The Risen Report #6: Grinderman

By Alec Meer on October 21st, 2009 at 11:39 pm.

After 12 hours of adventuring, I’ve finally got a hat. Man, I love hats.


I wish I had some incredible story to share with you about its orgin, or a grand tale of how it can explode wolves with a thought, but sadly it’s all pretty humdrum. I beat up some skeletons, and in a box behind them, there it was. The Most Boring Hat In The World. Still, it looks slightly ridiculous and ill-fitting, and I’ll take that over Nameless Bland-Faced Player-Character’s buzzcut any day.

Risen doesn’t do character customisation, not really. There’s no option to tweak the character’s appearance when you create him, and armour isn’t exactly something you get to choose. Prior to my sulky incarceration in the monastery, I’d only had one chance to upgrade my bedraggled starting rags to something a little less hobo-like. Come monastery-day, I was almost immediately given some robes that offered dramatically better protection but made me look even more boring. A little later, once I’ve completed all the monastery leaders’ quests, I get some some better robes – and, frankly, I’m expecting to be in these for quite some time.

Why doesn’t Risen want me to pick clothes I like, or give me more stuff to spend my increasingly huge pile of stolen cash on? At a guess, it’s about the game remaining serious – if I’m running around in a voodoo mask and a pink frilly shirt, it’s going to be at odds with the relentness grimness of this world. I can’t say I like it this way, but then again it means when I do find a crap hat after 12 hours, it’s quite the event. (Two hours later, I found a slightly better hat, curiously). It also means I’m focused on the world, not on my statistics.

Well… that’s not entirely true. Though its world takes a ton of time to travel across, Risen is a surprisingly small game in a lot of ways – for instance, the limited selection of armour. Similarly, there aren’t that many different skills to learn. I mean, there are plenty -alchemy, smithing, sneaking, pickpocketing, acrobatics (falling damage decrease), lockpicking, swords, staffs, axes, bows and a few different magics (some of which my character, as a mage/warrior hybrid, doesn’t have acess to) – but they’re easy enough to come by and so tightly bound into the overall fabric of the game that it seems entirely feasible to learn them all.

And that’s why I find myself grinding. I don’t like feeling like I’m missing out on something, so I’m roaming the land looking for minor quests and anything I can kill, just in the hope of levelling up so I can earn 10 more precious Learning Points. 5 learning points gets me an upgrade in a crafty or stealthy discipline or a strength, dexterity or mana boost, while 10 buys me a significant upgrade to my sword, staff, axe or bow prowess, or to my new Magic Bullet, Fireball or Frost spells. Must level must level must level must level…

I want it all, and that means I’m currently an XP-crazed jack of all trades. Once again, my coming to the monastery, ostensibly something of a starting area, so late in the game, has had some major effects. If I’d have come straight to the Monastery, I would now be a master of staves and spells. Instead I’m also pretty good at swords and stealth. What should I now stick with? Or is this going to be like an Elder Scrolls, and in due course I’m going to become fairly overpowered at everything anyway? It’s a funny business, but I do dig the versatility. I am OmniMan!

But I’m certainly not Superman. I’m finding melee combat increasingly punishing, running into more and more things that can instantly swipe off most of my health bar if I dare to drop my guard for even a second. I’m amazed everyone reading this didn’t hear me screaming FUCK OFF FUCK OFF FUCK OFF at the top of my lungs this morning, when I was circled by approximately nine Black Wolves at once and couldn’t even try to hit back without them all savaging me the second I lunged.

Tiresome. Too much dying. Too much reloading.

The new magic helps, able to whittle an enemy down at range (and much more fun than the super-tedious archery, which is the one skill I’ve almost entirely neglected), but my mana is so limited from having earlier poured everything into weapons and strength that it only buys me a little time before having to go toe-to-toe with something nasty. Essentially, I need to level a whole load of times and make myself a specialist of something – and that’s why I’m grinding.

