Article first published as PlayStation 4 Review: ‘Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition’ from Piranha Bytes on Blogcritics.
With so many other last generation games getting current generation releases, the Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition wasn’t likely on many gamers’ radar. Piranha Bytes pirate-themed action role-playing game series, Risen has its following, but it’s not on anywhere near the same level as games like Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls, or the upcoming Fallout 4. Developed in Germany, the often awkward English language voice work will quickly grate on most gamers’ ears, and the previously bland graphics have done little motivate playing through the game’s issues. In the Enhanced Edition, Risen 3 does look significantly better.
Risen 3: Titan Lords tells the story of a nameless pirate who quickly loses his life, soul, and ship. While his life is quickly returned, the ship takes a bit longer, and regaining his soul will take the whole 40-some hour game. Travelling around and between the handful of islands can be a bit tedious depending on your exploration strategy, but there is a limited fast travel system. Luckily, Risen 3 doesn’t employ any type of encumbrance system, so players can collect items to their heart’s content. However, stuff is expensive in the game, and new skills will require experience or glory, as well as a good amount of gold.
Those familiar with action RPGs should have no trouble learning Risen 3’s controls. Besides being a fairly standard control scene, the game offers tutorials at the beginning and when new skills are learned. Additionally, when a weapon is unsheathed, the combat controls are displayed onscreen. Unfortunately, Risen 3 isn’t quite as polished as its big name competitors. The game’s animations are stilted, and awkward, which is exaggerated during the game’s frequent frame rate drops. The jumping animation is probably the most problematic, and is made worse with buggy collision detection, and physics.
Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition on the PlayStation 4 isn’t all ugly, though. The enemies, environments, and props all look really good. Piranha Bytes has also added new lighting and dynamic sky effects that weren’t even in the previous PC version. The character skins are still pretty bad and the main character’s sister, Patty is a terrible model, made even stranger by her animation set. All of the visual upgrades do come at a price. As I mentioned before there are frequent frame rate slowdowns, and the high and low resolution textures don’t swap out as quickly as they should.
During my Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition playthrough, there were some pretty serious bugs, but nothing fatal. Upon arriving at one island, none of the buildings loaded, and half of the characters were missing their heads. At first, I wasn’t sure if this was the intended effect, but after a couple of minutes, the game was virtually unplayable. After saving and quitting, the game eventually loaded correctly, and I was able to continue on. If you plan on spending a lot of time with Risen 3: Titan Lords, you need to be prepared for these types of issues, along with occasionally floating or stuck characters.
Risen 3: Titan Lords Enhanced Edition certainly does have its charms. With this new release, there is some new content for console players, and parts of the game do look really good. The fairly deep pirate-themed RPG, with its numerous side quests and handful of mini-games will keep players busy for quite a while. Risen 3’s story is interesting, though the narrative isn’t as deeply integrated as it is with similar games, and its morality system does also offer some incentive for replay. All in all, if you can get over Risen 3: Titan Lords’ rough edges, you just might enjoy it.