you’ll forget that this is nothing new completely.

One thing that blew me away was just how good Risen looks, especially for a game that hasn’t really been pushed in the mainstream. Characters are crisp, animations are fluid and some of the environments are jaw-droppingly detailed. That being said, you’re going to see some issues if your system isn’t up to speed but if it is – Risen is a testament that a game doesn’t need a big time marketing strategy to impress.

So everything sounds great so far right? Not so fast. Risen’s combat system is so awkward and boring; it makes you wonder if you’re playing the same game that caught your attention a few minutes ago.  There’s one button for attack and one for block. Yep, that’s it. As you progress through the game you’ll learn new skills, including a few pretty cool spells and some new attacks, but still – there’s a line between simplicity and boring, and Risen’s combat system is on the wrong side of it.

"...a fun and deep roleplaying experience that is sure to surprise a few folks."


The class and character progression system in Risen is much like that of the incredibly successful Oblivion. After finishing certain quests or objectives you’re awarded skill points to put towards whichever skill you want to level-up.  Interestingly enough – if you really want to advance quickly on your chosen path, you’ll have to find the masters to gain their knowledge. For instance, if you’re looking to be combat centric – go out and find a fighter. It’s a cool little gimmick that works well with the expansive world.

Risen isn’t a great game due to a few nagging issues, but it is a fun and deep roleplaying experience that is sure to surprise a few folks. With an expansive world, lush, detailed environments and an engaging story, Risen could be the sleeper of the holiday season. 



CHEATS USED: One Hit Kills, Super Health, Super Speed, Super Jump, more

The trainer for Risen get’s such a high score basically for just how many options it gives you.  Instant Kills, One hit kills, Super Health, Instant Health – and that’s just the first few cheats. Giving you all of these options, especially in a large RPG like Risen means that you get more to customize inside the game itself.  Want to be strong in more areas than you can get enough points for? You can. Then, you’ll also be able to get a number of options unavailable in the standard game like super speed, super jump and the ability to attack from a great distance.

Mmm..that’s some good cheating...



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