Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
Buy On
  1. Risen is a great role-playing experience, it is just fun to investigate every corner of the mysterious island. The story and quests are quite varied and the game world gives you an credible feeling of being a part of it. The developers have focused on the strengths of the first two Gothic parts and didn't make any technically mistakes. Role-players should go and grab it!
  2. Risen is a great RPG with only minor flaws. A worthy sequel to the Gothic series.
  3. I rarely come across a title with such an atmosphere, competent AI, interesting combat system and fleshed out characters.
  4. Faranga is a finely crafted setting for what ultimately turns into a tremendously deep and very satisfying fantasy RPG. It has a few shortcomings; they're largely forgivable, once you get lost in the adventure.
  5. All in all, Risen is a good game with some bugs, like the fact that the nameless hero is resistant against fire. The controls are simple and graphics are quite nice. Fans of RPGs will like it very much!
  6. Piranha Bytes stayed true to old virtues and delivered the role-playing game one would expect: very old-fashioned, very German and very good. But this game requires you to be very active, to explore a lot. If you need to taken by the hand by a good story, then Risen is not for you. The game isn't fun because of the story, but despite it.
  7. Without bringing any true innovation to the RPG genre, after the Gothic's bug-experience Piranha Bytes gains its revenge with Risen, a game that every RPG lover will enjoy in every of its parts. Solidly based on the best elements of western RPGs, this game presents only some difficulties on the combat system that could discourage somebody, while for everyone else it's definitely a must-have.
  8. 86
    Its combat system isn't the greatest and its pacing is inconsistent, but for those who put in the time to see all Risen has to offer, it's an experience that won't be forgotten.
  9. 85
    Piranha Bytes has created a new series. Risen is not only a good heir to Gothic, but also establishes solid bases which could mark the way for this studio in the future.
  10. Risen is a solid, engrossing and beautifully presented RPG that's well worth your time and money. [Dec 2009, p.72]
  11. Risen is a challenging, well rounded game certain to please most, if not all, RPG fans.
  12. With its beautiful graphics and great environmental sound it is easy to find yourself traveling around the island just picking herbs and mushrooms while stumbling upon the odd monster to fight. In the end this is a must buy because it is rare we PC gamers see a good RPG like this and that is what is most important.
  13. Do yourself a favor and check out this title on the PC and not on the Xbox 360.
  14. Fun, large and with many things to do, Risen is a good game for medieval RPG lovers. It has its flaws, specially due to technical issues, but overall it's a great experience, where every choice has its consequences. The great storyline and the different paths that we can follow are the strongest points of this game.
  15. While Gothic sails away to other developers, Piranha Bytes turns the tide with this return to the origins of true RPG. Deep, polished, compelling, Risen is an RPG for RPG true lovers. Some small glitches and a general lack of accessibility make it step down a little bit on the score, but it's still THE game to have if you love RPGs.
  16. An old-fashion RPG, with an impressive number of quests and NPC, and a deep level-up system.
  17. Risen is a game that does nothing wrong, but at the same is not bringing something new either. The ambiance of the game is perfect and the story is very good and convincing. It’s too bad Risen is starting up slow and the graphics could have been better. This is a game made for RPG fans, people who don’t like RPG’s should probably focus on other games.
  18. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Exactly the sequel all Gothic devotees were waiting for. Nice story, subtle battle & ROG system, great visuals and – for the first time – no fatal bugs in “Gothic” game. [Nov 2009]
  19. 80
    It takes a while for things to start up, but once it gets going, it becomes quite addicting.
  20. PC Format
    After two good first acts, it fails to rise to its own challenge. [Jan 2010, p.91]
  21. Risen has its faults but what it does do is bring you into a world that won’t let you leave till you’ve uncovered the secrets in every corner. To some it’s just something to hold them over until the next Gothic game comes out, but to me it’s the start of something new and wonderful from an experienced RPG developer.
