Titans, Fallen – Risen 3: Titan Lords

I'm not touching you! Do you want me to stop not-touching you?

Hark! There, off on that obscure isle surrounded by countless biting piranhas, a new Risen has arisen! The Gothic spiritual successor series has previously dazzled with its ambition just as much as it’s disappointed with technical troubles, tedious conversations, and bland helpings of fillery gruel. If you want to understand the series’ charm, I highly recommend Alec’s diaries of the first game, as they’re captivating reads and also there are kittens. Risen 3: Titan Lords, meanwhile, will once again spirit players away to a new setting full of opposing factions and infinitely explorable nooks and crannies. Details below.

Here’s the basic premise, per developer Piranha Bytes:

“The world of Risen 3 is abandoned by all gods and suffers from the Titan Wars when a new threat rises from the soil. A young warrior is attacked from the shadows and deprived of his soul. He sets off to reclaim what is lost amidst the darkness that is spreading throughout the world. The banned Mages could be powerful allies on his quest. To get their help, he needs to find the Mage sanctuary on Taranis, also known as the Island of Thunder. Protected by the Guardians, the Mages search the mines of Taranis for crystals loaded with magic energy. Will the player join the Guardians to get in contact with the Mages? Or will he choose one of the other guilds in Risen 3 to reach his goals?”

“The key element of the cult Gothic series as well as Risen is the vivid world and the freedom to explore it. The world of Risen 3: Titan Lords will be diverse, authentic and full of life, providing the player with an authentic, classic RPG experience.”

So it sounds pretty par for the fantasy RPG course, but hopefully Risen’s penchant for sidestepping tropes and injecting a rather delightful weirdness into the proceedings will show through. This one doesn’t appear to be another pirate adventure, but eh. I think I got my fill of pirates in Risen 2.

Risen 3 is set to release in August. Between that, Rise of the Triad, Metal Gear Rising, and countless others, there sure have been a lot of things rising lately (no not like that, Captain gutter-for-a-brain; but also kinda like that). Maybe we should, like, anchor them down or something.


  1. biggergun says:

    The screenshot cites one of the Gothic 1 promo screenshots. Hopefully this means they intend to recreate all the things that made Gothic great. Also, I now feel nostalgic and very old.

  2. -SD- says:

    Just in case anyone goes “Ah, so PB decided to jump in on the titan bandwagon, eh?”:

    Titans have been the theme of Risen games since the first one was out in 2009.

  3. Solidstate89 says:

    I’ve had Risen installed on my computer for nearly 2 years now and have still not gotten around to playing it after meaning to, for the longest time.

    Is it still worth it?

    • Alexander says:

      The first 15 hours of the first one are fucking worth it. Get in there already. But prepare for constant disappointment afterwards. Also, you can happily skip the second.

      • mlaskus says:

        I agree about the first Risen but I’m not so sure about outright dismissing the second one.
        It’s an awful Gothic game but it’s world is pretty unique and I’ve enjoyed it’s mix of pirates, tribals and conquistadors. It’s definitely not a game for everyone, but if you enjoy exploring interesting places then there is fun to be had there. If you simply want more Gothic then Risen 2 does not deliver.

      • Keyrock says:

        I actually like Risen 2. It’s definitely not without faults and I agree it;s not as good as the first game, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. Voodoo, especially, can be quite fun to play with, even if it is severely underpowered form a strictly practical standpoint (while muskets are insanely overpowered).

      • mwoody says:

        I liked the second. Definitely play a mage, and play on high difficulty. The spell-creation system lets you combine effects in a way I always hoped the Elder Scrolls games would allow.

        I think people who didn’t enjoy Risen 2 played a melee class.

    • Keyrock says:

      It’s absolutely worth it. The first 80% of Risen is great. The last 20% is dreadful, but it’s worth playing for the early and middle portions of the game.

    • derbefrier says:

      I thought it sucked. Probably one of the worst rpgs I have ever played. I tried to like it, multiple times even its just not a very good game. If you already own it might as well give it a shot. Any game no matter how bad will have its fans maybe you could be one of them.

