Rise And Shine, It’s Risen Demo Time

Edit-edit – original download links now contain the fixed version too
Edit – fixed, faster downloads are here, here and here. (Thanks, Batolemaeus).

1.09 Gigabytes of vast, highly-anticipated-by-some, German-made roleplaying game await you just here or here. In either case, it’s the earliest stages of what’s a huge, free-roaming and non-didactic game, casting you as a recent shipwreckee, washed ashore on a rather nasty island. Adventures!

Risen is the spiritual sequel to the Gothic series, a trio of dense and ambitious RPGs that have an especially devoted following, yet have never quite found their way into the hearts of the UK/US mainstream. The whispers I’m hearing about Risen, which goes on sale tomorrow, suggests that particular song is likely to remain the same: adored by the devout few, ignored by the many. But, regardless, it’s ma-ha-ha-hassive news in roleplaying land, and anyone with enthusiasm for the whole swords’n’monsters’numbers shebang should, at the very least, take a look at the demo.

A reader email suggests copies of Risen may have made their way to some folk early – anyone got in hand yet? Whaddaya think? Better than the (apparently) disappointing Gothic 3?

Oh, I’ll be frank – in this current, incredibly busy gaming season, this gigantic thing is not looking like something any of RPS will have time to immediately gravitate towards, much as I’m sure we will get around to it in quieter times if word of mouth is all yay-woo-yeah. If you think we are rank idiotholes and should, in fact, currently be shoving other things aside in favour of Risen then don’t tell us off for not talking about it – but tell us why we should be talking about it. It’d be great to have some enthusiastic, inspiring discussion generated about the game that isn’t simply a case of the initiated bitterly grumbling at the uninitiated.


  1. Railick says:


  2. Batolemaeus says:


  3. Batolemaeus says:

    Btw., the demo was retracted because they screwed up the installer, apparently.

    At least that’s what they said..

  4. Heliosicle says:


    20kb/s >:(

  5. butler` says:

    I so wanted this to be good.

  6. linfosoma says:

    Please run, please don’t be a buggy mes, please have a readable log book, please!

  7. Railick says:

    Anyone know the system specs off the top of their head? I can't get at them from work.

    Also, another ship related entrance? They're using the same Cliche two times in a row :P I don't mind personally.

  8. Fat says:

    I was about to go check for a link from Gamershell, but noticed you already provided one. They certainly are FTW for these occasions.

  9. Schadenfreude says:

    Haven’t got it yet, but it’s on its way. Probably won’t see it until Monday though (Boo Ireland’s postal service! Boo!!). I’m reasonably confident that I’ll enjoy this seeing as I loved Gothic 3 and that had a hell of a lot wrong with it.

    Just hope the damned thing will actually run.

  10. AndrewC says:

    For those wondering – it looks like the best Gothic 3 looked but runs smoother and better than it ever did, even with community patches. I get the feeling that it is achieving this by having each ‘area’ be smaller (and blocked in by canyons and other such horizon blocking scenery), thus less of a burden on the engine. Certainly I came across nothing as open as the field at the beginning of Gothic 3.

    I ran around for an hour and it didn’t crash at all.

    I’d guess getting the game to run on the Xbox 360 is responsible for this (both the smaller visuals and the more stable running. Yay? Boo? Yayboo?).

    The first thing I did was punch an ostrich. It died, which I guess means there’s less of the horrific early-game death than in the previous Gothics. Remember when they made the bloodflies poisonous? Bastards,

    So: pretty enough, decent enough performance and seemingly stable – which is probably enough for the Gothic faithful. I couldn’t say from this short little try whether the quests fall into the MMO grinding hell of Gothic 3. I’m crossing my fingers and buying it tomorrow. Yay games!

    As for the Gothic non-faithful: Ostrich punching. I dunno, I don’t really have anything else.

    • Bremze says:

      I’ve heard that the game is a lot less pretty on the xbox 360 because they couldn’t get a consistent frame rate. Most of the screenshots tagged as from the xbox version are actually from the pc version.

