Risen 2: Dark Waters 2-Years Later ReviewGuest_Jim_* - August 27, 2014
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To be both honest and fair, I am a stickler when it comes to story; much more than a lot of people. It is not because I have a high standard for stories, but because of how I recognize their purpose and value that makes me so sensitive to their quality. The story of Risen 2, in substance and execution, I would describe as lousy and deliberately crude to the point of hurting the experience, substantially.
First we can consider its relationship to the original title. Only years separate the two games, evidenced by the returning characters, including the playable character being the same in both. The first game was set in a fantasy world with ogres, gnomes, magic, skeletons, swords, shields, and suits of armor. This game is set in a pirate world with more realistic animal threats, firearms, cannons, heavy clothing for protection, and voodoo. Such a drastic change is ridiculous, just from the technological standpoint. We are talking about a shift from medieval times to late renaissance, or post renaissance in what looks like less than a decade. Suspension of disbelief only stretches so far.
Add on to this the connections to the original game's events and things get even screwier. Apparently in the years that separate the titles, your character has joined the Inquisition; the Old Empire has been destroyed by the combat between two Titan Lords, one of which is supposed to be an incorporeal spirit and the other has not been introduced before; another Titan Lord, Mara, has been released; and apparently the destructive storms of the original game have also subsided. Some of this is explained, but not enough of it and not well enough for my satisfaction. For crying out loud, it was hours into the game before I even had a clue what the antagonist, Mara, looked like and then still longer to find out what she was.
For your benefit, here are some light spoilers. Mara is a Titan Lord, which means that she was once given the tools needed to control and even kill the Titans of the world. Apparently at some point after defeating the Titans, she tricked certain leaders of humanity to enslave their people for her, in exchange for the very tools she wielded against the Titans. Eventually these leaders turned on her, but instead of killing her, left her imprisoned. Her unintentional release has led to many of the events of this game and set you on the path to find the artefacts and kill her.
Now why she was not killed in the past is never truly explained. It is implied that it is because of the weakness of humanity to completely betray her, but that does not make much sense because if you are going to betray such a dangerous being, you would go all the way with it.
To avoid further spoilers of the general story, it is time to move on to more specific elements and the storytelling. Actually there is just one specific element I want to mention, which is the depiction of the natives. While it is understandable how firearms would do well against spears, voodoo that allows you to control other people and create powerful potions should still make a decent showing. At least a better showing than what we see. Even without that, the native tribes are very old, so why would they be so small and restricted to ruins of their past? There should be grand cities they had built more recently as their population grew. Sure the cities could have been captured and the people we see are the remnants of the societies, but where are the cities? It just does not make sense. Granted I may be putting more into this than I should, but things just do not add up.
The storytelling and scripting of the characters seems to swing between crude humor and sophomoric humor with obscenities everywhere. Honestly I am surprised there were no fart jokes, or at least none that I remember, and one would have stood out. This is not a positive, to be crystal clear. Typifying it all would have to be a talking gnome named Jaffar. He learned to speak English from pirates, and somehow that translated to practically every other word being an obscenity. He actually never says 'yes' without 'f*%$' before it.
The only thing impressive about the story is that it is coherent enough to connect the events of the game. It was not the story that was driving me to the end, it was the desire to finish the game before writing this review that did that.