Testing the Waters
The original Risen game was met with a bit of a mixed response. This was largely attributed to variations like praise for the plot and visuals, to criticism of the controls and difficulty curve. With Risen 2: Dark Waters, it would appear that Piranha Bytes and Deep Silver are largely shooting for more of the same in the continuation of the story for mankind's survival against the Titan threat. At least, that's what it feels like from the preview build I was able to get my hands on.
For those who played the first game, you should be able to feel right at home. The high degree of difficulty feels very much intact in Risen 2: Dark Waters, though not necessarily in ways I felt was fair. By that I mean examples like simply jumping down a three or four foot flight of stairs is enough to just kill you outright. As hilarious as such things are, they were also incredibly frustrating when you're just jumping around randomly and you manage to find yourself slipping down a small hill, resulting in you taking heavy damage for little to no reason at all.
Combat in Risen 2: Dark Waters also feels incredibly clunky as of right now -something that made the first game suffer too. While it is possible to do things like parry attacks from human swordsman, it's very difficult (if not outright impossible until you learn appropriate skills) to defend against creature attacks other than by doing my silly-looking jump, which pretty much means I was left jamming the mouse button as much as possible to keep myself from getting stunlocked to death, as well as letting my NPC helper do the majority of the work. At least health items were in clear abundance, and if you get trashed heavily, you can quick-travel back to town for a quick rest and a health refill.
Luckily, Risen 2: Dark Waters does get a bit easier to manage, at least for the portion of the game I had access too. Building your character is largely the same as before, where you build experience (glory in this game) to level up various specialties, which determine what class you play as. You can also learn talents from various trainers scattered throughout the land... for a price, of course. It's even possible to learn magic in this game (referred to as voodoo) if you learn the appropriate skills. Though this doesn't necessarily make the clunky controls any less so, it at least helps give you a small fighting chance once you level yourself up from being easy pickings.
While Risen 2 doesn't really seem to be fixing a whole lot, they are at least adding some new features to keep things from going stale. Plus, it may be early to say how it's going to turn out. It would be nice if the combat controls were at least workable, rather than being incredibly frustrating to deal with. The game is due out at the end of April, so hopefully they can fine tune everything before then.
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