    • Nerd Rage says:

      I beat an ostrich with a stick, then 20 minutes later a giant moth killed me and reminded my why the old Godzilla movies sucked so bad. Giant moths are ridiculous. Giant preying mantis, that shit is scary. Giant moth? So what? Give me a torch, I’ll burn its wings off. So after that I decided not to try again tonight.

      The smaller, blocked in areas feel kinda cramped to me, and the character handling is pretty horrible. I never thought I would look back at Fallblivion and say, “Wow, this third person camera is terrific!” I can see the potential, already there’s been two moments I thought were pretty cool, both indoors though, a cave and some underground ruins. All the outdoors stuff just feels weird, it’s laid out like you’re indoors, but there’s plants and a day/night cycle and sometimes weather effects. Just something about that makes the outdoor areas feel more claustrophobic than the indoor ones. Maybe that’s just me though. I honestly wish I had more patience, because it seems like it could be cool if I could just get used to it.

  11. Rabbitsoup says:

    umm those links are not working for me right now, anyone else?

  12. Schmitzkater says:

    Uhh I loved Gothic1 and especially Gothic 2 to the death. Then they went and screwed up Gothic 3.

    Whatever, maybe Risen can be my “real” Gothic 3, arrival by boat seems to be pretty much the same.
    But more closed and thight spaces do not sound that nice any way you spin it, do they?

    • AndrewC says:

      I don’t want to overplay the ‘closed and tight’ spaces thing. This is not like Deus Ex 2 or anything. It’s just, judging from the very first bits that I saw, *less* open than Gothic 3.

    • Schmitzkater says:

      Finally having played it today, I now actually know what you meant.

      Even though the spaces are a lot less open than some of the big empty fields of Gothic 3, it has still got the open world feeling and the marvellous natural transitions and pathways between the actual places of interest, just like the older Gothics.

      I LOVE it.

  13. bob loblaw says:

    well, if you liked gothic 2, you WILL love risen. i’ve played some 6 hours, and the entire beginning is one big hommage to what they did in gothic 2.
    and the closed/tight spaces.. well, they apply if you compare it to the huge open but empty landscape in g3. again, this is about as open as gothic 2. :)

  14. Railick says:

    Wait a minute, is Risen a game about the life and times of Edward Risen the inventor of sitting up in bed in the morning (instead of just rolling out of it)

  15. dAniel says:

    Beware Users of Geforce 7 Series!
    While the Game runs rather smoothly on my Single-Core (around 30fps w/ all low and 1680*1050)
    the 7er series currently have a grey layer over everything. Developer say Nvidia is working on a fix. So much for QA…

  16. dAniel says:

    it looks like this… link to img5.imagebanana.com

  17. woko says:

    Just played it for 5 hours straight…not a single bug, not a single crash, and very smooth performance! :D
    It does feel a LOT like gothic 2…which is a very good thing! The combat is simple but very fun and requires a little skill (there are some very tough fights…or at least I thought they were tough)
    It’s also a really…reallllly….nice looking game, and as someone else said, it’s about as open as gothic 2, the forests in particular are really nice to look at.
    The story also seems good so far, can see myself having lots of hours of fun with this :D

    • Subject 706 says:

      That puts my mind at ease, considering I’ve preordered. Thank you PB.

  18. kwanchu says:

    Can you tell me if they are doing the same thing as at least gothic 3 as its the only one i played, where you are playing “the” charactar as oppossed to some rpg’s where you get to goof around with their appearance. hope that made sense.

  19. Spd from Russia says:

    considering the quality of their previous game – goathic3 – I will wait till it gets released, bugfixed, patched, patched and then community-patched before bothering with it

    • Christian says:

      Well…you can always hope they’ve learned from past mistakes. And wasn’t Gothic also developed by someone else?