As I do, the game is becoming steadily more fantastical, and steadily more action-orientated. Ghouls, giant crickets, an ogre (who I had to run away from), terrifyingly huge scorpions, and some sort of shaven, demonic gorilla thing (who I also had to run away from)…

I sense my time spent moralising in settlements of men may be drawing to a close. Does only the killing of beasts lie ahead now? As long as there’s more hats, I won’t mind too much.

, .

81 Comments »

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  1. Heliosicle says:

    Ouch, so are you fighting enemies that are levelled above you, have you just put your points in the wrong skills, or do you just suck? :P

    I’m actually liking the sound of the structured levelling up and item finding, and the other stuff.

    Good writeups anyway!

  2. damien says:

    demonic gorilla thing. mmm. the ashbeast.

  3. Railick says:

    This game sounds worse every time you write about it.

  4. slybri says:

    I was scared as hell of those Ashbeasts and Ogres at first. Then I boosted my strength up to 130 with potions and found the Beserker Sword. Now I can kill them in two swings.
    Alchemy 3 is the best skill in the game. Get it early and save your herbs!

  5. malkav11 says:

    If it’s anything like Gothic, no, you can’t become an Elder Scrolls style omniperson. There simply aren’t enough points to go around. Moreover, in the Gothic games there were things you simply couldn’t learn / couldn’t get to equip depending on your faction. For example, a mercenary in Gothic II will never learn how to cast magic at all. But they get some pretty sweet armor and weapons that no one else does.

  6. Freudian Slip says:

    Tedious archery? Shame, thats what I always go as in RPGS a stealthy archer. Sneak Crits with a Bow in Oblivion, mmmmmmmmmmm.

    • Taillefer says:

      Alec’s character just hasn’t concentrated on it. Archery is powerful if you specialise in it, but otherwise pretty weak. Taking down animals with a single arrow feels good.

  7. qrter says:

    No Shadowbeasts in Risen?

    • Taillefer says:

      There’s some clever foreshadowing of a certain creature. With its name being used in expressions occasionally, which was a nice, fairly subtle touch. Eventually bits of information are revealed to add to this sort of legendary status. But it’s a huge let down. Kind of like how Heroes works. It’s certainly no shadowbeast.

      Also, no troll equivalent. :(

    • Cvnk says:

      You want them to get sued or something?

      Although I doubt Spellbound would notice since whatever they’re making seems to be quite a departure from the Gothic games we know and love.

  8. Digitali says:

    I started playing Risen the weekend before last and dropped twelve hours into it Monday and yesterday. This is about as close to Gothic as you’re going to get. Gothic 3 has horrible load and save time issues that were barely addressed with the community patch.

    That out of the way, I just joined because I wanted to prop you for these reports. I was excited when this came out and am enjoying it immensely. Listening to you make your way through the Risen world is quite the entertainment event.

    A couple of things about the game, though. It seriously needs a mini-map. The journal should do more than just document your discussions. Half the time, I finish some dialog and still have zero idea what to do.

    Looking forward to the next edition of the report.

  9. Alistair says:

    You know there’s a quest map?

    I just fired up the G3 demo and tweaked its ini file. (Looks surprisingly good IMO.) No particular issue with saving and loading here. SSD though.

  10. Jezebeau says:

    Honestly, I’m just glad that combat is more difficult if you’re a jack of all trades. The necessity of being a fighter/mage/thief in Elder Scrolls really annoyed me.

    • Vinraith says:

      “The necessity of being a fighter/mage/thief in Elder Scrolls really annoyed me.”

      Huh?

      I’ve never played through an Elder Scrolls game without a focused character, and I’ve never had any problems getting through game content. Hell, I hate to say it, but you could beat un-modded Morrowind with nothing but a weapon skill I suspect, that game was dead-easy.

    • Kanamit says:

      Not if you max the difficulty slider.

