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Review: Risen 3: Titan Lords – Enhanced Edition

Risen 3: Titan Lords was released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC not that long ago. The game had its moments but wasn’t extremely good or anything, some enjoyed it a lot while others hated everything about it. Not a lot of people asked for a remaster but the Enhanced Edition is just that. It brings Risen 3 to the PlayStation 4 and manages to upgrade the graphics a lot.

I want to know your name

Just like in the original Risen 3: Titan Lords, you play this game as a nameless hero that got killed short after the introduction. Since our hero is the son of the famous pirate leader ‘Captain Steelbeard’, he was brought back to life. Our new reborn hero is trapped in the Underworld and needs to find his soul in order to truly come back to life. This story is just an excuse for the gamers to meet several interesting characters spread over a set of gorgeous islands. It isn’t a bad story but it feels rushed during some moments. The developers didn’t spend a lot of time in explaining the story and skipped rather important cut scenes for the sake of a ‘faster’ game. It’s something we already noticed in the original and the Enhanced Edition doesn’t extend the story, a shame really.

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Since the story always feels rushed and unfinished, you’ll never get a real connection with the nameless hero. He’s just another generic character that serves as an empty vessel rather than a virtual human being. Maybe it’s because he lost his soul recently but a stronger connection with the character would do wonders for the game. That being said, it’s time to jump into the action of the game.

A pirate’s life for me

This brings us to the gameplay; Risen 3 is an open world pirate RPG. It’s more similar to games as Skyrim than to games such as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. In Titan Lords, you’re free to go where you want and you’re free to discover the islands on your own pace. Are you facing strong monsters on one island? Try the other and improve your skills. This open world setting is without any doubt the best thing about the game. Now that the Enhanced Edition truly uses the power of the PlayStation 4, the game actually looks good. With the addition of extra textures and layers, the world really comes to life this time. It even looks better than the original PC version. The graphics are improved a lot and we’re really glad they did. The open world is way more appealing now that it actually looks like a pirate’s paradise.

 

It’s not that bad

 

Complete quests and gain experience

Although you can spend a lot of hours in the gorgeous world, doing quests and completing the story still is crucial to advance in the game. Quests range from funny to serious and are given to you thanks to a wide variety of characters. Going on quests often results in combat and there you’ll find one of the problems in the game. Since it’s a third person combat game, you would expect great animations but everything looks like something of a decade ago. It’s a shame the developers didn’t invest more time in better animation, certainly when you look at the gorgeous environments.

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Aside of the animations, the combat uses a rather strange mechanism. You fight with the just one single button. By pressing it quickly, you’ll use light attacks and while holding it down, you’ll use a stronger attack. At first sight it looked and felt outdated and boring but we discovered there’s a certain rhythm in combat thanks to this. Switching between light and heavy attacks felt fun but got boring near the end of the game. A little more variety in combat would have been great. Aside of attacking, you can also dodge and block or use throwing knives and magic to deal with enemies. Gaining those magic spells isn’t easy however since you’ll need to complete certain quests of certain characters.

More content, same problems

Aside of improved graphics, the Enhanced Edition also comes packed with the DLC so you really have a lot of content for the price of the game. More content is good and the DLC is rather good to be honest but it’s a shame this Enhanced edition suffers from the same problems as the original. First of all there’s that terrible voice acting that’s just annoying to listen to. It’s a shame really since the story itself could have been more interesting if the studio hired more professional voice actor.

Aside of the voice acting there seems to be some frame drops now and then and the animations look silly. While walking around in the world, it still felt as if our character was ‘floating’ above ground rather than walking. Some might see this as a minor mistake but for is it really killed the vibe of exploration. Climbing a mountain as if you’re floating on it doesn’t work well in our opinion. Last problems goes to the combat segments, a lot of gamers won’t like the simple ‘one button’ action but we enjoyed the combat nevertheless.

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The problem with combat is that most gamers simply expect too much of it and start comparing it with other games. If you simply take the time to really get to know the mechanism behind the one button action, it isn’t that bad. Sure, it can get boring near the end of the game but all in all there’s a certain vibe and rhythm in the combat we haven’t found in many other games.

Conclusion:

Risen 3: Titan Lords – Enhanced Edition is the best console version of the open world pirate game. It isn’t as bas as some might say but it isn’t a triple-A game. We had fun exploring the gorgeous islands but were held back due to weird animations and simple combat. If you’re looking for a very light version of open-world games than this is a game worth trying out. Before you buy it, you really need to ask yourself if it’s a game for you. If you are appealed by its setting you’ll have fun with it without any doubt.

6/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.