Some days you want a non-stop roller coaster thrill ride of a game to play that will engage your senses and get your blood flowing. Other days, though, you might want something more chill, like a game you can boot up and kinda wander through, maybe not knowing or caring what you’re doing or why. You just want a thing to do and you don’t want to worry about it too much. For those days, Risen 3 is probably a safe bet.
I don’t mean that description as an insult to the game, though I’m sure some will take it that way. And it is true Risen 3 can feel pretty aimless and confusing if you get really task-driven about it. That’s why Risen 3 isn’t a game for every day.
From the outset of Risen 3, after you (our David Beckham-looking hero returns here) get through the prologue, you’ll find yourself dead and buried. Old pal Bones brings you back, but with some bad news: you have no soul, and your sister Patty and the rest of your pirate band are long gone. So immediately you have two tasks, seemingly unrelated. You have to find Patty and get your soul back.
Bones knows where Patty went, but he doesn’t know how to get your soul back, just where some folks who might be able to help are. As you set out, you’ll have a few islands you can sail to in pursuit of these objectives, but from there things get even more complicated, the main plot becoming some kind of convoluted Hydra with seemingly unrelated objectives all over the place.
It’s pretty funny how not straightforward it is, and that’s going to frustrate some folks. But there’s a method to the madness: you can’t really go anywhere without finding something important to do, along with a bevy of sidequests.
And that’s why I found Risen 3 to be so completely chill. Unlike an Elder Scrolls game, for instance, you can roll around the world in Risen 3 not giving a damn about the story and you’ll probably still end up advancing the plot by accident. The islands are built so as to restrict you along certain paths, and so you’re probably not going to get lost, either.
But it’s also chill because of combat. There’s a lot of fighting, and Risen fans probably already know it’s pretty ponderous. If you try to rush battles you’ll probably think it’s really hard, but it’s really just about patience. Relax, take it slow, and you’ll be on your way whenever.
Next on the list of chill things is the entire voice cast, who all speak slower than folks from Alabama (I grew up there, so I can say that). There’s no good reason for them to talk like that, and honestly sometimes listening to them made me sleepy. Be sure to keep Bones around if you play; he sometimes uses his slow rate of speech to great comic effect.
Last chill feature: unlimited personal storage! You can hold everything in the world if you want. I always found inventory management to be a decidedly unchill activity, and so I was happy with this even if it was easy to lose track of some of my stuff.
It may not be entirely accurate to label Risen 3 as “good” or “bad”; it really just is what it is, a middle-of-the-road European RPG experience that just kinda goes. I have no strong feelings about this game whatsoever. It never irritated me, but also it never enthralled me.
So how do I sum up how I feel about Risen 3 when I don’t even really have any feelings? Let’s try a metaphor. Risen 3 is like a car mechanic that charges more than he should but doesn’t really gouge, and also takes a couple hours too long to finish the job. In short, better than expected (I really do not like Risen 2) but not exactly what you might have hoped for.
Risen 3 is a large role-playing game you can pay money for, and it is functional and will occupy your time.
6 out of 10
Risen 3: The Titan Lords was developed by Piranha Bytes and published by Deep Silver. It was released on August 12th, 2014, and is available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for $49.99. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.