    • dAniel says:

      Risen was developed by Piranha Bytes who made Gothic 1-3, but split up with their Publisher Jowood after/over the Release of Gothic 3. Gothic 4, or Arcania as I believe it’s called, is still in development by Spellbound (Desperados=).

  20. Railick says:

    You played demo for 5 hours? I've never heard of a 5 hour demo :P

    • kwanchu says:

      He never said he was playing a demo, he might be one of them fellers that has an eye patch and goes Yaaaar!!! a lot

    • JKjoker says:

      hmm, Doom, Descent, The Witcher, im sure there are more

  21. woko says:

    No i preordered from play.com Rallick, they got it to me 1 day early :)

  22. woko says:

    @ Rallick No i preordered from play.com, they got it to me 1 day early :)

    @Spd; had I not already got it I’d say that too, but honestly…its the most stable big open world RPG I’ve ever played on release…that I can think of anyway.

  23. Subject 706 says:

    RPS Hivemind, you are rank idiotholes and should be shoving other things aside for Risen, because :

    It is a PC-first game.

    It is not mainstream.

    It is bound to be better than Oblivion.

    It will show if Piranha Bytes can deliver the magic of the old Gothic games again.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      Bah, “better than Oblivion”.

      That’s not saying a lot!

    • Railick says:

      Some people say Gothic 3 was better than Oblivion, some say Two Worlds was better, so on and so on. Personally I’ve never found any game that even comes slightly close to Oblivion in an way. Gothic 3 was an unplayable generic mess and I have no idea why people loved it so much, maybe because it was German? I dunno.

      I’ve never seen a game come close to Oblivions ability to easily add as many mods to your game as you like without breaking it (it is of course possible to break it, but it is pretty easy to avoid it. If I can do it anyone can) Even the vanilla Oblivion was a great deal of fun to me and I REALLy loved the expansion. From what I’ve seen of Risen it doesn’t come close to holding a candel to Oblivion but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great game in its own right. I’m just tired of everyone comparing everything under the sun to Oblivion. Why does someting have to be better than Oblivion ? O.o I’ll be happy if this is just better than Gothic 3 which isn’t hard to do.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “I’ve never seen a game come close to Oblivions ability to easily add as many mods to your game as you like without breaking it”

      Morrowind. Which incidentally, is also better than Oblivion. Aside from the horrible combat, of course.

    • Subject 706 says:

      The comparison with Oblivion is there because it is one of the most (over)hyped RPGs of later years. Congrats for enjoying it though. I did too. For several hours. Until I realized how soulless and boring it became.

  24. Lewis says:

    Yeah, I’ve been playing the hell out of this. I’ll tell you what I think at midnight when my review goes live on Reso. There’s a lot to talk about.

  25. Greg says:

    My copy arrived today, a little earlier than I expected, but annoyingly, my gaming computer is currently refusing to boot up and won’t be fixed until at least Saturday. Dammit, I want to the the game >_<

  26. anotherman7 says:

    Is it good? Is it really good? Please tell me it's good. Gothic 2 is one of my all time favorites.

  27. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Eager to try this out.. if it ever finished to download.

  28. Tomelin says:

    So, are the controls typical Gothic-crap, or something reasonable this time ?

  29. SirKicksalot says:

    This is great :D I played it for an hour, and it certainly feels special.
    It’s pretty, stylish and friendly. I love the Mediterranean atmosphere. PB always paid a lot of attention to details, and this one continues the trend – the world feels very authentic. I was instantly immersed.
    The controls are fine this time.

    • Lewis says:

      Friendly? Really? That’s pretty much the exact opposite to my impressions. It’s such a hostile world – everyone’s either a dick to you, or telling you how terrible their life is.

  30. Berthold says:

    I was about 3yrs late to Gothic 1, another 2 to #2 and I have yet to touch G3. So I guess it’ll be a few years till I get to enjoy this, but at the same time I’m giddy as a school girl to hear it retains the feel of Gothic 2. This series is hands down the best RPG I have ever played, and I have played tons. Huzzah!