    • orborborb says:

      1. Dark Souls
      2. The Marathon Trilogy
      3. Super Mario 64
      4. Minecraft
      5. Risen
      6. Final Fantasy IV
      7. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
      8. Riven: The Sequel to Myst
      9. Myth: The Fallen Lords
      10. Thief: The Dark Project

    • Urthman says:

      I loved Risen 1 and have been vacillating about whether I should try Gothic 3 next or Risen 2. I loved exploring the detailed, hand-crafted world of Risen 1 and I liked the combat too.

  4. Alexander says:

    August doesn’t sound good at all. I’m glad they have funding to pump RPGs, but they should take it easy and just gradually improve on the Gothic series and the first Risen. At least give us another Gothic 2 and all is forgiven.

  5. Blackcompany says:

    But will it have decent combat? Judging by the demos for both the first and second game, they both suffered from “Bethesda Syndrome” where combat was concerned. That is, they both placed you in combat about 75% of the time spent playing the game, despite only having spent about 5% of development time on their combat systems.

    I don’t mind a good RPG that isn’t focused on combat. I don’t mind a combat heavy action game. As long as both titles play to their strengths. If you’re going to make a a game where combat is the focus – or at least a major focal point – then spend some time creating a varied, interesting combat system. Otherwise, go light on combat and put the emphasis on – heaven forbid – playing a role.

    • Horg says:

      Combat in Risen 1 was quite under rated. The melee system was a blocking / counter attacking game that actually required you to pay attention to your opponents move set and not get surrounded. The learning curve was quite steep, which is honestly where I think most of the complaints come from. Once you got the hang of it though it was a pretty decent system, more like a weaker Dark Souls than a Skyrim. I never played Risen 2 so I cannot comment on that one.

    • meatshit says:

      I disagree. Risen has one of the best combat systems in RPGdom. It plays like a less-polished version of Dark Souls, where enemies are strong enough that you must dodge and block their attacks, but also have predictable attack patterns that can be exploited, provided you have enough skill, in-game and out. It’s unforgiving, but incredibly rewarding once you get the hang of it.

      Granted, Dark Souls-style combat isn’t for everyone, but PB certainly didn’t half-ass combat in the first game. The second one, however…

    • Blackcompany says:

      Perhaps the problem was my only playing the Demo. It was very short, and only introduced you to combat in the beginning of the game. Sounds as if there was far more to combat in the first Risen game than the Demo indicates.

  6. Rao Dao Zao says:

    People keep recommending me Risen 2 but a physical box GOTYE pack with all expansions and whatevs seems awfully hard to come by.

  7. cpeninja says:

    Alec’s diaries are the reason I bought and player Risen 1.

    Risen 1 is the reason I did not buy and made hissing noises at Risen 2 when it was announced.

    I will not be tricked again, RPS! Alec is clearly some sort of satan or witch.

  8. Vast_Girth says:

    The beauty of Gothic 1 was that it had a tremendous sense of place. I can still vividly remember the Old Camp, the New Camp and of course the wonderful commune out in the swamp along with loads of other great places to find. It had nothing in the way of traditional towns, etc that you see in all other RPGs. It was massively ahead of its time with NPC schedules, with them going to work in the mine and then coming back to camp to sit around the camp fire in the otherwise pitch black night.

    They never quite managed to capture the same feeling in the sequels, if anything they have gotten gradually worse and more generic as they have gone on. Still all good games though so i look forward to Risen 3!

  9. Keyrock says:

    I’m a bit saddened that it looks like we’ll be going back to mostly medieval-ish looking locales. One thing I really liked about the first 2 games was the lush tropical setting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still happily get the game, it’s not a deal-breaker or anything.

  10. RedViv says:

    No pirates, and apparently not even tropical areas any more? Hmm. Slightly disappointed.

  11. XhomeB says:

    The fact Gothic series never got the critical acclaim it deserved (and ludicrously inferior Morrowind & Oblivion got praised to hell and back) always annoyed me to no end…
    The original Risen I loved, it got linear towards the end, but oozed that Piranha Games charm. And then Risen 2 happened… I hate to use the term “consolized”, but that’s precisely what happened. What a disappointing mess.
    Crossing fingers R3 returns to the roots.

