Mixed or average reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51
Buy On
  1. Apr 24, 2012
    RIsen 2: Dark Waters is much better that its predecessor. It lets you explore a massive world with an excellent atmosphere and great characters... despite its poor combat system.
  2. May 3, 2012
    You can look forward to beautiful vistas and loads of quests, but the pirate fun is spoiled by engine problems, a lot of inconsequences and a truly terrible fighting system.
  3. May 24, 2012
    You will not remember Risen 2 when you're done with it. No exciting moments, no pleasant surprises, no great one-liners, not even hilarious bugs… Twenty hours of your life will drown in dark waters.
  4. May 9, 2012
    Even with all its peculiarities, I have to be honest, I did have fun along the way. Plenty of fun. The quest structure is solid and rarely feels repetitive or bored.
  5. Apr 23, 2012
    Risen 2 is another ambitious effort from one of Germany's most well-known game developers, but once again it is dragged down by combat that doesn't really ever feel right, and it's kind of sad to see so much effort and talent go into their games when some of the fundamentals have been ignored for so many years.
  6. CD-Action
    May 10, 2012
    First impression is not very good, especially if you're not familiar with previous Piranha Bytes' work. But Risen 2 is so gripping and surprisingly fresh that you turn the blind eye to technical issues and rough edges. I really wish Germans had Skyrim's budget at their disposal and could polish the game properly, but if you're an RPG fan, you still have to play it. [June 2012, p.46]
  7. 60
    The story is wonderful, but the combat is so bad it makes the game hard to play.
  8. Apr 23, 2012
    What Piranha Bytes has developed could have been a thoroughly supreme game, one that could have gone toe to toe with the heavyweights of action role-playing. Due to a number of highly questionable design decisions, however, a lot of that potential has withered away. With so much lost, it's perhaps a testament to how talented the team secretly is that Risen 2 is still packed with fun in the face of truly inhibiting setbacks.
  9. May 3, 2012
    There's simply not a single thing that Risen 2 does well, not its stilted combat, not its transparent towns, and definitely not its plot, which feels like something you'd come up with after passing out with the Pirates of the Caribbean DVD menu music in the background. Then again, there's nothing it does badly either, so it's no thief.
  10. Apr 27, 2012
    Sure, the combat is a bit more static than it should be in this day and age and the paper-thin story is as simple as the characters are free from the burdens of personality. But still, the atmosphere of this idealized Caribbean with all of the Bruckheimer-Disney-innuendos always manages to drag you back in. Hardly a contender against Witcher 2 or Skyrim, Risen 2 still manages to cater to its own niche with ease.
  11. Apr 22, 2012
    Risen 2 Dark Waters is a deep and enjoyable RPG, with strong gameplay mechanics and a funny environment full of pirates, grog and voodoo. It's not as polished as others competitors, but it will be a good choice for all the fans of the genre.
  12. Apr 24, 2012
    The obsession to recollect every object in the game causes an extremely slow character progression. It has its audience, but Risen 2 may not be very attractive for those who like story-driven RPGs like the ones published by BioWare.
  13. Apr 23, 2012
    A really good RPG that takes your inner pirate spirit for a ride. Despite a few graphical bugs this game is for sure a day one buy, and a vast improvement on the original.
  14. May 4, 2012
    This second chapter of the Risen brand is an imperfect but charming RPG, with stunning environments and an engrossing story. An epic sea adventure we haven't seen in years!
  15. Apr 24, 2012
    For RPG genre fans willing to overlook some technical flaws, Risen 2 may very well be a treat and a refreshing change of pace. For the rest of us, this is a game that will never quite rise to the occasion.
  16. Apr 27, 2012
    Risen 2 isn't a game that you can just casually jump into and expect to power through. It's an experience that asks for dedication, but your effort pays off. While you can never totally forgot about all of the game's issues, there's enough good in the game that makes it worth pushing through. It isn't an experience for everyone, but if you consider yourself capable of taking on the challenge and don't mind overlooking its technical flaws and some perplexing user interface decisions, Risen 2 is a rewarding experience with plenty of piratey fun.
