This past Friday, Piranha Bytes released Risen 2: Dark Waters, a pirate-themed action adventure role-playing game and sequel to Risen from 2009. Piranha Bytes are best known for their previous work on the Gothic series, with Gothic 2 considered by many to be one of the greatest RPGs of all time. I've been a longtime fan of Piranha Bytes, loyal through the missteps of Gothic 3 and their recovering process with Risen, and was optimistic for a brighter future with Risen 2. Now that I've played about six hours of it, I almost fear that Risen 2 may be a case of "one step forward, two steps back."
From what I can tell, Risen 2 seems to have all of the core elements I've come to expect from a Piranha Bytes game; primarily, a rich and organic world that's rewarding to explore, and decisions with concrete consequences and role-playing options. The dialogue this time around is especially enjoyable, and many of the new features (like "dirty tricks" in combat) are welcome additions. But even ignoring some of the more glaring superficial issues, there are still a number of questionable design elements that really seem to detract from the game's potential, leaving me with mixed opinions. Continue reading for the rest of my quick impressions.