Daddy Issues: Venetica

By Alec Meer on November 15th, 2010 at 7:01 pm.

While I’ve yet to play this, in these lean roleplaying times (is Gothic 4 really the only other totally new’un we’re going to get this Winter?) it seems only gracious to flag up the arrival of a new RPG. Deck 13’s Euro-fantasy Venetica, which we’ve only posted about once previously, stars the daughter of Death in a quest to apparently stop more death. Hmm. Maybe someone didn’t read her job description properly?


The game came out on in the UK on Friday, but has been available in Germany for over a year – having received broadly but not staggeringly positive reviews. Unfortunately there’s no sign of a download release as yet, so if the following tickles your gaming glands you’ll need to get to a “shop” or start petitioning your friendly neighbourhood digital storefront.

Here’s some in-game footage, which reveals decent looky-look stuff but some potentially troubling audio. Given this was captured back in January, it is of course possible the voices have improved since then.

Seems on the Fable end of the RPG spectrum, but with more elaborate inventory and stat-up facets. I’ve got a chum playing this at the moment, who’s made cautiously positive noises, but I shall endeavour to track down a copy myself.

And here’s the cinematic trailer thinger too. I warn you though: it opens with the line “In a world full of secrets” and also includes “Which path will you take?” It’s alright: I promise you haven’t fallen through a wormhole back into 1999.

Anyone played/playing this, then? Tell us, o daughter of death, what you reckon to it.

, .

69 Comments »

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  1. DrGonzo says:

    I would like a game like Fable that is actually an RPG. In fact, a game like Fable that’s actually a game. Fable 2 and 3 would probably be fun if they were actually challenging in the slightest.

  2. Jimbo says:

    Two Worlds 2 is out in January. It’s out already on the continent.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      I’m only a few hours into Two Worlds Two, but I really like it. It’s much better than Gothic 4 at least.

      The single player is not as open as the first game, but you get to kill tons of wildlife in the second hour, including ostriches, rhinos, and baboons that throw their feces at you. It has an amazing magic system with all kinds of crazy effects(see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2ddAM2QwY) and for some reason a multiplayer mode that lets you build a village like in a browser game.

      It’s certainly not perfect, but worth a look if you like strange European RPGs…

    • pakoito says:

      Two Worlds 2 was leaked last week.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      No, Two Worlds 2 was officially released for the continental Europe – you can buy it on gamersgate, and on the developer’s website.

      Also, it is pretty good – damn sight better than ArcaniA. Also, falls very flat once you think “Okay, now is the point where the big island will open up!”. Still, quite worth it.

    • Teliach says:

      Two world 2 is being really cool till now, still on beginning.

      If you are nto from Europe you can bu the game in Gamersgate if you use a proxy to bypass theeurope only release.

  3. Premium User Badge

    JB says:

    “Seems on the Fable end of the RPS spectrum”

    RPS = RPG?

    • Araxiel says:

      Bloody they’re fast at editing

      Edit: And they gave us the holy power of editing, too!

  4. drillerman says:

    They have it in GAME for £19.99
    I nearly picked it up yesterday but as I hadn’t heard of it, I thought I’d wait to see if it was any good!

  5. Alistair says:

    I’m playing Two Worlds 2 now. It’s really quite good. Flames of Vengeance was also rather good. FoV is Steamable with Div Div 2.

  6. Araxiel says:

    It seems as if the guy playing the game is skipping most of the dialogue.
    I haven’t played it, tough the PC magazine I’m ready called GameStar (one of the biggest and most professional in Germany) gave Venetica 83 points out of 100 (as refrence: Gothic 3, 84 – Gothic 4, 69 – Risen, 87 – New Vegas, 88 – Fallout 3, 93 – Divinity 2, 84 – Two Worlds 2, 85).