  17. Apr 26, 2012
    As much as I wanted to love it, Risen 2 ends up as another entry in the long list of games with a great premise, a few interesting ideas, and an unforgivable anchor dragging the whole thing down.
  18. Apr 27, 2012
    It actually felt more like a long DLC than an immersive game world.
  19. Apr 23, 2012
    Risen 2 Dark Waters is an OK action RPG, but some of its design choices and several noticeable shortcomings will put the patience of gamers to the test. It may wield them a rewarding experience though, since the power grinding feeling you get when progressing is really exciting. But besides its difficulty and its less than average storytelling, what Risen 2 really suffers from is the release of titles that surpass it in every concevable way, starting with Skyrim and The Witcher 2.
  20. May 13, 2012
    It's more simplified than its predecesor, but on the same time Risen 2 seems to be buit just for hardcore RPG gamers.
  21. Apr 28, 2012
    It takes a little bit too long before Risen 2 becomes a game you'll actually love. The first five hours of the game didn't bode well for the rest of it, but those who persevere are treated to a very entertaining story and a deep leveling system with which you can give shape to your own class. De varied missions stay interesting throughout the game, but better artificial intelligence, a more striking balance and less bugs would have gone a long way for Risen 2: Dark Waters.
  22. May 15, 2012
    Piranha Bytes takes the Risen series into a new direction with the Pirate-themed sequel Dark Waters. The game is more streamlined than its predecessors, but despite some efforts to modernize the combat and the character development system feels hopelessly outdated. In such it fails to fulfil its own potential.
  23. Apr 27, 2012
    The perfect RPG for the aspiring pirate, but a horribly stiff one if you're looking for emotional depth.
  24. Games Master UK
    May 27, 2012
    A superior, super tough sequel that offers a persuasive alternative to the RPG big boys. [July 2012, p.80]
  25. May 1, 2012
    Risen 2 is a good game. However, it would deserve more than just minor innovation inside antiquated gameplay. If you didn't expect anything out of Risen 2, you will be pleasantly surprised. The problem is you've been expecting.
  26. May 3, 2012
    Risen 2's slow-paced progression and clumsy combat require and reward patience, something Risen and Gothic veterans have in spades. If you are such a player, you might be surprised by how focused this sequel is when compared with its sprawling, unforgiving predecessors.
  27. May 14, 2012
    If it sounds like I have a love/hate relationship with Risen 2, then guilty as charged. This is one of those games that's brimming with quirks, ranging from the minor (killed turkeys give you chicken meat) to momentously glitchy (complete a couple missions in the "wrong" order late in the game and an overarching quest breaks). And for all the artifact-gathering and hand-wringing over Risen 2's "big bad," the final fight is anti-climactic and relatively easy. But... for all its problems, I still recommend this game to RPG fans who are forgiving angels in real life, but unforgiving scurvy dogs in-game.
  28. Apr 23, 2012
    Quotation forthcoming.
  29. Apr 30, 2012
    Risen 2 has more than a few issues, but there's plenty of buried treasure waiting here for players who are willing to dig for it. Unfortunately, the excavation is demanding, and the slaphappy combat and bland quest structure might prove too overpowering for players who want to sample one of the few examples of a genuine pirate roleplaying game.
  30. Apr 24, 2012
    There's a great game in here, and people who buy Risen 2 will probably be quite content with their purchase if they can get past the infuriating first few hours (and that sugar quest in the giant termite cave, shudder).
  31. Apr 23, 2012
    Risen 2 is simply an another good game from Piranha Bytes. The developers prove that parting ways with their former partner - JoWooD Entertainment - has been a great decision. Risen 2 probably won't get any "RPG of the year" awards, but Gothic enthusiasts shouldn't care - Dark Waters will satisfy them fully, I'm sure.