    • Vinraith says:

      Again, huh? I always max the difficulty slider, it’s the only way to make things even remotely interesting, but it’s still crazy easy once you’re level 40 or so.
      Don't get me wrong, Morrowind can be modded into something that's decently challenging, but it really does take mods to get it there.

    • Kanamit says:

      I have no idea what level I eventually got to but, as a mage (or whatever Morrowind calls it) my character was extremely weak early on and was still fairly fragile when I beat the House quest chain.

      I tried playing a fighter and found it to be nearly impossible. You’re just too vulnerable early on.

      Damnit, now I want to play Morrowind again.

      • forgetdeny says:

        It’s quite possible. I nearly always play Morrowind with a Rogue (fighter/thief) character, then send him off to do the mage quests later on in the game. It’s also possible to become head of both Fighters and Thieves guilds, despite what many believe.

    • Kanamit says:

      Actually, come to think of it, I played the game with a leveling mod that overhauled the entire system. So maybe that made it a lot harder.

    • Vinraith says:

      Oh, sure it’s hard early, I’m talking about the terminal difficulty of the game. Once you’re up around 30 or 40 everything becomes a breeze, even the final battle, and you’ve usually got 20+ levels left to go at that point.

      • forgetdeny says:

        I always found that levels 1 – 10(ish) were quite difficult, but at that point it starts becoming a power fantasy. I agree that Dagoth Ur is ridiculously easy – half the time I don’t even really bother to fight him once I’m in the chamber. When you get to the point where you can literally fly everywhere, it becomes an entirely different kind of fun game. I feel like Morrowind got this balance quite well, whereas Oblivion and Skyrim are too easy at the beginning to make you feel that rewarded by your power at the end.

    • bill says:

      as for me, i was playing as a theif/fighter in morrowind… but it got really annoying when almost every enemy (or even random shopkeepers i pissed off) seemed to be able to launch insta-kill spells at me.

      (plus i made the mistake of installing Tribunal before i played, so every time i tried to sleep an assassin appeared and insta-killed me with a magic blast).

      So i spent ages running round and trying to learn some kind of reflect spell, or get some enchanted reflect armour, or something.. then my computer died. oh well.

      • forgetdeny says:

        If you manage to kill those assassins (entirely possible, I look forward to them, it just takes a lot of positioning and whittling away – try to sleep in places with lots of allies like the Balmora fighters guild) then you get pretty good armour and weapons really early. Then when you kill the next one you can get a really good cash boost if you go to Creeper or the Mudcrab.

    • Heliocentric says:

      @bill 3 words

      “Breton or atronarch”

  11. Frosty840 says:

    The thing that has always bugged me about Gothic/Risen games is the frequent quickloading.
    Not that I’ve got anything against quickloading itself, I still prefer it to bloody, bollocking checkpoints in console-trash games, but Risen takes it to a quite astonishing level.

    In your average, day-to-day game, you’ll quickload a particularly difficult sequence four or five times, before smugly pulling off that final kill and gleefully staring down at a pile of eminently lootable corpses.

    Risen, on the other hand, will have you loading a particular fight ten or fifteen times, to kill off FOUR SODDING GNOMES.
    Gnomes are the second or third enemy you find in the game. They’re not difficult to beat, individually, but when facing four of them, or four of any enemy in the game, actually, you’re immensely disadvantaged.

    The result is that the linear experience of your character is one of unparalleled success and combat prowess, lithely dancing out of the way of his enemies, while simultaneously fireballing them all to death, or somesuch. Your experience as a player on the other hand is generally that of someone playing at far too high a difficulty level (even on the lowest difficulty level) and leaves me, at least, with the suspicion that the nameless protaginist is having a lot more fun in the combat sections than I am.

    • Tei says:

      I found very fun wen I die, but freddy continue fighting and eventually win. Like, we are doing it almost good, 50% good. But I have to quickload anyway because Fred alive and I dead is not a acceptable result.

    • Schmitzkater says:

      To be quite honest I never really understood what all that quickloading in Alec’s post was about.