  22. I’d only recommend Risen to people who really enjoyed the Gothic series, or perhaps similarly flawed games like Two Worlds or Dungeon Lords.
  23. There's some great gameplay in Risen, but you have to trudge though too many problems to find it.
  24. You'll enjoy this fascinating and intricate role-playing game in spite of its troublesome combat and scattered bugs.
  25. Risen is actually a real shame because of its promises. The world looks great and it’s funny to explore, but developers didn't pay enough attention to essential aspects like the combat and character progression.
  26. PC Gamer UK
    A by-the-book roleplaying jaunt in fantasy-land. There's enough to do in Risen, but never enough to thrill. [Dec 2009, p.118]
  27. A good game, but far from great. A lot of shortcomings and irritations keep Risen from being a recommended, must-own game.
  28. A roleplaying game that wants to be something extra, but fails to achieve that goal. Decent, beautiful, but ridden with technical issues and weak gameplay balance.
  29. Total PC Gaming
    Close to a new Elder Scrolls, but nowhere near as realised. [Issue#25, p.51]
  30. There are no gods in Risen – a powerful sorcerer banished them from the world forever, - but the hero still can’t escape his fate. German demiurges strapped him to the pillar of the story so tight that you can’t help but wonder if anyone at Piranha Bytes remembers what “role-playing” means. A game where all problems are solved by kicking butts and giving money is not an RPG. When the difference between working for bandits or the Inquisition in Harbor Town is to whom you report the completed tasks – it is not an RPG. It is laziness, harbinger of boredom.
  31. Ironically, while the PC version inarguably shows up the flaws in the 360 effort all the more, it also fares far worse when compared to its peers. Consoles have relatively few RPGs in this traditional mould, but on the PC the competition is much fiercer and so well-intentioned failures are harder to tolerate.
  32. A good game for RPG fans, but with dated graphics and a not so great technical side.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 729 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 65 out of 729
  1. SeanF
    Oct 27, 2009
    Let me start this review by saying that I've never played any of the Gothic games. Or Oblivion. Or pretty much any RPG that has been Let me start this review by saying that I've never played any of the Gothic games. Or Oblivion. Or pretty much any RPG that has been released (for PC or consoles) in the last 8-or-so years. I lost interest in gaming a long while back, after a marriage, kids and work took up all of my time. I bought a new computer last week, and figured I'd take a look on Metacritic and see which RPGs were well-received -- I used to love the genre, and have played many of the classics (Wizardry series up to 7, Ultima Underworld, Betrayal at Krondor, etc.) and figured that I'd pick up a title to play for an hour or two in the evenings before bed. After considering a few, I decided on Risen and purchased it from an online retailer. I had no idea what I was in for! I have scarcely done anything but sit in my computer chair, jaw gaping for the last 4 days. This game is just incredible... the world is so fully realized it's almost shocking. People go about their daily lives, the days and nights cycle and weather changes, the world has very lived-in feel and a real sense of history. It is so easy to get lost in it, especially due to all of the distractions that the game offers you: collecting animal trophies, crafting swords and jewelery, mining... the list goes on and on. Should you decide to focus on the main quest line, the plot is gripping and voice acting accomplished. The game has a sense of moral ambiguity throughout that's very mature and thoughtful. There is no right and wrong side -- you are left only with your own morals and instincts to decide your friends and foes. Also, characters are multi-dimensional and not always as they appear... you will often serve as a tool for someone else's ulterior motives unless you're wise enough to catch on and refuse. I am, perhaps, not the best judge of graphics since I've been out of the loop for a while, but i'd argue that Risen is indisputably gorgeous. Beams of rust-orange light poke through the swaying trees at sunset, water flows convincingly around rocks and down falls, nights are inky blackness, broken only by your torch, which casts realistic shadows from everything around you. Just wow. Don't let yourself miss this game, it is really truly a classic and has single-handedly rejuvenated my interest in video games. Full Review »
  2. phanj
    Nov 22, 2009