    They liked this game; the athomsphere, the dialogues (which were spoken fairly well in the original) the fighting, the learning curve, the story and so on. However the major flaws would be the AI, the lack of classes, that it’s too simple and easy at some parts and that there is a lack of variety in items. Thus a very low replaying value.

    • Christopher M. says:

      Well, as the treatment a site gives Risen is my official “Do I trust them?” meter, I’m guessing they’re reliable.

  7. Helloes says:

    It’s a fairly decent game as far as story goes, dialogue is fairly good and so are the graphics if you stand still. It does have some issues, mostly the same almost all European RPG’s have. Poor balance, bad animation, poor performance and bugs.

    I would recommend it however, but only if you played through Divinity 2 and it’s recent expansion since they are a much better candidate.

  8. origo says:

    i for one played it for like 5-10 minutes and then uninstalled it.
    Beggining where this heroine is supposed to get married, but in the evening those bucketheads attack and kill most of villagers, angry bride goes on rampage and with a help of single mouse button clicking kills most of attackers, just to see them kill her soon to be husband in cinematic. By that time my patience was running out.
    Somehow that night ends and game starts at the point where that gameplay video starts.

    It does remind of fable a bit, but it seemed it did everything worse.

  9. Flaringo says:

    Says I’m marked as spam, so I have to test it now

    EDIT: Okay, so I was trying to say — before I got marked as spam — Two Worlds 2 should be out now, for us Europeans at least.

  10. Dominic White says:

    Just released recently was Divinity 2: Dragon Knight Saga. Technically it’s a year old in some respects, but it’s a seriously enhanced redux version of the original game, plus an extra act/expansion to wrap up the story properly.

    The guys over on the Something Awful games forum are discovering that it’s actually shockingly ace. I never played the original release (heard it was pretty blah, so I skipped it), but one guy who did says it’s a huge improvement. They basically gave it an extra full year of development, and used the reviews/comments on the first as genuine feedback.

    Alec should write something about it.

    • Premium User Badge

      mcnostril says:

      Ooooh, I’m curious about this now.
      I heard the original wasn’t bad but grindy as hell.

    • Dominic White says:

      I reckon I’m a little over halfway through DKS, and I’m glad to say that no grind has happened at all. In fact, they seem to have several anti-grind mechanics in play. There’s a finite number of enemies in the game-world, and you get a significant XP multiplier for killing stuff above your own level. It basically encourages ballsy, underlevelled play, which is fun.

      I never played the first game, but apparently it was basically a Diablo clone with a better plot/writing. DKS has quite a lot of Diablo genes in its loot, stat and skill systems, but it’s a third-person action RPG at heart, with a lot of focus on dodging and jumping. A little ways in, your jump gets upgraded to a huge super-somersault that lets you cover 20-30 feet in a single bound, which makes navigation pretty fun, and bugging out of combat stylish and easy.

      Lots of neat little gimmicks in this one. You can spend a little XP to read the minds of NPCs for more info, jokes, or stat-boosts (you never know what you’ll find, though), build your own necromantic franken-minion out of monster limbs, rule a huuuuge magical fortress-tower, and the biggest thing of all: Around the 1/3 mark, you can freely shapeshift into a proper firebreathing, free-roaming dragon, anywhere there’s room for you to spread your wings.

      Best thing is the writing/quests, though. It’s actually pretty funny, and there are some amazingly snarky/sassy dialogue options. The voice acting isn’t bad either – all British cast. Lots of Welsh and Irish accents in there, interestingly. Almost every quest outside the main arc has multiple solutions too, so there’s quite a lot of replay value.

      A guy I know just beat it today. Says that it’s about 50-60 hours for a single playthrough. That sounds about right to me.

      Oh yeah – it also looks really pretty, runs excellently at max detail on a mediocre video card, and the only bug I’ve seen so far was a single cavern in a side-dungeon where enemies just stood around without reacting to me even if I hit them, so I got a bunch of free XP. Generally, it’s been a really pleasant surprise. Didn’t expect it to be even half this good, especially as I’d been put off the original release by a bunch of pretty negative reviews.