      Though I do have to quickload occasionally after an enemy to hard for me to tackle has killed me, I surely didn’t have to load 10 times or even more just for one fight?

      Although Splinter Cell has planted quicksaving firmly into my brain in Risen and the Gothic games rarely do I have to reload more than once or twice per hour. I’m not trying to sound cool by saying that but rather wondering why so many people actually seem to have such a hard time during combat?

  12. Eschatos says:

    I just started, and so far it looks like the world is tiny. How much does the world expand past the monastary/don’s temple/port city?

    • Taillefer says:

      You’ll get a complete map, later. But it doesn’t extend that far beyond those places. It doesn’t seem like much, but there’s a lot packed in there to explore. The map uses a lot of different elevations, so the surface area is much larger than a 2D map shows. And it’s full of caves and underground sections.

      You can actually explore most of the map during chapter 1, which can be fun. But don’t expect to be able to kill anything that awaits you.

  13. Morti says:

    piece of advice, Alec. As a mage I can tell you that the single most useful spell in the game is conjure skeleton. Try to get hold of a couple scrolls of that thing. Basically it’s a summon, which lasts until it’s killed, which is quite hardy and great at pulling aggro. Basically this means you can flank anything and not die ever again.

    Ever.

    • Morti says:

      On a second note, I prefer crossbow to bows. The right click aim sniping thing is really nice, and it requieres strenght isntead of dexterity, so it goes better with my melee skills.

    • Taillefer says:

      Yeah, you can’t really go melee and bows. But bows are much stronger than crossbows for a specialised archer because they get a damage bonus from your stats, crossbows don’t. Unless I’m mistaken.

  14. Bandersnatch says:

    Summoning Fred really helps alleviate the difficulty. I love how he isn’t time based like in other RPG’s where they just fall apart after a few minutes. I’ve even left Fred in some ruins and went back to the Monastery for awhile before going back and finding him still in the same place waiting. Too bad he can’t teleport or he’d go everywhere with me.

    Now, should I upgrade my lockpicking skill or focus on using scrolls? Seems like there is a limited supply of blank scrolls in the game.

    • Tei says:

      nah… theres a npc that give a infinite supply of blank scrolls.

  15. Gotem says:

    that hat kinda reminded me to ‘chavo del ocho’ a very famous comedian in latin america
    http://img5.travelblog.org/Photos/48240/325227/f/2862457-Bueno-bueno–pero-no-te-enojes–El-Chavo-del-8-1.jpg

  16. Demon Beaver says:

    The first picture looks as though your character is cosplaying Neji from Naruto…

  17. Helm says:

    I finished Risen a while ago. Man, talk about the dev team running out of cash before the end content.

    But still I enjoyed it immensely nonetheless.

    I echo Frosty840’s sentiments about the consta-quickload. There *must* be a different way to keep combat very challenging and the survialist aspect of the game going without having to rely to ‘enemy hits you 3 times, thou art dead’ that the Gothic/Risen formula seems to adhere to. It would require some smart designing, I’m not sure what, but someone, figure it out. Too much disparity between linear time and gameplay time as Frosty astutely observes. It almost becomes a ‘what if I could save and reload in real life, would I be a huge success?’ fantasy in a way. Evidently, yes.

    Every skill is worth getting and useful (finished the game without any seal and magic skill though, went the way of Conan the Rogue/Conqueror) and the earlier you get them the best. Don’t worry about strength increases through XP spendage, they’re a waste, just get alchemy instead and brew up them Ogreroots.

    I wish someone had told me crossbows use str skill, that way I’d have had a ranged weapon for the duration of the game, something I sorely missed.

    All in all though, the best survivalist rpg experience I’ve had in many years. Along with Knights of the Chalice and possibly, hopefully, Dragon Age, a very good year for PC RPGing.

    • Taillefer says:

      Learning points on strength/dex increases aren’t a waste. Since you can only train upto 100, you need potions to go beyond it. So you train high, then use potions to far exceed it and be incredibly powerful.