  31. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Wondering if my ageing pc which ran G3 ok will run this…that fog on 7xxx cards looks awful and I have a 7800gs…just as well they released a demo or its the 360 version for me.

  32. DM says:

    While I’d prefer to lose the ‘rank idiotholes’ business, and perhaps leave the Oblivion-sniping to another time, I agree with the overall sentiment.

    Seems a pity to overlook (even if you plan to come back to it later) as it’s certainly a very ‘PC’ game, doesn’t appear made a particuarly large splash outside of Germany (at least in that forum-thread, blog post, every-bloke-and-his-mother-posting-a-review sense of things) and so forth. Would certainly be pleasant to hear an RPS opinion on it.

    Still, if everyone’s busy, or (conjecture) none of you are especially interested/excited by it, nothing much to be done, I suppose.

  33. Cvnk says:

    I’m so glad I’m seeing some good reviews in here. In a moment of weakness I went and preordered this (something I never do) because I didn’t think a demo would be coming out so soon. Sounds like I won’t be regretting my hasty decision. Looking forward to getting into this this weekend.

  34. Lewis says:

    Yeah, so I’m really unsure about Risen, to the point where I’ve written almost 3000 words of the most impossible nonsense just trying to collect my thoughts more than anything. I didn’t particularly get on with it for the most part, but it does a lot right, and it’s a courageously ambitious and self-assured game. I imagine people that loved the hostility and the scope of the Gothic franchise will feel right at home here, though inevitibly some fans will feel disappointed by it’s slightly more restricted physical scale than Gothic 3. Those arriving from the likes of Oblivion are likely to run a mile at the grittiness of the visually-very-friendly world, and the absolutely excruciating pace at which it all crawls along.

    It’s just too directionless and oddly stifling for my liking, I think, which means its occasional glitchiness, not-great-on-the-360-at-least graphics and nasty interface issues become more noticeable. But that totally might just be me, as I can see there’s a lot to like here.

    An odd one, basically, and having played for around 30 hours and still not being entirely sure, I’m making no bones about my verdict not being definitive. You can read it over at Resolution Magazine, if you’re particularly interested.

  35. gulag says:

    Gothic 3 only made a lick of sense once you strapped an 800Mb tumor/community patch to it’s head. After that is was fun/as serious as cancer (take your pick).

    This might fill a gap until Witcher 2 floats along.

  36. Lucas says:

    Same old story. Please do something new next time Piranha Bytes.

  37. Stick says:

    Does the gameplay, well, work? The last thing I remember about Gothic is being chain-stunned to death by Deathpigs. A lot. Before uninstalling it in a red rage.

    Ah, alright. Demonstration download is go.

  38. Patton says:

    The combat works, and its better than in Gothic II.
    Block is atleast in the demo perhaps bit TOO effective, but otherwise the demo was good.
    It looks pretty, it isnt BROWN and from what i could gather from the demo, it will probably be atleast a decent action RPG.

  39. Patton says:

    The combat works, and its better than in Gothic II. Controlling the character in combat actually is pretty easy.
    Block is atleast in the demo perhaps bit TOO effective, but otherwise the demo was good.
    It looks pretty, it isnt BROWN and from what i could gather from the demo, it will probably be atleast a decent action RPG.

  40. Patton says:

    Also, controlling and moving the character in combat WORKS well.

  41. Mr. ThreEye says:

    Beautiful game, but that’s about it. It’s sloooow to get into the story, and the mechanics are really weird.

    I mean, groups of enemies attack me but then they take turns having a stab at me so I only really fight them one at a time. What’s up with that?

    Oh and enemies completely disregard that bitch I found on the beach – they won’t attack her. Then again, she won’t attack them either which is why I’m calling her a bitch.

    “You could help out, you know,” I tried telling her. But nooo, I had to be some kind of big strong Knight in Shining Armor (KiSA) and vanquish all our foes. She wouldn’t lift a finger.