    I tried to and really want to like this game. I just can't stand the combat, which is very frustrating. Your opponent gets guaranteed I tried to and really want to like this game. I just can't stand the combat, which is very frustrating. Your opponent gets guaranteed hits, but the reflex-based combat system implies that your mouse clicking skills will suffice. So the combat tries to be action-rpg because your coordination with the mouse is important and not so much your player's stats (as opposed to DA:O where 'stats' are everything). Even the simplest creatures seem to have more HP than you do and will take many hits to kill. Also the world is chock full of hostiles at every turn, just amplifying how frustrating the game can get when each fight seems rigged to be unfair. When you engage a hostile, you can't defend and attack (mele) at the same time, so you MUST release the shield and strike. And in this 1/20th of a second window where you release your shield and click to attack, your opponent gets a random chance at a guaranteed hit and you are forced to quaff a heal pot (which are hard to find early on). You can NOT hold the shield up and hit with the weapon at the same time. Other people who seem to have not noticed that the combat is unfair say it's fine, but they just haven't noticed the game is cheating in combat. Also the game forces you to do menial tasks to progress in the game like farm a farmer's field. Things like this serve the story, but absolutely are not fun to do. So from that perspective story is primary in this game, and RPG elements secondary. It's an adventure game with RPG elements, but as far as game progression, you must do many of the quests. What I like about the game is that the world is indeed as PB says, detail rich. The world is immersive. Everything is skillfully made. Time of day is very well done. I wish I could stand this game more so that I could see more of what it has to offer, because the scenery is very nice. I've also heard there are some big dungeons to explore and I'd love to see those. Oh well. Full Review »
  3. DevonM.
    Oct 10, 2009
    Risen is a wonderful return to RPG roots. It does almost nothing wrong in my books. For people tried of the 'Diablo' style of Risen is a wonderful return to RPG roots. It does almost nothing wrong in my books. For people tried of the 'Diablo' style of action-rpg that dominates the shelves, Risen will be a wonderful breath of fresh air. This isn't a game where every five minutes you'll be levelling up, nor will you be constantly finding brand new weapons and armor to swap out. Until you start to get some better equipment and training, each battle will be dangerous and rewarding. After Gothic 3 I was skeptical of buying Risen, I cannot believe I almost passed up what has rapidly become one of the most compelling RPG's I've played since Mass Effect. As far as decisions make in the game, I love how the idea of good and bad isn't so distinct, rather it focuses on what side you'll take and what lines you'll tread there. Sure you apprehend the thief, but do you choose to let him go or turn him in? And if you do, which side are your ambitions aligned towards? Graphically speaking I find the game absolutely beautiful. I love how dark is dark in this game, carrying a torch through the jungle in a rainstorm as the shadows of trees and bushes dance around is a compelling visual experience. The acoustic ambiance is nothing shy of excellent either, this game is a visual and aural feast. Combat, one of the things widely criticized is in my opinion pretty good. With the sole exception of a minor targetting problem, I've never felt like the system was unintuitive, boring or difficult. Combat IS difficult, but not because of the system in place. Rather use of tactics and timing are paramount and can lead to some pretty satisfying kills. At one point I had performed an overhead strike only to kill three gnomes with the same hit, which is not common mind you, but shows how the system is versitile. Also, unlike other casual RPG's, there are no -easy- enemies in this game. Until you get some good armor, training and weapons, even the earliest enemies will still be dangerous, you just get better at killing them. Most importantly I've had no technical issues and it runs fine on my Sony Vaio FW485J/B at max graphical settings. I'm running the steam version of the game. Now, the game does have a few hiccups in dealing with falling, drowning, and the occassional targetting mishap in combat. But none which get in the way to make the game unplayable or less enjoyable. All in all, I love this game. LOVE IT. Anyone rating it poorly most likely simply do not like the design or difficulty of it. Any true hardcore or old school RPGers will feel completely at home here, and like me, have been waiting for this game for a long time. Full Review »