The Risen 3 Report, Day 7: Shadow Injustice Warrior

By Alec Meer on September 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

I want to talk about fighting. No funny animals. No testicular adornments. No Matt Berry impersonations. Just good old-fashioned murder.

I’ve been concerned for some time now that I’m no good at fighting. In fairness, I have slaughtered my way across three and a half islands full of assorted nasties, but a delicate ballet of swordplay it was not. I spent most of the time either rolling about the floor like a piratical woodlouse or desperately swigging grog to numb the pain of my many, many injuries. To have a fight in this world – presuming you’ve not specialised in guns or magic – involves the power of three.

Stab once, twice, thrice in quick, rhythmic fashion – with no wild sword-swinging either side of or in between that, and you’ll deal out successively more damage. Try to stab without this rhythm, or face an enemy that moves quicker than you do, and you’ll just get stabbed back.

Oh God, I don’t know. I’m trying to describe it but I have only partial mastery of it. That’s the problem. Usually I’m either frantically woodlousing out of range while waiting for my health to recover, or knocked on my bum by a foe that seems able to instantly interrupt my every attack. This is as true of a bloody chicken as it is a giant spider or a titanic Shadow Lord. I’ve killed a couple of Shadow Lords, but I still tend to get a hiding from chickens. I still have to down quantities of rum that even Hemingway would balk at to survive. The run would ease the pain. The rum will always ease the pain.

So, yes, I have a booze problem. In an average fight, I drink a bath tub’s worth of the stuff. I also depend on Bones’ sporadic voodoo healing powers. There has to be another way.

Clearly there is another way, but I mean one that doesn’t involve me spending all my gold Glory on improving sword skills and toughness. I need to spend it on lockpicking and pick-pocketing and lying and monkey-training. If only I could get my monkey involved, actually. It could steal my enemies’ swords from their hands, leaving me to give them a sound hiding. Oh, monkey. If only.

My swordfighting imposter syndrome is coming to a head because I’ve ventured into the heart of Shadow territory. This isn’t poultry-bothering anymore: this is serious fighting against serious enemies, with swords and spells and a bunch of well-hard mates waiting just around the corner. Whole lotta grog, in other words. Some of these things hit incredibly hard, or fire spells that immediately siphon half my blood. I’ll admit it: I’m scared. This is hardcore.

Bones is my salvation. Oh, did I mention I’d found him again? God only knows where the mad bastard had wandered up to, but when I went back to visit my ship he was hanging around like a half-naked Super Hans. He’s pretty handy with a sword, and seems to spend far less time on his arse than I do, but he does have a terrible habit of getting lost. I’m prone to taking shortcuts – climbing over rocks, jumping off precipices – but for all his swivel-eyed lunacy, Bones will always seek the long way round instead.

All too often, I’m engaged in pitched battle (by which I mean ‘two bats or chickens’, as any time I have to face more than one enemy on my own, I’m in a world of pain) on my own because he’s wandering cheerfully down the scenic route, and I’m praying for him to turn up and distract one of my attackers before it’s too late (i.e. before I’ve drunk all my rum).

Combat is stressful and messy, basically. It’s more of a rolling bar fight than a heroic crusade. I enjoy the desperation and uncertainty of it to some degree, and feel proud when I emerge alive from a fight that almost certainly should have killed me. Still, I’m haunted by the fear that I’m doing it wrong. As a professional games journalist pirate adventurer, surely that could never be the case? Surely?

I hope to redress the balance by learning some spells. I’m currently on Magic Island, but the mages won’t even talk to me until I’ve killed the local Shadow Lord. Fortunately, and improbably, I have now killed the local Shadow Lord, and only I had to drink enough rum to fuel the Cuban economy for a decade to do it. Those beardy buggers had damned well better be up for a chat now.

Oh, also I encountered an NPC called Walker who was being harassed by goblins. Sounds like a metaphor for something. I just can’t put my finger on what.

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30 Comments »

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    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Maybe you’d be better at fighting if you weren’t drunk? & in the game.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    A lot of people have goblin troubles these days, it would seem.
    If only we could talk to the goblins.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I tired talking. Then I tried shouting. They are immune to caps-lock. Nothing works. Nothing.

      • newguy2012 says:

        I think the goblins are tired. They just want to be left alone.

        • Ross Angus says:

          We should lock them all up in an echo-chamber, and name it “Subreddit”.

    • phelix says:

      I saw some goblins the other day. Horrible creatures.