  12. Keyrock says:

    This probably won’t be a popular opinion, but I think Piranha Bytes are better world builders than Bethesda. To me, they make worlds that are much more fun to explore and that cram a lot more interesting stuff to find into smaller worlds on a much smaller budget.

    • Morlock says:

      It may depend what you want from your virtual world. Bethesda by now specializes on pathos and grandeur. Even the Capital Wasteland is magnificent. Piranha Bytes’ world appear more grounded, real and lived-in. I like both approaches, though I really hope that Bethesda abandons the linear dungeon approach they used in Skyrim.

    • n3burgener says:

      You are not alone in this regard. I’ve long held a much deeper appreciation for Piranha Bytes’ games than Bethesda’s. After playing the first Gothic in 2001, I found it difficult to get into Morrowind a year later, and then when Gothic 2 came out the year after Morrowind I was further convinced of what Morrowind was lacking — a compelling world that feels real, and is full of genuine danger and rewarding discoveries.

      Gothic 1 and 2 were years ahead of their time. When the Bethesda marketing team were hyping up the “Radiant AI” of Oblivion, and how NPCs would follow a realistic, daily schedule and react to your actions, I couldn’t help but think “Gothic did that five years ago.” And then Oblivion’s world still ended up feeling rather stale and artificial compared to Gothic 1 and 2.

      The Gothic games provide the same degree of openness and the same sense of discovery as the TES games, but with much more focus. The landmass is ultimately smaller in the Gothic games, but that allows them to be much more detailed, and allows each square foot to stand out as distinct and memorable, whereas the TES worlds are just unmanageable wastelands meant to spread everything out further, thus making it seem bigger and more epic than it truly is, but while stretching its ingredients out way too thin and in effect making everything seem much more shallow.

      There’s obviously a lot more going on in the Gothic games that make them so much better than the TES games. See these articles “On the Gothic Series” and “Great Games You Never Played: Gothic” for more detailed explanations.

      The first Risen was a step in the right direction after the technical, unfocused mess that was Gothic 3, but it kind of lost its stride towards the end, in terms of turning into a tedious chore of a game. Risen 2 was alright, but felt like a step back from Risen 1. The setting and atmosphere was great, but the combat was not very satisfying and the exploration felt much more restricted. I’m somewhat skeptical of Risen 3, wondering if PB have lost their touch, or aren’t taking the proper amount of time to make sure their games are as polished or thought-out as they should be. Hopefully they’ll have learned some lessons from Risen 2 and Risen 3 will be an improvement.

    • weary ghoul says:

      I don’t think that’s going to be an unpopular opinion here at all. There are tons of people on RPS who dislike Bethesda’s games. Though for what it’s worth, I’m not one of them.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Another Gothic fan here. Loved 1 and 2, but I feel like Piranha has sort of struggled with, for lack of a better phrase, the ‘next-gen’ transition, like they haven’t quite managed to translate the depth and character of Gothic to a higher level of detail. This is most evident in Gothic 3, which was just spread way too thin… and less so in Risen 1, but it’s still not quite on the same level as Gothic. Didn’t try Risen 2 yet, but I’m hoping they manage to recapture what was great about their earlier games.

  13. CookPassBabtridge says:

    If we are going through a TITAN themed year, I want a Titanic Walking Simulator (and sinking I suppose) not-game please.

    And staying on a disaster theme, I would also like a Chernobyl walking simulator not-game and maybe even a last-days-of-the-soviet-union walking simulator not-game. I just like the idea of interactive, I-am-there versions of major disasters and world events. Even if they get a slightly rude Steam tag.

  14. TheManko says:

    Gothic 1 & 2 are the two best RPGs ever, so I’ll buy anything Piranha Bytes does based on those two. The AI system in Gothic 1 is still miles ahead of anything Elder Scrolls has going. When they hyped up the Radiant AI for Oblivion I thought they were going to catch up, but it turned out to be a joke. Amazed nobody seems to do animal/NPC behavior, day/night cycles as well as Gothic did way back when. They’ve been able to basically copy-paste that same system from game to game for over a decade without it becoming outdated. Maybe Witcher 3 will become the first open world RPG to outdo them. Stoked for both of them.