  32. Hyper Magazine
    Jun 13, 2012
    The real trouble with Risen 2 is that it doesn't really do anything particularly right. [July 2012, p.72]
  33. Apr 23, 2012
    It's Piranha Bytes' most accessible game yet, and though its style and boorish, humorous dialogue fit well with the pirate motif, it's a role-playing experience that uses convention as a crutch and marginalizes or strips away a lot of elements that made the studio's past games stand out.
  34. May 4, 2012
    An enjoyable pirate adventure for those who can tolerate its innumerable flaws.
  35. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    May 9, 2012
    Old-school pirate RPG is most appealing to fans of this genre but everyone should try this adventure which has hidden treasures and gallons of rum! [May 2012]
  36. Apr 23, 2012
    While it partially succeeds in exploring some of the aspects of pirate life, it doesn't deliver on it enough to make the experience super exciting.
  37. Apr 23, 2012
    Risen 2 should have been bigger, bolder and a more interesting than the first one. But its clunky combat makes it no favours, and, overall, the lack of a single, cohesive and huge landmass like the first one undermines the exploration component and makes the world less interesting. It´s still a fairly unique RPG with plenty of freedom, great characters and good sense of humour, so it´s a good alternative if you are a fan of Piranha or looking for something different.
  38. 40
    There's plenty of potential and good ideas here but very little fun, in a game that tries to make a pirate's life seem as frustrating and repetitive as possible.
  39. Apr 23, 2012
    The game is a wonderful pirate experience with good graphics but with some limitations in the roleplaying aspects of the gameplay in comparison to the first Risen.
  40. May 4, 2012
    Clunky quest structure and uninteresting main characters shoot this weirdly compulsive RPG in the foot.
  41. Apr 23, 2012
    Risen 2 transcends its shortcomings by boasting a wonderful living and breathing world and a refreshing new setting, masterfully crafted and executed. Although the combat is way too easy and the ending comes much too suddenly, Risen 2 is a great role-playing experience for any fan of open world games.
  42. PC Master (Greece)
    May 16, 2012
    Risen 2 offers all those features that have become synonymous with Piranha Bytes throughout the years: a wonderful setting, interesting quests, a robust battle system, variety and replayability. But along with those, Risen 2 drags with it some known issues, which have always been around with Gothic and Risen. [May 2012]
  43. May 30, 2012
    Despite the puppeteer's strings getting caught, Risen 2 puts on a good show that you'll see through to the end. [June 2012, p.58]
  44. Pelit (Finland)
    May 11, 2012
    Fixes some of the first Risen game's issues, the graphics look great and the pirate theme is refreshing, but combat is still pretty awkward and the quests include a lot of running back and forth. Still, it's not a bad game by any measure and for fans of Gothic and Risen it's a treat. [May 2012]
  45. Apr 26, 2012
    Risen 2 always redeems itself with the little things about the pirate fantasy it nails. What other game lets you learn a skill called "'Nuff Said" that allows you to end the occasional conversation by pulling a pistol on your co-converser and sending them to Davy Jones' Locker?
  46. Apr 23, 2012
    I'm rarely disgusted after beating a game. Risen 2 left me aghast, and I'm not even a pirate fanatic. I can't imagine the disappointment of those expecting to finally lay their hands on a quality pirate RPG. What could have been a heavily nuanced action RPG is instead a waste of potential and a cheap product. Risen 2 doesn't just leave the niche as empty as it found it. Risen 2: Dark Waters gives pirates a bad name.
  47. May 16, 2012
    As an actual game, Risen 2 is mediocre. The gameplay is primitive and the technical problems alone are more than enough to recommend shying away from it. However, as an experience, Risen 2 is highly entertaining. Players willing to overlook the issues with the gameplay will find themselves sucked into a sweeping, high-seas adventure that's rare for the RPG genre.
  48. Apr 23, 2012
    Despite a poor combat system, Risen 2 has a good atmosphere and great characters, enhanced by fun dialogue and a nice storyline.
