Of Buckles and Swashes: Risen 2’s “Unfair” Combat

Hey, you're making me pretty crabby. I just might snap.
That is not, of course, to say that Risen 2: Dark Waters snatches away your hard-won victories or pits you against a giant, 20-story-tall physical manifestation of the public’s waning interest in pirates. Rather, the patch-eyed, peg-legged sea scoundrels have been known to use any means necessary to win a fight. Kicking below the belt, bringing guns to a swordfight, being Orlando Bloom, etc. But can such a varied arsenal stand up against seemingly unprovoked jaguar attacks? Risen 2’s latest dev diary aims to answer that burning question and many more. Also, it strongly hints at attack parrots, which is something I didn’t know I wanted until it turned out that I wanted it more than anything in this sad mortal world.

Of course, the bulk of Risen’s appeal comes from its world, which Jim seemed to enjoy quite a bit when he took to high fantasy’s high seas a couple months ago. As for me, I’m definitely keeping an eye on this one, if only because I can’t help but admire Piranha Bytes’ quirky brand of ambition. Plenty of companies say, “Sure, let’s add pirates; people like those, right?” But that’s so cynical. Risen 2 seems to be approaching the subject with actual personality (and a kraken!) – something sadly lacking in most variations on this theme.


  1. kud13 says:

    colour me very intrigued. Now if I only had the time to lay through the first game…..

    Although i’m not enamoured by the fact that they essentially say “at some point, you will have to use every playstyle”, no exceptions. It tends to remove the feeling of crafting your own story.

    Ah well, we shall see.

    • BoZo says:

      Is it necessary to play the first game before this one? I’m quite interested in this one but I have about eight quadrillion games on my backlog so I’d rather just skip to the second game directly…

      • PodX140 says:

        I believe the first is the reason for the second’s world being in the state it is, but apart from “some” read: tons of backstory and lore, I don’t think so?

    • mr.lutze says:

      “It tends to remove the feeling of crafting your own story.”

      That is complete nonsense. If you want to craft your own story without any limitations, write a book. Video games, especially cRPG are supposed to establish the world and challenges to which our story must adapt and sometimes evolve in unexpected ways. Unfortunately “Write your own story” become marketing excuse for incompetence of companies like Bethesda.

      • FecesOfDeath says:

        Or, you could just play a JRPG.

      • kud13 says:

        I probably did not say that properly (given I was up all night cramming, highly probable)
        what I meant to say was, i’m not looking for a bethesda-type completely open world. I have no issues with ending up at the same ending the devs want me to be at.

        it was more to the fact that “there are points where you have to fight, there are points where you have to talk, there are points where you have to look for stuff. And these are discrete, and your choice of playstyle is irrelevant, because at this point you’ll be doing that”-statement. essentialy, i’m afraid it will make player choices pointless–that’s what I meant by crafting a story–approaching the situation in a way I prefer with the tools given vs being told what to do in each part of the game.

      • Blackcompany says:

        “Write your own story” become marketing excuse for incompetence of companies like Bethesda.”

        Well said. Could not possibly agree more. Bethesda throws this line around not because they want you to able to craft your own story – if they did, you would have numerous starting areas and back story options – but because they care completely incapable of telling a compelling story on their own.

        • Unaco says:

          What if none of their backstory options where something I wanted for my character and the story I’m crafting for them? That would mean that my story was not what I wanted, as soon as I started. Bethesda have always used the ambiguous prisoner start, so you can craft WHATEVER backstory you want. Them getting involved would limit the possibilities.

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          gritz says:

          Why do you need a pre-generated backstory in order to “write your own story”? If anything, that’s the opposite of creating your own- you’re just selecting one instead.

      • fish99 says:

        Skyrim could have the best story ever and people wouldn’t care much about it, because the main story is just 6-8 hrs out of the 150+ hrs of content in the game, and the sort of people who enjoy Bethesdas RPGs aren’t looking for directed story driven experiences, they mainly want freedom and a big world to explore.

      • lurkalisk says:

        “That is complete nonsense”

        No, THAT is complete nonsense. S/he’s obviously not talking about writing a damn story from scratch you… You choddwozzer. “Write your own story” in videogame terms, generally means something sort of Mount & Blade-ish. You know this. I find it unacceptable that you would seriously think otherwise, as that would imply the itelligence of some australian frog variant. The scenarios the other poster mentions are rare, frankly, but they a good thing. That “Okay, I know we have variety and specialized combat, but it doesn’t matter, you play how we want you to” is far worse than what ever the hell you’re talking about.