      To clarify, if you used up all your potions to reach 95 strength, then you’d be able to train +5 strength and never any more. Then you’re stuck with few ways to go beyond 100. If you train upto 100 but THEN use your potions, you’ll be somewhere around 200 strength. There may be a trainer somewhere who can train to any level, but I never used them, if there is.

  18. Lobotomist says:

    Get one of weapon skills (or magic skills) as high as possible ASAP. Thats the trick

    Once you get charged attack on weapon the game becomes smooth sailing. Since there is one attack combination that pretty much pwns everything.

    Here is how it goes (for sword) :

    1.Wait until enemy approaches you. Time charged attack so it lands exactly when enemy comes in range.

    2. Tap dodge backwards to avoid enemy counterattack (space+back)

    3.Charge attack exactly like you did before.

    (optionally you can put attack or two after charged attack breaks their parry. Or string two Charged attacks. But you will be open for counter attack)

  19. Premium User Badge

    JB says:

    "…or a grand tale of how it can explode wolves with a thought, but sadly it’s all pretty humdrum."

    You mean it doesn't give you the power to kill a yak, from 200 yards away…with mind bullets? =(

  20. Premium User Badge

    JB says:

    JB said:
    "…or a grand tale of how it can explode wolves with a thought, but sadly it’s all pretty humdrum."
    You mean it doesn't give you the power to kill a yak, from 200 yards away…with mind bullets? =(
    (that's telekinesis Alec)
    PS – sorry for the double post, I edited and it added a new post. For all I know, me editing this into the second post will now create a third post! Apologies.

  21. Weylund says:

    Actually this one was all right. The only-clothes-are-robes is stupid, as is the lack of hats and character customization, but… I dunno. World sounds fun.

    I think I’ve been scarred by FO3. I was thinking about it today and that’s the explanation I came up with for why I’m down on RPGs lately. Too much work to get it working. The constant crashes in Vista killed the game for me, and I think I’m shying away from RPGs altogether now as a result.

    That said, though, these reports overall make me think Risen would be an awfully boring waste of time, FO3 or not. Different strokes, I suppose.

  22. Weylund says:

    What, the reply button doesn’t work anymore? Craptastic!

  23. Nenad says:

    Well, now I really want to try the game, it sounds like right up my alley!

  24. Aisi says:

    Is anyone playing this on hard and having any success/fun with it? I’ve scaled down to easy and still end up occasionally very frustrated and quite often very dead. Stop circle having such impeccable timing, wild animals and lizards!

    • Aisi says:

      *circle strafing and

    • Lobotomist says:

      Its exactly as RPG should be. At begging you are killed by everything. (for example , no mater how i tried i could not kill even single ghoul) By the end of the game you are one two shooting everything ( Now ghouls are bit like mosquitoes for me). You really start to feel badass

      RPG has to have sense of progression. And Risen has just that

    • Roi Danton says:

      I played it on medium and on hard and I kinda like the hard setting. Though there have only been a couple of times where I really needed to quickload a lot.

  25. Ayekay says:

    @Aisi the Lobotomist above has the right idea. If you haven’t got as far as having a charge attack, then just hanging on to the parry button like grim deaf got me through the first part of the game.With some swearing.

    @Alec “I’m finding melee combat increasingly punishing” …. I can only say, :D, and, now you understand. I read Risen Report #1, where you said something like ‘I don’t know why everyone’s bitching about the combat’, and I nodded wisely and went ‘wait till he meets those fucking lizards, then we’ll see about that.’ I have some sympathy for your point still. All the console crowd whingeing about how the game didn’t actually put a sword into their hand, back on the beach. but it gets crazy later.

