Our Score: 8/10
Make your way with the sword, master staff combat, or develop your magical abilities in the immense world of Risen, which is home to terrifying beasts, eerie earthquakes, and unfathomable riches. Explore a dark, unforgiving, and evocative fantasy world where every decision has an effect.
Risen’s 2023 port is clearly not a remaster. THQ Nordic chose to effectively re-release Risen in its original condition with just a few minor tweaks to improve that original experience in a time when games from that period are receiving full-blown, ground-up remakes. This entails features like redesigned user interfaces, complete gamepad controls, and “completely seamless world streaming capability,” which enables you to move across the huge island of Faranga without ever seeing a loading screen.
So this Risen game is virtually the same as what Xbox 360 and PC users got in 2009. It’s a very old game, so it’s evident that this release is intended for those who liked it when it was first released and are seeking for a nostalgic experience with a few contemporary conveniences to make it more appealing.
Players will control a nameless hero in Risen that fits the stereotype of the generic video protagonist that was so prevalent in the late 2000s. Despite the game being completely voice-acted, and pretty effectively at that, the character’s lack of personality does not auger well for the game’s 60+ hours of advertised content. Risen may be excused in this sense since a self-insert character is nothing unusual for an RPG, especially one from this age. Particularly when you take into account where its story goes and how well the voice acting is done. Seriously, you’ll be surprised by how the voice acting still holds up.
Visual Old School
Since this isn’t a remaster or a remake, the visuals haven’t been touched much. And in all honesty, that’s not a bad thing. While yes, it does look dated when compared to current standards but the game has great art direction. And it’s because of that art direction that you might find yourself immersed in this world. I mean there’s a reason why the Risen and Gothic series are so beloved even with their shortcomings.
Aside from those few freezes, the game runs well, as it should on a powerful machine like the PS5. Even when the screen was completely occupied with magical effects, the framerate never dropped below a smooth 30fps. A “performance” toggle is included in this build of the game, but its purpose remains unclear. In our testing, there were no discernible graphical differences between having it on or off, and the game seemed to operate well in any mode.
Risen is an absolute classic RPG that has an incredible story, an immersive world and challenging gameplay. While yes, it’s practically the same game from when it launched, it’s pretty awesome to see it on modern consoles and see it running well. While it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, just like it was when it originally launched, those who enjoy it will really love this.