Risen 2 is set in a world of living titans. The lands are ravaged. The seas are hostile. But there's still hope for peace in the form of one man, a nameless hero, and his beautiful pirate companion Patty Steelbeard. These are select entries from his journal.
Entry #57 – The travel agent on Faranga lied to me. He lied to me. You'd think he would have been more appreciative after I saved his life and everyone else on that damned island from the fire titan. Instead, I was treated to lungful of secondhand smoke. More than half of Caldera is on fire! Why does no one but me notice this?
After filing a health complaint, I went back to the docks to board passage home. Fire titans? Fire cities? No thank you! But the ship was gone, consumed by yet another titan (a kraken called Mara). I wish the travel agent was consumed instead.
Entry #58 – I found a job as a guard working for the Inquisition. You'd think with such a title they'd be more inquisitive, like asking, “Hey, why is the city on fire? Maybe we should do something about that.”
Entry #59 – My fortunes are finally turning! I was reunited with the pirate enchantress Patty Steelbeard, and with her the promise of treasure and booty (not the plunder). She had also brought news that her father may have information on a weapon to defeat the titans. She wanted my help to find him. The Inquisitors signed off on the plan, thankfully – I'd do just about anything to get out of this smoldering ash pit – and cast me from the order so I could infiltrate the pirates on Tacarigua.
At the docks the next morning, Patty asked me about my eye, since when last we met I didn't have an eyepatch. I told her I lost it climbing the oily hide of Mara herself, battling the beast with fist and foot. I'm sure she was impressed. It's not exactly a lie if I'm probably going to end up doing that later, anyway. I wasn't about to tell her I only had an eye infection.
Entry #60 – I had awoken with a start to find myself at a loss for clothes. Patty had thrown them overboard with the dubious claim they made me more conspicuous, but I knew she just wanted a peek. All the ladies do. I'm the hero who defeated a titan! I gave her a few winks and a wiggle of my tush. She walked away.
After feeling somewhat defeated, I gave myself a morale boost – clearly she was just playing hard to get; pirates have to maintain their steely illusion – and went above deck to view the nearing coast of Tacarigua. I didn't see any burning buildings, so the journey was already off to a good start.
Entry #61 – I met an inquisitor named Riley overseeing a group of gibberish-speaking black slaves. I'm not sure how I felt about that. He called them scum. I retorted he'd certainly know a lot on the subject. He didn't take the insult well, and a melee broke out. But I knew I could take him. I'm the hero who defeated a titan!
Entry #62 – I couldn't take him.
The fiend employed some kind of trickery called “dodges,” “parries” and “counters.” My advanced repertoire – my only repertoire – of constant, light blows failed to best him. I don't understand how I could have lost. My moves worked so well against the beach crabs and turkeys.
I uncurled myself from the ground and hastily made a tactical retreat. I told Patty I lost only because he was a cheater. I think she believed me. She rolled her eyes, probably in disgust of Riley.
Entry #63 – We continued heading east. A guard by a tower gave me further instructions to the pirate enclave, but warned me of the jungle below. Apparently they're dangerous. He clearly hasn't met me before! I assured Patty that I'd protect her, confidently gripped my sword hilt and hurried onward.
There were three painted men with sharpened sticks a short ways down the path. I waved to them, thinking they would surely know means of navigating this “treacherous” jungle. They did not wave back. In fact, they exchanged no pleasantries at all. It was far too early for killing, naturally, so I made a tactical retreat. Patty had no such qualms, however, and slew two of the savages as I shouted at her from behind a rock. Women.
Entry #64 – We finally made it to the pirate enclave! The guard was hesitant to let us in, questioning if I was an Inquisitor spy. I asked him would Captain Steelbeard's daughter be my girlfriend if I was a one? It worked! I guess all that experience from killing monsters and yelling at their corpses painted my tongue with silver. Patty hacked and looked dismayed; I think the heat is getting to her.
I wanted to prove myself, so I offered my assistance to the local barkeep. He was a sweaty, large man by the name of Booze. Outside the bar was a blacksmith named Stone. If I meet a pirate named Pirate I'm done with this place.
Booze sent me off to the southern beaches near the lighthouse. His shipment of sugar had gone missing, a necessary ingredient in the creation of rum. It turned out a number of termites had been carrying off the crates to their nest. I asked Patty why bugs would be trying to make rum. She sighed and shook her head. Apparently she didn't know either.
Entry #65 – This island's beaches are also inhabited by giant, armored crabs. I decided to run around them screaming. Patty told me if I wasn't going to fight I could be a soprano instead. I thanked her for the confidence in my vocal abilities but calmly explained to her I was merely distracting them with loud noises.
Entry #66 – I learned some new skills today. A pirate by the name of Largo, held captive by the Inquisitors, offered to teach me lockpicking, pickpocketing and other stealthy trades if I'd free him from his cage. I was hesitant to do so at first, but saving the world isn't a cheap enterprise. And I'm certain the inhabitants of the island want to donate to my cause; they're just nervous about approaching a genuine hero. He wasn't grateful enough, however, to offer me that knowledge for free.
Entry #67 – I found a lot of donations! The citizens of Tacarigua are quite generous. The money will go to good use, such as learning new ways to earn even more donations.
Entry #68 – I've freed pirates. I've resolved contractual disputes. I've slain many beasts and foes, with some small assistance from Patty, of course. I believe I'm finally ready to meet Captain Steelbeard. I hope he likes me. After all, his daughter certainly does.
Fans of the Gothic and Risen games are no strangers to steep difficulty curves, and Risen 2: Dark Waters does little to change that formula. And for some this will be exactly what they wanted in a sequel. For me, it's been a rough experience, as players are thrown into the world with no skills save for the simple strike of their rusty sword.
This has caused me to curse at the screen with a vocabulary befitting a pirate. I've been unable to land attacks. I've been stunlocked by crustaceans. For the several hours I've explored the island of Tacarigua, my strategy has been to rely almost entirely on my companion to win fights with her more advanced skill set while I run around flailing my arms. I will soon acquire proper offensive and defensive skills, but they have to be bought from expensive trainers and the gold coins do not flow freely. I highly recommend throwing away morality and robbing the pants off every shop keeper, then selling their silverware back to them.
Despite all of that, I feel compelled to push onward. The promise of my own ship, legendary treasures, new islands and parrots have held my interest. I'm determined to trade in my sword for a firearm and blast the smugness off Riley's face. The journeys of the Nameless Hero will continue.