    @Frosty840 @Helm I couldn’t agree more. The showdowns with Alric in the monastery are particularly galling. If you had a prayer of winning the fight on the first attempt it’d be potentially very rewarding. As it is he grudgingly respects you for beating him after the fifteenth quickload and you feel like a complete fraud. Not to mention that all that quicksave dancing had me in a constant state of terror. I played Gothic 3, man. I didn’t fancy two-hour do-overs because I hadn’t kept my saves in order. Though tbf, Risen seemed rock-solid on the PC. Like two desktop crashes in the whole game. I don’t know what Piranha Bytes did with their QA dept since Gothic 3. Hired one, possibly.

  26. Ayekay says:

    Good Lord. I meant the Lobo’s original comment but there he is right above me. Unnerving.

    I lost my thread, but what I wanted to say is that Gothic / Risen combat would benefit from a visual indicator that an enemy was about to attack, like the Arkham Asylum blue headflash. Especially if indicators or better indicators were unlocked by increasing your combat skill.

    • K says:

      Several attacks are preceded by some animation. Powerful attacks/unblockable attacks always give you time to dodge out of the way. Animals all have predictable patterns (ghouls are still annoying though). If you don’t like the circle-strafing then back them into a corner or against a wall/object. Lead multiple opponents into choke points or run and jump away.

      Best way to kill things early on is to sidestep from an attack, and hit them in the flank. Master dodging, and you will rarely be hit again (except by those annoying ghouls). There’s a certain momentum to the combat, and it’s fun once you learn it. (If double-tapping to dodge is a bit fiddly, try holding the direction and jump instead. But practice or you’ll just …jump and look slightly foolish as you get torn up in mid-air).

      A relative strength indicator would be nice so you didn’t have to get killed to work out how strong the creature is.

  27. Tei says:

    *spoilers*
    I cheated to get the last titan armour item, since I was unable to found it, and running here and there (or teleporting) was getting old. Also, I have killed everything on the game.. but NPC’s. The island was dead.

    Interesting cheats:
    godmode, obviusly.
    change levitate to continue “forever”.
    add items, I give me 200 katanas, and sell it to 12000
    adding 20 lean points to the pool.

    * BIG spoilers*
    after cheating, I have entered the final room, and killed the boss with a “kill titan” in console, thats is followed with a video, and the game stuck on the titan “dead” (probably I bugged the game killing the titan that way).

    *end spoilers*

  28. zipdrive says:

    I actually think I’m having a better time reading this account of Alec’s game than I would have playing myself.

    This reminds me of being so utterly enthused with Walker’s (I think, It might have been Jim) account of GalCiv2 that I immediately bought it, only to stop playing after a week.

  29. Pemptus says:

    Also, there is no sneaking behind enemies in this game. The buggers always detect you.

    • Pemptus says:

      That, and the reply system IS BROKEN DURRR

    • Taillefer says:

      You can sneak by, just not too closely. You certainly won’t be noticed as quickly as you would if you were running. Sneaking is mostly for avoiding rather than, say, backstabbing, but you still need some distance, he isn’t Garrett. If they aren’t hostile, you can sneak right behind them and they won’t notice.

  30. edwardoka says:

    I started off quite excited about this, the concept of a gritty and dark action RPG has lots of appeal.
    The more I read about this game, the less enthused I get.

    That getting-press-ganged-into-the-monastery dealie has effectively rendered this do-not-want for me.

    • Alec Meer says:

      The monastery thing really isn’t a reason to avoid it. I could have avoided the monastery stuff if I wanted/had been more careful with my savegames.

    • Roi Danton says:

      You just have to avoid the monastery (and the Inquisition) until you are in chapter 2.

      And, by the way, npc’s do tell you that if you are seen by a Inquisition guy you’ll are drafted for the good cause. So it’s not like you don’t get any warning.

  31. Hmm says:

    There are more helmets in Risen:
    Leather
    Guard Helmet -from a merchant in City, Chapter 2
    Order Helmet – monastery, Chapter 3
    Titan Helmet

    The game’s awesome, but the closer to the ending you are, the more combat heavy it becomes. Still, best action RPG in years.

