Risen review

  • Vibrant visuals
  • Solid gameplay
  • Detailed world
  • Some bad voice acting
  • Unoriginal premise
  • Combat is pretty simple

Having spent a considerable amount of effort collecting every herb and mushroom we could find, we must confess that we began to question our sanity. The giant vultures, porcupines and killer butterflies that harassed us as we made our way across the island suddenly seemed a little suspicious.

Were they merely hallucinations? Or perhaps, in a twist akin to something out of Lost, the mysterious island was manifesting our fears as deranged mutant fauna. No, we haven’t been indulging in herbal remedies while on holiday, but rather we have been indulging in a bit of Risen, the latest offering from Gothic developer, Piranha Bytes.

Waking up shipwrecked on a tropical beach, you’re immediately thrown into a world of jungles, temples, caves and other assorted fantasy locales, tasked with figuring out where the hell you are and where you can find something sharp to stab the various things that want to kill you, eat you, or eat you and then kill you.

As stories go, this is far from original, featuring as it does the usual world-threatening ancient evil rising from the depths to, you know, threaten the world, but the tropical nature of the island is something that we don’t see often in the genre. And the island is very, very pretty, with dense jungles, active wildlife and beautifully detailed beaches.

Like many of these strange European RPGs, the detail doesn’t end with the visuals. There are a wide variety of plants to collect and mix potions with, meats to cook with and booze to consume, and a multitude of non-combat skills to appease fans of the survivalist side of RPGs.

The AI meanwhile, though not boasting the complex behavioral patterns of Oblivion or Fallout 3, shows enough life to trick you into thinking that they’re not just brainless lines of scripting, with enemies going as far as to loot your corpse, or eat it, should you balls things up and die. On that note, the combat is functional and smooth, though not the most complex experience, and weapons feel satisfyingly heavy.

All in all, there’s little to find fault with here unless you have a grudge against the Gothic series, or the occasionally crap voiceovers inherent to such games. Risen is a solid, engrossing and beautifully presented RPG that’s well worth your time and money.

Oct 2, 2009

More Info

Release date: Oct 02 2009 - PC (US)
Oct 16 2009 - Xbox 360
Oct 02 2009 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Deep Silver
Developed by: Piranha Bytes
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs, Violence
PEGI Rating:


  • Akiira - October 9, 2009 6:33 a.m.

    this review is terrible. its more like a summary of a review
  • dugfinger - October 5, 2009 1:52 p.m.

    Wow, think this is the only positive thing I've seen about this game (PC or 360). Eurogamer even went as far as to say don't play the demo.
  • Moschetto - October 5, 2009 11:34 a.m.

    @HeavyTank: Yes, that's exactly what he should do. Then he'll at least know SOMETHING about the game. Still not as much as a proper review would have told him, but he'd have a vague idea of what the story and gameplay are like, anyway. Then again, he could probably get that and more from Wikipedia.
  • HeavyTank - October 5, 2009 7:52 a.m.

    @gta3mattb: if this review told you nothing about the game you need to buy a pair of glasses mate and actualy READ the review. Also, the reCAPTCHA text: badlands island
  • Juggernaut140 - October 5, 2009 7:04 a.m.

    "complex behavioral patterns of Oblivion or Fallout 3" lol no
  • gta3mattb - October 4, 2009 3:50 p.m.

    Wow this review told me almost nothing about the game. Thanks
  • madsick1 - October 3, 2009 6:43 p.m.

    LOL "balls things up and die," gotta love the UK reviewers!
  • madsick1 - October 3, 2009 6:43 p.m.

    LOL "balls things up and die," gotta love the UK reviewers!
  • e1337prodigy - October 3, 2009 5:21 p.m.

    Just tried the demo on steam. I enjoyed it, I think I might give it a go.
  • JohnnyMaverik - October 3, 2009 12:39 p.m.

    "For such a highly reviewed game the review is kind of short." Thats what I thought, to be honest the thing I'm worried about in this game are combat and plot, and after reading this I'm still not sure about either because the review hardly addressed them...
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - October 3, 2009 12:07 p.m.

    For such a highly reviewed game the review is kind of short.
  • cart00n - October 3, 2009 6:16 a.m.

    @AfricanWoolf: The dif here is that this review is for the PC version, while the review you've linked to is for the Xbox, which, from the sound of the review, is simply a horrible port. Shouldn't detract from the PC version at all...
  • AfricanWoolf - October 3, 2009 4:39 a.m.

    see this is what makes my head sore. 9 is a big statement. It means even if im not a fan of a genre, this is still worth a looky. but then there's this: a review that gives it a 5, meaning, stay away from this game. were there different games or something? I understand personal preference but thats not even in the same bllpark
  • RosJ - October 2, 2009 9:35 p.m.

    It looks a brilliant game. I'm very tempted...
  • RosJ - October 2, 2009 9:34 p.m.

    It looks a brilliant game. I'm very tempted...

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