As I sit to write our official Risen 3 Titan Lords Enhanced Edition Review I remembered a very bad moment in gaming. See, I was one of the very few people in the world to actually give Risen 3 a chance on the PlayStation 3 build and it had me really questioning my memory.
As I stepped away from my next gen gaming for a while. It made me wonder how much gaming had moved forward since I was swamped with blocky visuals, jerky movement and pop-in wherever I looked. After a few hours I simply had to play GTA V and The Last of Us again just to check what PS3 gaming could actually be like if done properly and I sat back relieved PS3 gaming was how I remembered it and this was just a downright awful port.
Risen 3 was one of the worst quality games I had played in recent years but I came back ready to give it another chance to impress me as the Enhanced Edition hits the PlayStation 4. The game is essentially the same in many ways with some graphical tweaks but, alas the same problems remain and I’m sad to say it brings one of my Yorkshire phrases to mind.
You can’t polish a turd… but you can roll it in glitter.
Look and Feel
As I say above, there is a graphical improvement where colours look more vibrant and the overall finish on characters and the environment look nice at times. There are some solid character models and nice environments.
My issue is, these are mainly apparent when the game is still or showing you an area on a smooth moving camera. The moment you have control and move around you are subjected to a sluggish frame rate and texture pop in around every corner.
This is a step up from the PS3 version but that really would not take much. In comparison to the quality gaming we’ve been handed so far this year it’s really below what you would expect of a PlayStation 4 title.
Story and Gameplay
You are a pirate, brother of your companion Patty and son of infamous pirate Steelbeard but remain nameless and simply play the role of the Hero. As you get into the game you and your sister explore a tomb but become victim of the shadows of the underworld.
This kills the hero, banishing your soul to the underworld and you are dead and buried… but not for long. Another dead person, Bones, revives you and you become a man again but one without a soul and need to fight the shadows of the underworld to reclaim it or you will become a slave to the Shadows yourself.
Shadows not only hold your soul captive for reasons unknown to you, but they invade the pirate islands with fleets of ships and monsters lead by captain Crow. The story sees you fighting back to reclaim the land and your soul.
The story is actually a pretty decent one, it’s one of the strongest elements to the game and if you can battle your way passed the shoddy build, it becomes relatively entertaining with some cheesy but fun dialogue.
There are moments where the volume level of the voice acting seriously lacks normalisation, where one moment they are very quiet and the next incredibly loud. And of course, the acting is very much on the side of a daytime movie on Lifetime but still, it’s worth getting into.
With some returning characters from previous Risen games too, there is something for fans to enjoy.
What you won’t enjoy however is the combat system and this really, really has me pulling a strange face here. I can get any game designer thinking a combat system is ok and they get it all together and people don’t like it… this is a risk you take with fixed controls.
But to see the reviews of Risen 3 and release and Enhanced Edition and STILL not fix the combat system to a more natural feeling manner of controlling combat is a very strange decision. Your main action button, X is you attack and you may think this could work but with using R2 as parry, R1 as alternative fire and Square as dodge it simply feels a mess and is unnatural you your instincts of controlling a fight in a game.
Why they didn’t either make two or three alternatives or just let you create your own controls I don’t know. They could have done it in a patch so in a full on re-release it should have happened for me and then the game may not have been so difficult to get through.
As an RPG there is however a lot to do, there are lots of loot items to find with treasure to dig up (in quite possibly the worst digging animation I have ever seen! Dig the ground, dust appears but the ground stays the same around the dust then 3 imaginary digs later a chest appears! It’s genuinely hilarious) and lots of items to collect. Magic is applied nicely as brings down fire to smash your enemies or even turns you into a parrot for flying over chasms.
The most annoying part of the game is you can see some really clever ideas and some fun elements in there, it’s just so badly put together it makes a complete waste of some good RPG mechanics.
Risen is a struggle of a game, the story is a fun one with some interesting, if a little cheesy, twists and turns along the way. There are some good ideas too with interesting RPG elements but they are so badly executed in the first instance and not really enhanced in this enhanced edition it really is one for the fans and fans only.
When you stack the game up on the PlayStation 4 and all the other RPG’s you could get involved with it’s not something that stacks up against the competition. As an Enhanced Edition Risen 3 really doesn’t live up to it’s name, they have improved the god awful PS3 port somewhat but they have not really looked at the gameplay issues of the game and rectified the combat system that really could have made the game more playable.
Risen 3 Titan Lords Enhanced Edition Review Format: PS4