PIRATES! Sorry, sorry, need to calm down a bit. I’ve always been a huge supporter of ninjas in the Pirate Vs. Nina Internet debate, but not when it comes to video games. As far as video games are concerned I’m all about the pirates. Which is why I wasn’t going to miss a chance to get my hands on Risen 2: Dark Waters! As it turns out it was a visual only event where I got to watch some of the guys from Deep Silver play the game in front of me… taunting me… mocking me. However, I did learn a lot of juicy information and they did give me a bottle of rum. So as I swig away on that let’s get down to brass taxes and talk about what Risen 2 is bringing to the table in early-mid 2012!
For those with a lack of common sense, Risen 2: Dark Waters is the sequel to 2009’s Risen, a fantasy RPG with a bad habit of having clunky controls and a myriad of vegetation and creatures. Risen 2 places you back into those big swaggery pirate boots of Nameless Hero #9 from the original Risen. Only now he’s a bit down on his luck and has been seemingly abandoned on yet another desert island without any food, supplies or friends. However, just like myself, he is still packing plenty of rum.
To kick things off on a positive note, Risen 2 has promised that the combat system will be improved over the original with particular attention to fighting multiple enemies at once. Just going off what I saw the sword fighting appeared to take a more Assassin’s Creed approach to fending off enemies when in large groups, and definitely looked to be a lot smoother than the combat from back in the stone-age year of 2009.
The second most notable difference which was discernible before anybody had even picked up a controller was the graphics were vastly improved. The original Risen was not the ugliest beast at the ball, but I think I’m safe in saying that it could definitely have used an extra coast of paint in certain areas. Risen 2 is quick to address that by looking absolutely stunning. Both the PC and Xbox 360 versions which were on display were beautiful to gaze upon. I’d give the slight edge to the PC (of course) but I was impressed with the 360 version, especially given the promises being laid down at just how huge Risen 2 was going to be. The textures looked bright and crisp, the local foliage had little to no pixelation, and the shadow and lighting was perfect for a game that is primarily set on bright, sunny desert islands.
What Deep Silver was very talkative about was the idea of being more immersed in the world of Risen 2. Every character interaction will give you multiple dialogue options, the NPCs you walk past or stand by will actually gossip about various actions and decisions you’ve made throughout the game (sometimes even possibly hinting at treasures you may or may not have been close to), and giving a lot of the races in the game more of a solid backstory.
The race of Gnomes from Risen are back and this time we are promised that they will have a much richer story to them and their race. Luckily they no longer only speak their own undecipherable language from the original, now some have learned how to speak English thanks to the local pirates which means they drop F Bombs like they’re going out of fashion and CeX hasn’t reduced their trade-in price yet. This means as the game goes on you gradually learn more about their history, how they came to be, and how many times a game developer can slip the word ‘fuck’ into dialogue before it, by law, has to become a rap song.
There are some extra gameplay elements which have also been worked in to help really draw you into the universe of Risen 2. For example, they have implemented a day and night cycle which acts very much like Castlevania 2 only without that damned annoying pop-up box to inform you that it’s happening. Shops will be closed at night, guards will be on higher alert, and you’ll also be able to sleep your way through whatever hours of the day you please so now you can be lazy in a video game while you’re being lazy playing a video game. YES!
My favourite mention during Deep Silver’s ‘immersion’ discussion was the quests. I’ve already dropped all the information I know about the multiple dialogue options, but Deep Silver has promised that every quest in the game will have multiple ways to complete it. The one we were shown, for example, claimed to have three possible solutions which each have a specific effect on the characters involved and the surrounding area. Though two of those options were left a mystery to us, I can verify that simply stealing the thing you want by busting in through the window is one solution which does not seem to ever not be a choice.
Now, I’ve gone ahead and broken the sacred rule of journalism and I’ve saved the two best bits for last. Two new components which will be coming to the Risen experience with Dark Waters are the ability to gather and control a crew of AI characters and a monkey.
That’s right, you heard me right folks, the ability to gather and control a fully fledged crew. Just like Captain Jack Sparrow (DAMMIT!), in true Pirates of the Caribbean style as you are down on your luck, high on blood alcohol content and with nary two planks of wood to rub together you are after a pirate crew to help you gain a ship and presumably plunder, pillage or rescue various fair maidens (Deep Silver were very cryptic about the plot-line thus far). I’d love to delve into it in more detail but, aside from explaining that gathering a crew is a rather prominent feature in Risen 2, Deep Silver were very hush hush about the whole thing so the best I can tell you is that it is definitely a thing that is happening.
Who cares about any of the previous 1,000 words, though, because MONKEY! Again, Deep Silver were not willing to divulge the full extent of how the monkey comes into play but they did let a few gems slip out. First, and most important, of all: yes the monkey is playable. As far as what was shown, playable on command. This means whenever the situation suits you, Nameless Hero de jour is able to ask his little chum to run into a house to steal supplies, distract guards, swipe keys off belts and get into smaller areas through very convenient monkey-sized holes. I doubt the monkey itself has a set name, but even if it does I full intent to call mine ‘Fuzzylumpkins’ and hope that it’s possible to not have to control anyone or any thing else for the entire game.
That was all that was revealed at this super secret first look event… or was it? Well, yes. We did however get an awesome interview with the two Deep Silver guys who did reveal one or two extra bonus chunks of information! So if you’re hankering for some more Risen 2: Dark Waters talk then be sure to constantly Tweet Us until our feed is filled with nothing but talk of promiscuous ladies, booze and monkeys! Or stay tuned for the exclusive Ready Up interview next week. Whichever takes your fancy.