Risen for the PC making its release on October 2nd...

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I've been anticipating this release for quite some time, mostly on the Xbox as my computer is approximately 5 years old, but now, with a new comp on the way, I'm getting REALLY excited for the release of this game even more.  I've always been a huge role-playing game fan, mostly enjoying them on the pc.  Games like the Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale series, Neverwinter Nights, Gothic series, Oblivion, Morrowind, etc, and primarily enjoyed playing them on the pc as it provides a little more control over the gameplay.  Now, with Risen, from the developers who created the Gothic series, I've got myself pretty hyped as the Gothic series has always been about exploration.  Yeah, they usually provide you with a map and a compass, but no line across the bottom, or arrow pointing you in the direction of your next quest or side quest.  You explore regions of land and find stuff for yourself, whether it's a random treasure chest in the wild or a small settlement not on the map. 

Gothic 1 and 2 were pretty important RPGs for their time providing some great gameplay with a dense world to explore.  With Gothic 3, the developers were pressed with time by their publisher and wanted to create something larger than they had time for.  A huge game world with miles to explore.  What it turned out to be was a buggy, not so well optimized game.  Since the release though, community members have actually stepped up and patched the game themselves bringing the game up version 1.72 and it's extremely stable and runs pretty smoothly throughout, which makes the game a title worth being in the Gothic series.

Now, with Risen, the developers, Piranha Bytes, have had the time to create something new, away from the Gothic series, on a smaller, but still large in game standards, land mass on an island, filled to the brim with atmosphere and intrigue and hundreds of places to explore.  Littered with quests and characters who will bring about an environment needed and wanted by all RPG players.  Keeping a lot of what made the Gothic series important, including its mainstay, exploration, Risen intends to build about a new story, deep with good plotline and character advancement. 

If it seems like I'm hyping this game too much, it's because I'm expecting a lot out of it.  I'm expecting it to actually come through with its promises of an open ended RPG, unlike those in the past (Fable 2), one where you don't have to load each setting you walk into.  A game where character advancement means something, where if you're high level with a lot of powers, you won't be getting your ass kicked by rodents like Oblivion.  I want this game to look superb, unlike other RPGs including Two Worlds.  I want the storyline to matter, like it did with The Witcher.  I want exploration to mean something like it did in Morrowind or the Gothic titles.  I want the gameplay to be fun like it was with the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale series.

This game needs to succeed for Piranha Bytes, to let RPG fans out there know that not only Bioware or Bethesda can make solid, fun role-playing games.  Not that I'm not looking forward to Dragon Age: Origins, but I believe that some of these German developers have done quite a great job building some great titles and they need to start being recognized for them and also need to be given some of the hype that some of these other titles have.

Risen, to me, looks pretty solid so far.  With that 45 minutes of gameplay that was shown, (link to the video under the xbox 360 comments on Risen) it looks like the game has gone through some decent bug testing and that the engine that it runs on is pretty stable.  With some many RPGs tending to shift their focus on different material like post apocalyptic worlds, it's nice to see that the fantasy genre is still being given a chance. 

There's quite a bit of facts that we know about Risen.  Climbing is in, so you'll be able to reach high areas and there are more places to explore.  While swimming is out, you do have the ability to levitate to different areas around the map.  There seems to be some great hand crafted environments with a lot of different locales to find, including hidden ones not directly on the path.  Character building seems to be something that's given its due.  (Sorry the image is in German)  It looks like quite an extensive array of stats to look after and mess with as you build your character throughout the game.  And with the inclusion of "Chapters" throughout the game, it seems like Piranha Bytes are taking the storytelling aspect of the game quite seriously.  And as has been reported previously, there are some well known voice actors taking some large roles with the game, as both Gimli and Gollum from the Lord of the Rings are lending their talent to this title. 

As I said before, there's quite a bit to be excited about with this title as it makes it's way to release on October 2nd. (later for Xbox 360 fans as release was pushed to spring)  But, if you have time, and some spare cash, I'd suggest to you to give this title a chance, and also the developer.  It's not going to be the next BIGGEST, GREATEST, HUGEST RPG ever talked about, but it's definitely going to give you your monies worth as you spend some time on the volcanic island.  At least it'll be something nice to hold you over till the bulk of the holiday releases come out.  I know I'll be looking forward to...

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