  32. Jimbot says:

    Risen is great, however be warned that the second half of the game, chapters 3 and 4 aren’t as good as the first two. Things become sort of a dungeon crawler and you face against some of the toughest monsters in the game (in groups, I might add). On the bright side, you’ll earn tons of exp and the gold you’ll get will make you set for life. But the end-game isn’t quite as good as Gothic 2 handled it. They took the Gothic II end-game (which is also bit of a dungeon crawler) and took it to the extreme.

    However, if they make a Risen 2, I’m sure it’ll be as epic and content complete as Gothic 2 was to Gothic 1.

    • AndrewC says:

      Gothic 2 gets very, very dungeon crawly. You terrify me.

    • Taillefer says:

      Chapter 3 made me feel a bit underpowered and starting to regret saving up so many learning points. I could have teleported out and trained up, but I was too stubborn and somehow pushed through. I really exploited Drok/Dork though and even had him clear out the topmost volcano cave, which he shouldn’t even be able to reach, tehe.

      *Spoiler for how*
      Pretty simple. Once somebody refuses to follow you further, you just lead monsters to them and they’ll run towards it. You can have the monster follow you, with Drok following the monster. Or you can lead a succession of monsters one after the other and Drok will run towards it, kill it and stand where the battle was. Then repeat to slowly lead him around the map. Like following a breadcrumb trail of corpses.

  33. WCG says:

    Alec, I’m enjoying your stories, too (and then I had to find your Morrowind tales and read them, as well – great stuff!). But the more I read about Risen, the less it seems like a game for me. I like the survival-type start, but I am absolutely hopeless at “real-time” combat. Unless the easy setting is very easy (and that doesn’t seem to be the case here), I might as well forget about it. And I hate constant reloads.

    Ah, well, too bad…

  34. Tei says:

    The game trowns at you very dificult mosters. But also give you giganteous power and flexible skills.

    No game AI can be “humanlike” enough. The Risen combat AI is specially artificial, because seems designed around 1vs1 combat. Wen you have your companion Fred, it totally unbalance in your side. The pathfinding of monsters is logical, and a monster will not get you, If you are over a minimountain in a imposible to reach location. Exploit or not, you are a human, and the monsters only animals. With patience and enough arrows/bolts you can kill anything. If you attack a group of monsters, you can try thin corridors, something to force a 1vs1 combat. Blockquing is your friend. And raising a weapon enough so you can use a big weapon + shield is your friend to. Also, theres apples, ogre roots, eggs, and lots of things that will help you raise your basis stats, so your “DPS” is good enough. On episode3 you will be able to oneshot some animals. You are supposed to collect everything, most stuff has a use.

  35. Zekaonar says:

    Going toe-to-toe with a massive group of wolves or an ashbeast is not a smart combat strategy until you have great weapons and armor.

    Ranged is best and if you are melee focused the hunting(?) crossbow is an effective weapon. Just take your first shot at max range, zoom out, backpedal while reloading, repeat. When you can exploit terrain to your advantage such as water or cliffs use it. By the time the pack gets to you you face 2 wolves in melee not 5.

    To take out tough foes you need a tank. In chapter 2 the NPC Visli will escort you anywhere. He can’t go toe to toe with an ashbeast for long, but he is enough of a distraction to give you the edge. Any time you get someone in your group, exploit them as a tank to take out tough foes, other times use the skeleton.

  36. GreatUncleBaal says:

    With something as expansive as a good (or even average) RPG, this diary style works better as a review than a two or three page summary with a number dangling off the bottom. I’m not an MMO person, but I’d also love to read something like this for the genre – a look at the heart of the game, rather than (or in addition to) a rattling off of features and stats (and I suppose it’s at least a little to do with the limitations put on writers by websites / magazines in terms of wordage that stops this happening more often).

  37. exyll says:

    “Risen, on the other hand, will have you loading a particular fight ten or fifteen times, to kill off FOUR SODDING GNOMES.”