  49. Apr 24, 2012
    A good game despite its flaws. We think its release has been hurried up and two more months of development would have benefited the result greatly. Good storytelling and content, but too many flaws on the technical side of things.
  50. Apr 23, 2012
    RIsen 2: Dark Waters looks amazing and lets you explore a massive world that feels very alive. The combat could have been better and some small errors can be annoying, but overall Risen 2 is better then its predecessor in basically every aspect.
  51. Apr 24, 2012
    If you can look past some of the more useless skills and sluggish combat, you'll still have a great time while playing Risen 2.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 765 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. May 6, 2012
    This is a game that I really wanted to love because there aren't many pirate RPGs out there and I love RPGs, I love pirates, and I love mostThis is a game that I really wanted to love because there aren't many pirate RPGs out there and I love RPGs, I love pirates, and I love most of PB's previous work. All the premises were there, damn it!
    PROS: The story blends nicely into the theme , so does the humour and insulting part of the dialogue lines. The exploration/wealth/reward balance is very good, I'm always looking forward to the next cave to see what great challenge may guard an epic item. The music is not very piratey at its core but it does sound quite PB'ish, so the new composer has done well. The character development is a free model and you have to work hard for those points and money, so you will feel well the progression and the reward later. Not all the important characters are memorable like in the old Gothics, but I like a select few and did care about them. Last but not least the collector's edition package and content is a good bang for the buck.
    CONS: While I am aware that bigger doesn't necessarily mean better, in this case I think the islands should have been larger. The sense of exploration and being lost in a huge lush jungle is very limited by the corridor topography. The distances between the points of interest are way too small. Compared to Gothic 3 this is quite frustrating, when you come from the world of Skyrim it's really annoying. The sword combat is quite a disappointment. The animations take your control away and make things harder in an unnatural way. The creatures stun you again (like Gothic3) which makes guns a must and I don't like that. I can't believe they still can't make a proper combat mechanic after all these years and so many games that share a lot of mechanics, one would think they have found a balance. Gothic 2 felt much better in this regard. Magic can't be fun with so small variation. The character models and animations are so bad that they sometimes prevent me from taking the game seriously in the most inappropriate moments. The insular and pirate theme is not developed enough. The atmosphere is there if youâ
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  2. Apr 26, 2012
    Undeveloped features, unfinished and unpolished, clunky movement and combat mechanics, 'light' rpg stats, zero roleplaying outside the mainUndeveloped features, unfinished and unpolished, clunky movement and combat mechanics, 'light' rpg stats, zero roleplaying outside the main quest. Few pseudo-choices that lead to the same events. Bad voice acting. No purpose for exploration. Ugly character animations. Really, PB? I know this is not the same team that made G1 andG2, but still... you're a shadow and your new series is sinking in mediocrity.

    RPGFan has the best description for this 'AAA' wannabe title: I'm rarely disgusted after beating a game. Risen 2 left me aghast, and I'm not even a pirate fanatic. I can't imagine the disappointment of those expecting to finally lay their hands on a quality pirate RPG. What could have been a heavily nuanced action RPG is instead a waste of potential and a cheap product. Risen 2 doesn't just leave the niche as empty as it found it. RISEN 2: DARK WATERS GIVES PIRATES A BAD NAME.
    Full Review »
  3. May 9, 2012
    Disgusting...this game should have stayed at least one more year in's the only reasonable explanation why everything is eitherDisgusting...this game should have stayed at least one more year in's the only reasonable explanation why everything is either dumbed down or downright broken. The combat, the tiny worldspace, the limited character development, the boring fetch quests, the horrendous graphics and animations? Piranha Bytes was always a developer of unpolished games and gritty gameplay, but they've never been so broken and uninteresting, they at least used to feature attractive story and character building. This game is too modest in scope, lacks creativity and the broken gameplay looks like it's made by a bunch of secondary school kids in their spare time not by a well established studio with years of experience in RPG development. Also, selling DLC cut from the very game since development? Yeah, you've earned the gamers' respect ... NOT Full Review »