  3. Tei says:

    Maybe are we not supposed to accept the game in face values. Like in Spec Ops: The Line.

    Maybe when you are killing chickens, are really childrens. Goblins are teenagers. Cave bats are people with disabilities. And Dark Lords are big black women.

    Makes you think, he?

    Oh God, I don’t know. I’m trying to describe it but I have only partial mastery of it. That’s the problem. Usually I’m either frantically woodlousing out of range while waiting for my health to recover, or knocked on my bum by a foe that seems able to instantly interrupt my every attack. This is as true of a bloody children as it is a policemen or big black women I’ve killed a couple of big black women, but I still tend to get a hiding from childrens. I still have to down quantities of heroin that even Hemingway would balk at to survive. The heroin would ease the pain. The heroin will always ease the pain.

    So, yes, I have a drug addiction problem. In an average fight, I sniff a bath tub’s worth of the stuff. I also depend on Bones’ sporadic voodoo drug doses. There has to be another way.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      There was a tabletop RPG with that premise. At one level, you’re doing your standard D&D stuff, killin’ monsters and takin’ their stuff. At the outer level, your character is just deludedly slaughtering their way through suburban houses.

      I don’t know how much play it actually got – it sounds about as much fun as being punched in the testicles, to be honest.

      • Premium User Badge

        tumbleworld says:

        Powerkill, part of the Hogshead Games “New wave” program. It wasn’t really meant to be played; it was more of an acidic deconstruction of dungeon crawling. That said, it did have players, some of them worryingly enthusiastic.

        • Tei says:

          That sounds interesting so I have googled it. I was not dissapointed

          http://johntynes.com/revland2000/rl_powerkill.html

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          Harlander says:

          Ah, yeah, they published Greg Costikyan’s Violence as well, which had the same deconstructionist aim but didn’t bother with the framing narrative.

          It also has the dubious distinction of having a prominent mention of a certain, at the time somewhat obscure, Osama bin Laden.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          I immediately thought of FREEBASE: Live Action Role Playing in THE WORLD OF REALITY, which is more or less a guide to “live-action roleplaying” a drug dealer/junkie/general criminal, written (and typeset) in a straight-faced parody of the original Gary Gygax D&D style.

          DISPEL MAGIC:
          Duration: 1 minute/bag
          Area of Effect: Everything you can find
          Casting Time: 1-2 flushes
          Components: Functioning commode
          Description: Often a handy (if painful) spell in dire circumstances, Dispel Magic rids you of most incriminating evidence.

  4. Pop says:

    Oh God, I don’t know. I’m trying to describe it but I have only partial mastery of it. That’s the problem. Usually I’m either frantically woodlousing out of range while waiting for my health to recover, or knocked on my bum by a foe that seems able to instantly interrupt my every attack.

    Ah, reminds me of the Witcher; so much rolling, so little hitting

  5. BrianOConnell says:

    While I think this game is very good (far better than many reviews out there are saying it is at any rate) as a gothic fan I think what really lets it down for me is how easy the combat is. It starts easy and ends up a cake walk which is very disappointing. I spent most of my time going solo (without Bones et al) to try and make it harder because with a companion it is far far too easy.

  6. kament says:

    I remember fighting some deluded pirate dude on Kila. I was very persuasive ant crafty fella with his own trained monkey and everything, but didn’t know a thing about swordplay. Man, was that brutal.

    Reminded me of Gothic in a good way: a whole lot of saving midcombat and reloading after almost inevitable failure, because all it takes is one misstep. Early in the game winning requires either impeccable timing and knowledge of your opponent’s attack patterns, or, yes, rolling with the punches and drinking all the booze to ease the pain (&in the game etc).

    Later on it was very easy, but at the same time satisfying to destroy mighty golems in two elegant magic kung fu moves. Much as it was in Gothic, actually.

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    Morlock says:

    Hi Alec

    thank you for making my days sweeter. One question: Do you suffer from combat fatigue? I enjoyed the game very much but after exploring about 2/3 of the islands really felt that it was time to wrap things up. So I skipped on a lot of quests and even some locations.

    Spells definitely help against the difficulty (and you can already use the magic items you have, just put them in your toolbar). However, on average difficulty I became an Aragorn-type slayer of everything.

    Btw, if you join the demon hunters your rolls become short teleports which look more elegant.