    ROFL – wait til you fight 2 ghouls. You watch your clock change by the hour, not the minute.

    I’m liking the reports – feels like my very first run of Gothic1 – the moral dilemmas, always second guessing who’s the ‘good guy,’ whos the ‘bad guy’, how do I level up? Where’s a damn bed around?
    etc etc

  38. RimJam says:

    ” I cheated to get the last item titanium armor, since I was unable to found it, and running here and there (or teleporting) was getting old. Also, I have killed everything on the game.. So, I have killed everything on The Game .. but NPC’s. but NPC’s. The island was dead. The Iceland was dead.

    Interesting cheats: Interesting cheats:
    godmode, obviusly. godmode, obviusly.
    change levitate to continue “forever”. change levitate to continue “forever”.
    add items, I give me 200 katanas, and sell it to 12000 add items, I give me 200 katanas, and sell it to 12000
    adding 20 lean points to the pool. adding 20 points lean to the pool.

    * BIG spoilers* * BIG spoilers *
    after cheating, I have entered the final room, and killed the boss with a “kill titan” in console, thats is followed with a video, and the game stuck on the titan “dead” (probably I bugged the game killing the titan that way). after cheating, I have entered the final room, and killed the boss with a “titan kill” in console, thats is followed with a video, and The Game stuck on the titan dead (I probably bugged The Game killing the titan that way).

    Seems really cheap, you paid money to buy this game to do all that?

  39. Huggster says:

    Melee is basically a pain in the arse later so I just ended up using Counjure Skeleton all the time. the later “swordsmen” i found too hard without this.

    The town, monastery and outside is great, dungeons are mixed bag – quite atmospheric at times.
    I wanted another town.

    • tycho says:

      Melee is really easy once you hit 200 strength and have the charge attack – then, you let them wail on fred while you lunge into them – I take off more than 1/2 of a lizard man elite’s health with one blow using a certain 80dmg sword.

      Also, as has been said before – melee becomes ultra easy once you have fred – you just let them beat on him while you flank – fight is over before you know it.

      I really like the combat in this game, as well as the difficulty curve – it’s hard in just the right amounts for the right amount of time to feel like you earned your combat prowess.

  40. Jotunheim says:

    Great reports! It’s a real blast reading about your time in Risen, as I can relate with it all..
    I liked the game myself, but still there are some minor details I could mention about Risen, things that made me curse and curse and curse and did I mention curse? but i won’t, cause I was pleasantly surprised with the whole thing.
    Looking forward to reading the next tale;)

  41. Bronte says:

    Alec, are you done with it, or will we see #7 sometime soon?

  42. MacQ says:

    Awaiting continuation. Please. :D

  43. Clay says:

    Also hoping for more posts in this series should you want to continue it.

    • Alec Meer says:

      There will be, at the least, a conclusion, but the Christmas glut of games has me stalled for the time being. Probably some time next month.

  44. KyoPewz says:

    Giddy with excitement for the next installment of this, but I should point out that being a jack of all trades is kinda bad, you won’t be able to become a omnipotent superman on hulkroids in this game, even when completely specialized as a Fighter ( From Bandit Camp ) the enemies towards the end could 3 hit me, and I LOVED it. Your character is only human after all, the armor you wear reduces their damage by quite a lot, which is what it should do, but you’re still deadsies if you let your guard down. If you focus on one type of combat, you will learn better ways to defend yourself or attack, helping your survivability immensely, while still relying on your own skill to survive.

    And I also feel I should tell you and any others who might read this about something I wish I knew my first play through, something the game neglects to tell you in so many words, get ready for a massive knowledge bomb.

    If you time your attacks, instead of mass clicking, you will hit about TWICE AS FAST. :OOOOOO. Clicking right when your previous attack lands is the way to do it.

    Hope you read this and hope theres another one coming soon, Risen is a really great game, even though it has it’s technical flaws

  45. MacQ says:

    This is a forgotten issue I guess. :(