        • mr.lutze says:

          What are you talking about? That has nothing to do with what I said.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Yeah you over-reacted to “write your own story” and missed the point of the post. He’s just explaining that.

          • mr.lutze says:

            I don’t have any problem with “write your own story”, quite opposite actually. So no, I didn’t miss his point, because that’s not what I have problem with. My point is that you can’t be god in game and you can’t solve every problem the way YOU want. For example, If you piss someone it shouldn’t always be possible to talk you way out. Sometime shit just happens and the beauty of RPGs is that you have to react to something you and your character didn’t expect. So ““at some point, you will have to use every playstyle” is not a problem in itself (if done right, of course) and doesn’t tend “to remove the feeling of crafting your own story” – it actually makes crafting that story more challenging, rich experience (Arcanum does that quite well).

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        gritz says:

        This is nonsense. Not only does it imply that reacting to circumstances that the world-building lays out for you isn’t “writing your own story”, it also suggests that somehow Bethesda is lax in its ability to build a world interesting enough to forge those stories.

  2. Svant says:

    Hopefully they really emphasis the importance of blocking instead of just soaking up damage, theres nothing more annoying and stupid than when you hit someone in the face with a big ass sword and do 5% damage. Hits should be lethal and avoiding, blocking attacks should be the most important part of combat.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Mmmmmm, Bushido Blade….

      • Renfield says:

        And guns should instantly kill/incapacitate if they hit.

        Frankly, despite not being as niche as Bushido Blade (or Die by the Sword), I feel that the Assassin’s Creed franchise got that part of combat quite spot-on.

        [The superhuman protagonists notwithstanding.]

    • PodX140 says:

      The first really empashized this, and timing as well. Maybe not to the point of instant death, but it took maybe 2-3 hits IIRC.

      • Svant says:

        Yeh thats why i really loved the slow and somewhat clunky combat of the first game. So much better than flailing about like a figure skater on crack. Combat seems faster in Risen 2 though, but i have high hopes for it just hope they have enough money and time to actualyl finish this game. The last half of Risen 1 really showed that they didn’t have time/money to finish it properly.

    • InternetBatman says:

      If it’s anything like the old games the importance is on not getting hit and running away. Risen/ Gothic is a dirty world, blocking is useful, but while you’re blocking his friends are coming up behind you.

  3. Drayk says:

    I played the first one till the monastery, then I got borred. Hope this one is better.

  4. ecat says:

    I played the first one till the end, all good fun apart from the final boss fight.

    Not a great fan of pirates, still another Risen game so worth a look.
    Discovered they are asking £40 for the privilege of finding out if they’ve repeated the same boss fight mistake.

    Ho ho ho, I laughed, that’ll be right matey, £40? Get lost.

    If you look around you can pick the game up for nearer £30, but this has become a matter of principle. I’ll wait for it to sale, if at all.

  5. oceanclub says:

    I’ve really got to get around to finishing “Gothic 3” and “Risen” at some point; the former is possibly the game I’ve most changed my mind about – thought the demo was an appalling buggy mess and avoided the game for years; then got the Gothic pack on Steam and ended up loving it (fortunately by that time it had been patched to a very playable state, though it still runs relatively poorly).


    • InternetBatman says:

      I’m a huge fan of Piranha bytes, but you can skip finishing Risen and Gothic 3. The real meat of the games is exploration, and Gothic 1 and 2 provide enough late game places to explore that it really becomes worth it. In Gothic 3 you can explore everything without the story, and it’s only boring enemy (normally orcs) filled pits in the last levels. In Risen it gets a little fun exploring the second half of the island, but once you’re ready to stop just do. It descends into a long fairly linear dungeon crawl.

  6. MuscleHorse says:

    If it’s attack parrots you’re after, the Source mod Pirates, Vikings and Knights has them by the shoulder load.

    I played a bit of the Risen demo and found it to be really quite bland. Does it get better or is that the flavour of the whole game?

  7. kud13 says:

    someone in RPS did a diary on it, I believe.

  8. Robert says:

    Oh this video. They are actually sitting between jungle props looking all professional. I would call it endearing if I could shake off the condescending tone of that verb.

  9. DOLBYdigital says:

    Attack pirates…. I can’t believe you’ve never played Pirates, Vikings and Knights II… I’m disappointed RPS, that game has some of the best first person melee combat I’ve played in awhile (personally think its better than M&B and Chivalry). It’s free and hosted by Steam for criminey sakes!
    I liked it even more before they added guns, while the guns are actually fairly balanced, I loved the melee only.

  10. Yosharian says:

    Sooo… this game has been released and it’s purty bad from what I hear.