  8. baozi says:

    Areas made inaccessible by enemies that are too hard for your current level have always been an integral part of Gothic

    • Urthman says:

      Yes. What i love about the Gothic and Risen games is that the difficulty is determined almost entirely by your own risk-taking. There is almost always something you can do at your level, but the world is set up so you are constantly passing by things that are out of your league, tempting you to bite off more than you can chew. Often you get your butt definitively kicked and move on, but those times you manage to kill something impressive or find a way to get in and explore in area sooner than you thought you could feel so great. And the games almost always reward bold exploring. I hope that’s still true for Risen 3.

    • Paul says:

      Which makes it too bad that there are no such enemies in Risen 3. I never had to run away and come back later. Check my comment below. It was brilliantly done in Gothic 1 and 2.

  9. SanguineAngel says:

    It looks very much like that Shadow Lord has just broken out into song

    • Horg says:

      He turned to Evil Caberet after one final rejection from The Dark Arts School of Tap. Despite his boundless enthusiasm and dedication to studying the world history of Tap Dance, he has no feet. Now he regales his victims with songs of cruel fate and shattered dreams before attempting to siphon their soul.

  10. Paul says:

    I literally finished Risen 3 20 minutes ago.
    My main complaint ?
    The game is PISS EASY ! I could not believe how easy it was. I died like 10 times at most over the course of the game, and most of those deaths involved me jumping somewhere I was not supposed to.
    The combat is by far the easiest Piranha’s ever produced – the combination of companion, drinking instahealing rums during combat, immortality granting roll, flawlessly working Riposte, and my functioning hands and eyes, meant that this game was completely challenge free. So reading this article, or watching Angry Joe, just makes me feel really really weird. I really cannot imagine how could the combat in this game be any easier. I was able to defeat every enemy immediately, without coming back ! In Gothic 1/2, that was impossible! There were enemies that instakilled me with one hit while I did zero damage to them until I got better equip or experience.

    And of course, after I got heavy armor and sword with damage 110, let alone Indestructible perk, the game became pure action with me being completely immortal, companions or not.

    I still like the game a lot, because I enjoy the exploration, world design, dialogues and questing, but the complete lack of challenge disappointed me greatly.
    And one more disappointment, the ending is terribly abrupt, which I do not like.

    • kament says:

      In Gothic 1/2, that was impossible! There were enemies that instakilled me with one hit while I did zero damage to them until I got better equip or experience.
      Hate to break it to you, but . I know Gothic inside and out, the games are not that hard as some people make them to be. With those functioning hands and eyes of yours you of all people should know that.

      As for the pure action and immortality, surely you can remember how that was in G2. Piss-easy.

    • kament says:

      In Gothic 1/2, that was impossible! There were enemies that instakilled me with one hit while I did zero damage to them until I got better equip or experience.

      Hate to break it to you, but that wasn’t the case:

      I know Gothic inside and out, the games are not that hard as some people make them to be. With those functioning hands and eyes of yours you of all people should know that.

      As for the pure action and immortality, surely you can remember how that was in G2. It was like that:

      Piss-easy.

    • kament says:

      I was able to defeat every enemy immediately, without coming back ! In Gothic 1/2, that was impossible!

      I failed to embed links and got my reply deleted. Oh well. Just google “black troll unskilled gothic 2″. It’s a bit more of a chore, but defeating literally every enemy immediately is fairly doable. And after acquiring high-level skills and equipment the game becomes a walk in the park. But I don’t have to tell you that. With those functioning hands and eyes of yours you of all people should know it.

      • Urthman says:

        When you say “unskilled” you mean your character stats. The player has to have plenty of skill. Nobody just picks up Gothic 2 and kills a black troll with a stick on their first play-through.

        • kament says:

          The player has to have plenty of skill? Seriously? Have you watched the video? I think a low-level player taking on a Shadow Lord would have a much harder time than a low-level player taking on that black troll.

          Now, I didn’t take on that troll first time around, but I poked it a bit with my fairly low level NH and dropped the idea because it promised to be a terrible chore, primarily. And I always avoid that and prefer to come back later. Gothic wasn’t as hard as some people make it out to be nowadays. The series certainly required good reaction time and so on, but so does R3.

      • Paul says:

        Ok if you have patience to 20 minutes run around a black troll, then I guess you can kill him..if you are lucky and do not make a mistake. But there were other enemies that could not be cheesed like this. Not to mention in Risen 3 I did not have to resort to any similar kind of cheesing tactics to defeat anything.

  11. toxic avenger says:

    “Oh, also I encountered an NPC called Walker who was being harassed by goblins. Sounds like a metaphor for something. I just can’t put my finger on what.”

    B’ah-hah-hah! Amazing! I think I’m in love!