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29.05.2011 15:07 [Risen 2] GameStar: Risen 2 Preview (Page: 3)
From Tube to Explosion [*1*]

The developers have completely turned Risen 2 around. Fans have criticised Risen 1, on one hand, because of the lack of guidance at the beginning of the game, and on the other, because they have had to make important decisions far too early on.

When you choose a guild, you automatically close off quests belonging to other guilds, and there are many of those floating about. Naturally, the game is replayable, but the guild quests are usually longer.

Whereas Risen 1's plot grew thin towards the ending, with drab routines and lack of side quests, Risen 2's world is narrowed somewhat, to create a better experience for the player, who will have to sail through the numerous parts of the world, which are separated into different islands. Plot-related decisions soon branch out and amass, creating new, complex choices. Consequences become increasingly more important as the game progresses. The game world is not so wide at the start of the game, but it alters its proportions throughout the plot, bit by bit and then explosively, to create a sense of diversity. At least, that's what the devs are planning. We'd be happy if they succeeded.

Risen 1's ending didn't do justice to the overall game. Everything could be interpreted differently, as PR lady Cecile Schneider and manager Daniel Oberlerchner have suggested. Dividing the world into different geographic areas could be interpreted as having a more restrained gaming environment, and a different kind of of game to which both Risen and Gothic fans are unaccustomed. It could also mean too many morons set foot into difficult areas, became frustrated and then started complaining, the result being the inclusion of moron barriers within the game, which are regarded as an advancement.

Björn Pankratz, lead story writer for Risen 2
, soothes our anxieties: "Risen 2 will be a typical PB game. Everything that made our games ours is still there. The freedom, the sharp dialogues, a quest system with quests that are interlinked and not just jumbled about, quests and skills exclusive to particular guilds, even learning through teachers. Of course, we have an eye out for accessibility as well, but comfort features will be optional." By comfort features, he means, first of all, quest indicators. The hero has to acquire a world map as he progresses through the world, putting the pieces together as he visits different game areas. This makes sense: after all, the world of Risen 2 is far larger than that of its predecessor, bigger than Gothic 3's, even.

Silvertongue and Steelbeard

We return to the pretty beach where Carlos has sent us. There we meet another friend from days gone by: the daughter of the mighty pirate Steelbeard, shapely Patty, with whom we've gone through several amusing quests. Patty ends up washed ashore, a victim of the sea creatures. With a spark in her eye, she tells us that the old lord, Overpirate Steelbeard, has found a method to combat the monsters, and that we should seek him out. But this encounter with Patty is a double-edged blade, rife with undertones. We can never be sure whether people truly mean the things they say. Some replies are bound to specific skills.

For example: We want to enter the pirates' nest. Long story. The inquisition prompts us to recover a certain quantity of sugarcane. The pirates use sugarcane to brew rum, which is to pirates as bread and butter. Healing potions in Risen 2 are made with an alcohol basis. Now we shall clarify how the thief skills work.

Who we side with is our choice. But first we have to loot the place, and the guard won't budge. We try to persuade him with "Silvertongue," but his stubbornness leaves him unaffected. Either he's immune to persuasion, or our skills are lacking and need to be improved. We try to threaten him, only to have the dialogue end. What shall we do? The game proffers two possibilities. We test out the first by striking the guy down, and this works even without any sort of talent. And it gets better: after he's felled, a new option comes up: we can help the wounded boy. Thus he starts seeing us with new eyes, and decides to pay tribute to the pirates. Furthermore, he is thankful for our kind-heartedness, and lets us in.

But there's another way of reaching the pirates, which we'll try in a moment. On the way to the back door, we find a cove in which we meet a pirate from Steelbeard's crew. He probably has information about the location of the legendary freebooter, but most importantly, he can teach us some new tricks. Dirty tricks.

[*1*] = It refers to the new game design were the game start linear ("tube-level") and then opens up to the player (an "explosion" of choices/paths).

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