    So I tried handing her the broom I found in a house. Nope, didn’t work. And then she had the NERVE to order me to cook for her?

    I really should’ve killed her, but I’m too much of a KiSA to do that.

    So I left her sitting on a bench, waiting for me to bring her food. I hope she dies of starvation. That would make this game awesome.

    • toni says:

      animals do attack Sara when you leave here in a hostile region. enemy AI is hard enough so I’m glad they take turns at stabs.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Actually, at least in G3, your difficulty level affects how many enemies will attack you at once. On easy it’s one, onw normal it’s two, on hard it’s three.
      Might be the same in Risen.

  42. Renzatic says:

    I can’t argue against personal preference, but I can tell you that you probably liked Oblivion better than Gothic 3 because…well…you played Gothic 3. While I didn’t think G3 was all that horrible, it didn’t come close to capturing the magic of the first two games. It lacked alot, and came off merely as halfway decent fun once you looked past the bugs.

    So what makes me think the first two Gothics are better than Oblivion? Simple. G1 & 2 felt like living, breathing worlds with personality filled NPCs. You feel like you’re making your way forward and everything has purpose. When you do something neat and gain recognition across town for what you’ve done, you really do feel like you’ve earned it. In Oblivion, I always felt like I was exploring just to explore. You know, I’m in cave 3, I found a sword, wow that’s a pretty forest, woooooo. Fun for what it is, I guess, and the mods do add alot to the game…but it’s no Gothic.

    And from what I’ve seen, it really looks like Risen is gonna continue the tradition of the first two rather than the 3rd. I couldn’t hope for anything more.

  43. damien says:

    played the demo four times through and i’ve got a huge grin on my face as a result.

    when you’re at the beach (save first) wade out to sea as far as you can…

  44. Digit says:

    I can’t wait. My usual Aus mirror has the busted demo up. :< So I'm downloading at a very slow pace from a US mirror. Alas, poor Yorric.

  45. Davie says:

    It’s not a bad demo, by any means. I haven’t tried the Gothic games, so it’s all new to me. All I’ve got to say is that it seems like standard RPG fare. Certainly fun and worth playing, but I don’t think it’ll blow anything out of the water.
    Also, the demo is stupidly short.

  46. catmorbid says:

    Risen feels like Gothic 2 with a modern engine an modern user interface (i.e. no keyboard controls). Simply awesome. I gotta say the combat system automatically felt like maybe the best system in action rpg’s I’ve ever seen: Intuitive but challenging enough to make you on your toes. The monster AI felt great, I especially loved the wolves who act aggressively wild, trying to circle around you and keep moving quickly. The quests in the demo were pretty basic, but the setting certainly seems interesting. I just have to buy this one :D

  47. Helm says:

    Really liked Gothic 2 after it was patched to all eternity and I’m one of these people that thought Oblivion was much worse than it, I did my fair share of tourism in both, though. Generally I don’t care much for properly playing single player computer rpgs because what I’m interested in is tactical, rewarding combat (for example Knights of the Challice has been the best game I’ve played this year) but I’m getting this demo, impressions to follow.

  48. Digit says:

    Oh wtf… that file finally downloaded and “The zip file is corrupted.”


  49. toni says:

    i live in austria and have the full version for 3 days. It’s from the same template as Gothic1+2 (fortunately NOT Gothic3) and so far it’s a winner. they streamlined everything without giving up features and complexity, the animal AI is very good and you die pretty easily so don’t risk too much in the beginning. Another plus (but certainly MINUS for today’s “need-to-hold-my-hand-all-the-time” gamers) is that they throw you into this world and you, the player are as clueless as the hero you play. No talking heads giving you hourlong tutorials. You can get info if you want or you can just igonre it completely. A REAL GAME, not some extended tutorial with a bossfight at the end. the german humor is toned down and VO are good (can’t talk about the english VOs) and the atmosphere/island/environment is the star of the game. Character animations are bad BUT it take this game every time over DRAGON-rebel-rebel-bitch-bitch-AGE.