    • malkav11 says:

      You really ought to play Divine Divinity. It can be had terrifically cheaply from GoG and it’s quite brilliant. Diablo comparisons have some merit – the combat and interaction feel somewhat like those games – but I think the comparison that more accurately describes the overall design would be Ultima. There’s an insane amount of interactivity to the world. I’ve not yet beaten it or spent more than a few minutes with Divinity II (pre expansion), but the time I did spend with it was very much worthwhile. It’s certainly far better than the (admittedly mildly enjoyable) first Sacred, which came out around the same time and purported to have a similar fusion of Diablo-esque combat and more old-school questing and story.

    • Dominic White says:

      Interesting. I think I’ll give it a spin once I’m done with DKS. Any thoughts on Beyond Divinity, the almost-sorta-sequel?

    • malkav11 says:

      Not really. I played maybe five minutes of it once, but I have this compulsion about playing games in order, and as mentioned I haven’t beaten Divine Divinity. I will say that they swapped out the simple but pleasant skill sets of Divine Divinity for some sort of very unpromising “build your own skills” system that looked both overcomplicated and not very much fun. But that’s about my only personal impression. The general buzz I’ve heard about Beyond Divinity was negative, though.

    • bagga says:

      >rule a huuuuge magical fortress-tower

      You mean you can run a huuuge-looking magical tower that turns out to consist of five smallish rooms.

    • Dominic White says:

      After you claim it, you can still access the basement/dungeon levels freely, and fly around outside it. If it were any bigger than that, it’d be a pain to get around. I reckon it’s large enough to feel pretty big – you’ve got the four main utility halls, the throne room, dining hall, private chambers and basement levels.

    • Urthman says:

      This is not a criticism of Divinity 2 (which I am excited about playing, especially with this great update), but the player’s tower in that game is tiny compared with some of the truly epic homes available for Oblivion, which some fans of this genre might be used to:

      http://www.oblivionsrealestate.com/Find_A_Home/Castles/castles.html

    • Josh W says:

      Wow, I want to play those castles as thief levels, or more specifically, mod the game so that it has thief style shadows, and those castles are there inhabited!

  11. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    I remember playing the demo of this when it was new, and not buying it. I think I didn’t buy it because it wasn’t really anything special in any regard.
    And I think I was disappointed with the story.

    Also: positive reviews for a German game by a German magazine don’t mean anything.

    • Okami says:

      Very true. You usually have to deduct 10 points from all german review scores for german games. Except for 4players reviews, then you actually have to add 10 points, because they make a point of hating everything developed in germany.

    • Ozzie says:

      Oh, so agreed….

    • Nova says:

      I played through it and it’s really nothing special. Only payed half the price and I wouldn’t buy it again.
      The overarching story in particular is quite bad and the dialogues are nothing special plus I would guess they are even worse in the English version.

  12. Chizu says:

    Just picked up and started on the new version of Divinity 2. So I am in no rush for a new RPG.
    If this turns out to be something not-rubbish though, might be something to think about later on.

  13. Flaringo says:

    JESUS CHRIST EDIT THING PLEASE JUST LET ME SAY THAT I THINK TWO WORLDS 2 IS OUT

    • Flaringo says:

      I’ll just use reply so it doesn’t eat my post for the third time

  14. UncleLou says:

    I played the German version earlier this year, and it’s a neat, often charming little RPG, with a surprisingly fun (if a little simple) battle system.

    I am also playing Two Worlds right now, and think that it’s rather terrible, unfortunately. :-/

  15. Unrein says:

    Pssst, RPS! There’s this new fangled roleplaying game thingamajig called “Fallout: New Vegas” that came out recently and it’s… OH SHI-

  16. SwiftRanger says:

    Another word up for the Dragon Knight Saga, it’s not just Belgian, it’s also polished and very decent now. Completely hooked to it.

