In the eternal battle between Ninjas and Pirates, I would always say Ninjas win. But after getting some time to preview Deep Silver’s Risen 2: Dark Waters‘ Treasure Island DLC I may have to re-think my position. Obviously Ninjas still win, but if the Pirates are like the ones in Risen 2: Dark Waters, then the battle may be much closer.
The Treasure Island DLC is free downloadable content if you pre-order Risen 2: Dark Waters.
I never had a chance to play Risen 2: Dark Waters before sitting down and experiencing two separate sections of the DLC. After the preview, my expectations of the RPG game are mixed. I like the idea of playing as a pirate, the skill tree, and variety of weapons and tools; but I don’t know if the game is presenting anything new.
From the two sections of the preview I played, Risen 2 presents high quality, stylized visuals. The game looks great with all the characters containing a lot of detail and small flourishes. The variety in the characters is excellent. Besides the main character and crew, I saw soldiers, a native, ghouls, and a gigantic creature that inhabited a totem I tried to steal. That doesn’t include the indigenous animals who are all trying to kill you, such as monkeys and giant birds.
The island’s jungle environment was lush and had a lot of visual variety. It wasn’t just copied tree after copied tree. The island looked and felt alive. But since it was a jungle, there was a lot of green and brown. The DLC also took me to a marsh that I could actually believe could be a marsh based on its appearance. I was impressed by those details.
As a third-person RPG, you spend most of your time looking at the backside of your main character. Controls were mapped to a Xbox PC controller, and there is deep customization and skill system. I didn’t dive too far into it, but I did see that you will be able to use one main weapon and a secondary sub-weapon. Main weapons range from black-powder pistols and rifles to swords and black-powder grenades. The differences between each weapon are noticeable. But the fun is in the sub-weapons.
In one skirmish, I had a rifle as the main weapon and a pistol as the sub-weapon. When a monkey started charging and I couldn’t aim fast enough, I quickly pulled out my pistol and shot it in the face. I was told this is a skill called “Dirty Tricks.” One mechanic I can see frustrating players is the cool down associated with some firearms. Personally, I think it makes a lot more sense because black-powder guns take a long time to reload.
Another great “sub-weapon” is the recon monkey. This little controllable spy can travel in unknown areas and give you a preview of what’s ahead. You can also use a parrot to annoy enemies (and friends, from my unfortunate experience).
I can say that combat gameplay feels solid, though aiming was a bit sluggish. There will be a learning curve with controls because the vast options will probably lead you to accidentally opening the menu or shooting someone you were supposed to talk to.
Risen 2: Dark Waters’ Treasure Island DLC is a new island and quest in the game so it doesn’t reuse an old location previously experienced in the game. The quest system is familiar for any experienced RPG user, requiring you to complete quests for information and experience.
Skill trees in Risen 2: Dark Waters stick out because the depth of the available skills. An example is that there were four types of knife skills. Depending on which type of blade you want to use, you can upgrade that particular type. I liked the amount of options, but I’m more of a shoot-in-the-face type of guy rather than swordsman, so I would choose to level up my gun slinging abilities.
The DLC gave me a good preview of what Risen 2 is trying to do for the full game. Risen 2: Dark Waters’ potential is based on how creative and fun the single player experience is. Hopefully, there’s not a lot of grinding and the game presents a great story.