One of the upcoming games set to drop in August is Piranha Bytes and Deep Silver’s Risen 3: Titan Lords. The game is a sequel to Risen 2: Dark Waters and yet it’s also a continued throwback to old-school RPGs where messing up once would cost you the entire game and hand-holding was just something you did when someone you liked was nearby watching you play and you decided to hold their hand.
In today’s generation of gaming role-playing games are nothing like the way they used to be: we have pointers, markers and checkpoints every couple of seconds to ensure that gamers never get lost, never lose their way or never mess up. We have easy choices so no matter what choice a player makes it’s never the wrong one. We have easy combat, so no matter how you build your character you’re always the galaxy’s, the land’s or the world’s number one badass, and we have plenty of move-along plot devices to ensure that players know that they’re doing things the right way.
Well, Piranha Bytes hopes to bite that trend in the butt, just a little bit, with Risen 3. The game makes some advancements and takes some steps back as far as gameplay, mechanics and pageantry go. For instance, even though the story is rather generic: The hero character is one day stripped of his soul and must go on a fantastic journey to acquire the aid of legendary mages in order to restore it, players will not be able to customize or create their own hero character for the journey but they can upgrade the main protagonist with new weapons, abilities and armor.
In case that’s not spelled out well enough, you won’t be able to play a female (cue gasps from social justice warriors).
Nevertheless, the developers have tried to give the protagonist enough of a personality to warrant their justification for keeping things pretty straightforward with a static hero archetype. Wit, humor and a bit of personality have supposedly been sprinkled into the mix to create an immersive lead that players will eventually grow on (or so, I imagine that’s what the developers hope for).
The game itself is a typical semi-open-world affair where players will venture through medieval lands to meet with various characters, grow their skills and attributes through numerous battles against humans, monsters, animals and mythical creatures alike, as well as learn to not get in the way of the NPC companions who will join in on the adventure.
The combat of the game – which is arguably one of the most important aspects of any RPG that isn’t turn-based – is passably decent. You get your standard attacks, your counter-attacks, the ability roll or dodge, as well as magic abilities that can be utilized from a item bar that looks like it took a time machine out of 1997.
One thing worth noting about the combat, though, is that it’s possible for enemies to do a lot of what the player is capable of doing. So you’ll see enemies roll, block and dodge attacks just like the player-character, creating a dynamic battlefield at times. The re-introduction of magic into the fold also adds an extra layer of strategy during the fights, as magic attacks had been removed from Risen 2 in place of more firearm-oriented combat antics.
To keep some of the game’s appeal mixed up and diverse, Piranha Bytes has various mini-games and treasures sprinkled throughout the game. So exploration is most definitely encouraged, even though the game mechanics are somewhat limited in how the exploration takes place (there is no parkour like in Assassin’s Creed, so it sometimes requires a bit of creativity to get around).
As for the mini-games, players will be to partake in various activities outside of the standard main and side-quests. For instance, there is an archery mini-game available where players attempt to get their arrow as close to the bulls-eye as possible. Also, there are other interactive-world activities such as being able to lock-pick doors and treasure chests in order to access areas that aren’t easily reachable.
There’s really no telling how well players will take to a game like this. The limited customization will instantly keep certain gamers from wanting to give the game a chance. However, the hard-as-nails combat and free-form character scaling – as far as attributes, stats and abilities go – could give gamers looking for a serious challenge a bit of something to tide them over until Wasteland 2 comes out of Early Access, or Project Eternity drops for public consumption.
You can look for Risen 3: Titan Lords to launch on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 this summer starting August 12th. For more info feel free to pay a visit to the game’s official website.