    Venetica, dunno, isn’t there a new trailer for it?

  17. Gurthang says:

    What about Drakensang: The River of Time. Isn’t it out in Germany already? Should be coming to the rest of us soon.

  18. Jimbot says:

    Being from the US, I do hope that this game sees an US release, else I’m going to have to import. I’m still waiting for the Drakensang prequel to be released here. It’s just hard to find a good RPG these days. I just don’t care for the direction most North American RPGs are taken and all the good ones, at least the ones that appeal to me, are being made in Europe and most of them don’t even get a release here. Thank goodness for Obsidian for keeping the old CRPG spirit alive. Bioware is starting to bastardize that stuff – just look at the joke Dragon Age 2 is becoming.

    A shame the Dragon Knight Saga isn’t getting a disc release. At the very least I would have loved to see it on Impulse – I’m just not a big fan of Steam.

  19. Oak says:

    deck 16 >>

    change map plz

  20. 8-bit says:

    Does anyone else miss the days when the rpgs on offer weren’t made up entirely of games with open, semi-open worlds, mmo style quests and hack and slash gameplay? Not saying this looks bad, the combat at least seems better than some upcoming games but a little variety never hurt anyone right… right?

  21. ZIGS says:

    I warn you though: it opens with the line “In a world full of secrets”

    At least it doesn’t open with “I never asked for this”. I’m looking at you, Deus Ex: Human Revolution

    • adonf says:

      “You are the chosen one” is a good one too (although not really an opening line)

  22. Howard says:

    To my chagrin I shall have to admit to getting hold of a shonky copy of this months ago when it first surfaced in its native land. I played the first hour or two and I have to say it was a pretty pleasant (if a tad linear) experience. Sure the voice acting was dodgy but that is just so much par-for-the-course with RPGs these days.
    I only stopped playing it at the time as my Windows 7 install choked and died on its own insanity and I have since deleted the copy of the game. May have to pick this up and see if it pans out.

  23. Casimir's Blake says:

    There’s a distressing lack of raw information and opinions on this game. So I’ll chime in:

    It’s not perfect. You’ve seen better animation, models, visuals, acting… everything elsewhere.

    But it’s NOT BAD. I’m personally sick of playing generic big warrior dude no. 345251 as a lead character, and an ass-kicking girl that isn’t stupidly buxom already gets “makes a change points”. It just so happens that the combat is fun, if a touch repetitive, there’s lots of places to go to, and it has an Ultima-style icon-based inventory. The acting is mostly done by Brits and is surprisingly not-shit.

    A lightweight RPG for people bored of cliche RPGs. And hey, you’re playing as “the daughter of death”. Bonus! Also Pyroblazer is underrated, Precursors and White Gold got some English translations despite continued non-official English releases. And a good demo of the Hexen: Edge Of Chaos mod was released just recently for Doom 3.

    So hurrah for indie PC games. *spits on Call of Duty*

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Precursors is pretty fun despite the highly variable quality of the unofficial translations (it’s never so bad that you can’t understand what’s being expressed, except in the cutscenes that they couldn’t subtitle for some reason)

  24. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Oh cool, I’d given up hope on this one. It looks really interesting but after some fairly positive but certainly not rave reviews tied to the German release, and the silence that seems to have shrouded the release elsewhere in the world, I’m guna wait for some kind of head up on it’s quality before giving it a try…

  25. Grey! says:

    Talking about the European RPG, people are forgot about The Dark Eye – Drakensang: The River of Time, it’s a prequel sets 23 years before the original game begun. I think it’s the best European RPG this year. It’s well-polished, the story is quite good, the archtypes and specialists are plenty and pretty cool even if the partymembers are few, its graphic is so georgeus, the ambient, lighting, are all stunning, and unlike its predecessor all the dialogues are voice-acted minus the main protagonist, it’s pretty much like a hardcore version of Dragon Age: Origins (seriously, it’s harder even in easiest difficulty) with high-fantasy setting instead of dark fantasy.

