Developed by German developer Pirahna Bytes, Risen is a third-person Western RPG released in 2009. It is very similar to the games of the Gothic series made by the developers before they left their former publisher and lost the rights to the franchises name. One of its signature elements is the combat system: You can parry weapons, dodge, and break the enemy's guard, similar to a fighting game. The game is somewhat similar in nature to that of Oblivion, but instead of everything being randomly generated (leaving you to the mercy of level scaling), everything is hand-placed by the developers, and leveling is accomplished by paying trainers to slowly raise your stats. This approach in execution makes leveling up feel more like a real accomplishment rather than flipping a flag that gives you instant mastery over all types of weapons, as is usual in this genre. Reviews for this game were generally positive for the PC, but the Xbox360 port received mixed reviews.The sequel, titled Risen 2: Dark Waters continues a story from the first game with the same protagonist. This time he tries to stop Titan Lords from awakening Titans who lay the world to waste. It takes place in a tropical setting (read:Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon!) and introduces several new elements, like firearms. The reception, from both critics and fans, for the PC release was not as positive as with the original, and the console ports received a much more negative reaction. Risen 3: Titan Lords was released in 2014 and had a similarly mixed reception.
Contains examples of:
Acrophobic Bird: The Sea Vultures. Incidentally, there aren't really flying enemies in the game, just giant moths that hover above the ground.
Beef Gate: You can generally get a good idea of where you're not supposed to be on the island by whether or not the enemies in the area can one-shot you.
BFS: If you invest a lot of points in the Sword skill you will eventually be able to wield double-handed swords in one hand. And wave them around like they're made of styrofoam.
Black and Grey Morality: The two main factions are a group of fanatical Knight Templar and a bandit clan. You have to side with one of them. Though the Bandits have a bit of a moral edge due to the fact that the Bandit leader is the rightful ruler of the island who was ousted by the Knight Templars.
There is the chance to join a third faction, but it requires earning enough favor with both of the previous factions to enter the main city undetected, and then prove your worthiness to the third faction before the Knights Templar faction forces you to join them.
But Thou Must: Pretty much all conversations that are part of the main questline resolve in this manner.
You are also forced into joining a faction at the beginning of the game; no Fallout-style tearing ass through the countryside with level 25 equipment and ignoring the plot for you.
Tevhnically you can explore 90% of the island before joining any faction and clear out all monsters and loot (including weapons) from there, you don't have acces to advanced training (which is crucial) and armor (even more so) though so accomplishing this requires exploting all the tricks you can think of and even then it is a trully masochistic task.
Captain Ersatz: The entire game world is Gothic with the serial numbers filed off. This is taken to the point where there is nothing stopping it from taking place in the same world beyond (now non-existent) legal reasons.
The backstory of the game is similar to one of the endings of Gothic 3.
Cherry Tapping: A very good way to take care of higher-level mooks is to shoot them with an arrow, then lead them back to any spot with invincible or high-level NPCs, and allow said people to beat away 95% of the monster's HP away, leaving you to cherry-tap it to death at your leisure.
Deadpan Snarker: Unique in that the playable character is one, despite the fact that he is otherwise an AFGNCAAP. You also can't "change" his personality with a Karma Meter, unlike in most Western RPGs.
Give Me Your Inventory Item: Played straight. If you go the Bandit route, early on you will be asked to hand over a very decent sword. You can keep it, but at the cost of seriously pissing off several important NPCs (hint: it's not worth it).
Goggles Do Something Unusual: Actually, one of the central premises of the game. Mendoza's Ocular enables its wearer to see (and thus fight) the Titans.
In Working Order: All the levers, buttons, drawbridges and especially deathtraps function perfectly despite the dilapidated and partially collapsed state of the underground temples in which they're found.
Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Small, funny Ugly Cute creatures, who love nothing more than taking things, wether it's by scavenging, theft or by force. When they attack you they throw random things, including fish.
Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: The only way to determine that a given enemy is way beyond your level is to start hacking away and monitor its healthbar. Unless it drops noticeably, you now have a life expectancy of about 1.2 seconds.
There was no network Screw. At one point, Piranha Bytes and JoWood were practically the same company, but JoWood was unhappy at the bad release version of Gothic 3. They apparently decided to go their seperate ways at least politely, if not happily. The contract between them specified that JoWood had the rights to Gothic.
Super Drowning Skills: Anything beyond waist-deep water, and you either sink and wash over to the nearest shore, or get swallowed by a giant worm-thing and wash over to the nearest shore. Really more of a sandboxing mechanism.
Too Awesome to Use: Most potent magic scrolls, if you don't actually level magic. The Dragon is pathetically weak and the Big Bad is immune to magic anyway so you're quite likely to never use those Inferno scrolls you've hoarded...
Twenty Bear Asses: Very commonly required for sidequests and you typically get no warning whatsoever that a particular kind of bear ass will be necessary to advance some questline. This leads to compulsive collecting of all sorts of bear asses you come across during your travels.
Unusable Enemy Equipment: Justified. You cannot wield ogre clubs (too big), and Saurian swords (also not meant for humans) require a strength level disproportionate to their effectiveness.
Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Mendoza can be dispatched in about 4 blows. You are also far more likely to accidentally fall to your death during the final boss fight than to actually die to said boss' attacks.
We Buy Anything: And I do mean anything! The poorest peasant can and will take any amount of treasure off your hands. Unlike in early Gothic, no NPC ever runs out of money.
Sequel contains examples of:
Bag of Spilling: Hero of the first game, who single-handedly defeated a Titan initially finds it difficult to kill warthogs and crabs. Explained in-game by showing that the hero started to hit the bottle after rather traumatic experiences on Faranga. All magic items except voodoo items also lost their power.
Cluster F-Bomb: Argument between Doggs and Foster consists basically of one word used in various ways.
Jaffar, who learned human language by listening to pirates. Although his innocents use of curses also qualifies for Precision F-Strike.
Combat Tentacles: Kraken and Mara although the latter uses them for rather cosmetic purposes.
Dead Person Impersonation: Captain Garcia who kills Officer Corrientes and assumes his identity, knowing that the protagonists have never met killed man in person.
Eyepatch of Power: The protagonist sports one. It hides the Mendoza's Ocular. Also Steelbeard.
Actually the ocular had to be removed (along with the hero eye) because of the curse that was on it, still when people comment about it they seem to think that is a sgn of a true badass rather than a handicap.
Hollywood Voodoo: Played back and forth. It is predominantly a magic system (with voodoo dolls nonetheless) but characters explain that for the natives voodoo is a religious practice based on the worship of Tiwas (Titans) that are presented much like Loa.
Mythology Gag: The gate to Garcia's treasure is opened by a password. One of the possible answers given to a player is 'Tetriandoch', a password used to enter Saturas' chamber in the first installment of Gothic series.
In Caldera Archives there is a book on rune magic. Nameless Hero comments that it is ridiculously outdated.
Talk Like a Pirate: Pretty much averted in original, yet English version has its share of The West Country accents. Steelbeard also swears like expected from a stereotypical fantasy pirate.
One Stat to Rule Them All: Magic if you're playing a Guardian. Magic influences the damage your spells do, and also the power of your support spells (for example, Healing and Rust ). This means that high magic not only equals high damage, but also provides infinite healing and let's you bypass the lockpick minigame.
Quicksand Box: A big problem with this game is that it gives you tons of stuff to do at the very beginning, even though you're in no way equipped or leveled enough for them. It also gives you not much backstory about the Titans, the Titan Lords etc. which is problematic if you're new to the Risen franchise. Ironically, these are the same mistakes Gothic 3 made.