    It’s a tactical RPG which reminds me about the glory days of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. We must be smart in order to triumph, not just bashing our way through the hordes of monsters. Unfortunately, the developer, Radon Labs, went bankrupt, I dunno how, it’s very sad. But the good news is, the English version is released by dtp Entertainment on October 15th and even it’s quite rare I manage to bought it. The local version was released on February or March this year if I’m not mistaken.

    Oh how I love European RPG, the land of videogames untouched by the foul capitalist, lol.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Bigpoint bought Radon Labs. I guess, they will make browser games now.

  26. Grey says:

    Talking about the European RPG, people are forgot about The Dark Eye – Drakensang: The River of Time, it’s a prequel sets 23 years before the original game begun. I think it’s the best European RPG this year. It’s well-polished, the story is quite good, the archtypes and specialists are plenty and pretty cool even if the partymembers are few, its graphic is so georgeus, the ambient, lighting, are all stunning, and unlike its predecessor all the dialogues are voice-acted minus the main protagonist, it’s pretty much like a hardcore version of Dragon Age: Origins (seriously, it’s harder even in easiest difficulty) with high-fantasy setting instead of dark fantasy.

    It’s a tactical RPG which reminds me about the glory days of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. We must be smart in order to triumph, not just bashing our way through the hordes of monsters. Unfortunately, the developer, Radon Labs, went bankrupt, I dunno how, it’s very sad. But the good news is, the English version is released by dtp Entertainment on October 15th and even it’s quite rare I manage to bought it. The local version was released on February or March this year if I’m not mistaken.

    Oh how I love European RPG, the land of videogames untouched by the foul capitalist, lol. All hail to Indie developers, yay!

  27. DigitalSignalX says:

    Drakensang: River of Time is also out in Europe and soon for the US. It’s really quite good imho, though you may miss the combat scripting of DA:O as the turn based tactics take some getting used to. Also the talent/stat system is pretty different from what you may be used in D&D rules, but it’s not overly complex if you take some time. Visually, it’s stunning, but all in all, might be more rewarding for older school RPG fans of Baulders Gate, Neverwinter Nights, etc.

    Gray Matter is also an RPG by the same firm and the folks who made Gabriel Knight. Looks interesting but it’s not getting a lot of press.

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s not an RPG, it’s a point and click adventure game.

    • Grey says:

      AH! I thought I’m the only one who plays Drakensang: The River of Time! It’s not pretty good, it’s great :P, and full of great tactical RPG goodies. It got great graphics (the atmosphere is bright and have a tiny little bit of Warcraft-ian style in there) , stellar lighting, outstanding ambient and sound. Unlike its predecessor, the dialogues are all voice-acted, minus the main protagonist.

      It’s pretty hardcore even in easiest difficullty. It reminds me about the good old days of Baldur’s Gate, Planescape Torment, or maybe Neverwinter Nights. It sets in high-fantasy setting, unlike Dragon Age: Origins or The Witcher which use the “dark” tone.

      And The Dark Eye pen & paper rules are easy to understand, you don’t have to wait to level up to upgrade your talent, kill some enemies and you got Talent Points. It encourages you to hunt monsters and explore new areas, try this and try that. And the archtypes and specialist are plenty, and the upgrade choices are vast so you can actually create the hero that you actually want.

      Damn, I just love a fine, tactical RPG. It’s a shame that the developer, Radon Labs went bankrupt. The game is out in German earlier this year, but the English version just out about a month ago. Little known about this rare jewel, damn.

    • xxstyxx says:

      “It’s not an RPG, it’s a point and click adventure game.”

      Drakensang a Point&Click Adventure?
      ehm…totally NO! ^^
      Its an oldschool RPG, based on the Rules a Pen&Paper named “The Dark Eye”.

    • Subject 706 says:

      Drakensang : River Of Time is out?? In english? Where?
      Dammit I need a Steam sale…now I have River Of Time, New Vegas, Dragon Knight Saga and possibly Two Worlds 2 and Venetica to play…considering my lack of time they’ll probably last me for all of 2011.

    • Subject 706 says:

      River Of Time is out in english? I really need a Steam sale, since my yet-to-play RPG list is getting even longer…

    • malkav11 says:

      Gray Matter is not an RPG, it’s a point’n’click adventure. Of course Drakensang is an RPG.

  28. Vivi says:

    It’s more of a Zelda thingie gone more RPG, really. But it’s very enjoyable. Can’t comment on the English version, but the German had great voice acting and dialogue. Not surprising coming from a team that usually only made (imho less swell on the humour, they’re German after all…) point&click adventures.

  29. Vivi says:

    It’s more of a Zelda thingie gone more RPG, really – so the Fable end, yes. But it’s very enjoyable. Can’t comment on the English version, but the German had great voice acting and dialogue. Not surprising coming from a team that usually only made (imho less swell on the humour, they’re German after all…) point&click adventures.

  30. 7Seas says:

    Christ, guys, it’s kind of embarrassing that you call this period “lean roleplaying times”…. You are even running a site-buyout for Divinity 2….

    I mean how is it that you can be more aware of every little browser game that comes out and you aren’t aware that right now there is a surfeit of a rpgs, and quite good ones too?

    Fall Out New Vegas, Two Worlds Two, Drakensang the River of Time, Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga and yes, the crap Gothic 4.

    I had more to say but every attempt is being eaten by your spamatron. new form of policing your comments?

  31. 7Seas says:

    Christ, guys, it’s kind of embarrassing that you call this period “lean roleplaying times”…. You are even running a site-buyout for Divinity 2….

    I mean how is it that you can be more aware of every little browser game that comes out and you aren’t aware that right now there is a surfeit of a rpgs, and quite good ones too?

    Fall Out New Vegas, Two Worlds Two, Drakensang the River of Time, Divinity 2: The Dragon Knight Saga and yes, the crap Gothic 4.

    Fallout New Vegas is superb, end of story.

    Two worlds 2 is hella fun, and actually has some hilarious dialogue. Scenes there have made me actually laugh out loud, which very very few games can.

    Drakensang brings back tactical combat for a refreshing change to all the action rpgs.

    Divinity 2 lets you turn into a goddamn dragon! It is also one of the most polished and fun rpgs I have played in ages, and I played the original that you said was a grindfest. Seriously I have no idea what you guys actually do when playing the game, maybe you should video tape it.

    Perhaps you should hire someone who actually *likes* rpgs to review/follow them for this site. Someone who isn’t utterly blind to anything not made by north american developers. Someone who is actually, I don’t know, aware of releases?

  32. 7Seas says:

    is it possible to leave any comment without the spamatron eating it?

  33. Vayl says:

    I think the opposite is true actually and is a very heavy RPG time with Fallout New Vegas, Gothic 4, Divinity and Two worlds 2 releasing at same time.

    Don’t remember a time with so much RPG releasing so close to be honest.

  34. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    It’s a terrible game, don’t bother.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Gabbo says:

    I’m not huge into RGP’s, but that premise has piqued my interest.
    I’ll keep an eye out for it, and perhaps an eye out for the RPS Hivemind-Thinks.

  36. SNES says:

    Wasn’t this game released in german like over 9000 years ago?

    Also I recommend playing the classic SNES RPG Final Fantasy 3 (US), that will be all. :p

  37. Megakoresh says:

    I tried to type a Darksiders 2-related joke for like 5 minutes but still failed.
    Anyway, after 12 years of gaming, I am beginning to kinda be skeptical about any game that puts boobs on it’s early screens to get attention. Usually those kind of games don’t end up being good.

    • dE says:

      Your post is curiously meta.
      Not least of all given the age of the article.