I think I've gotten Risen 2's combat system down
October 31, 2015

I recently picked Risen 2: Dark Waters back up after putting it on a back burner. What? Dark Souls and its sequel are more enthralling games. Mostly, this has to do with their combat systems, and the fact that they aren't stupidly designed like Risen 2's.

Okay, I'll admit that it is a bold move. The game eschews the original's battle system, which consists of blocking ad nauseam until an opening presents itself, whereupon you cut loose a flurry of combos until your opponent expires or recovers. Although this sounds like a trite system, it works for the Risen and leads to some pretty decent, simple fights.

Risen 2 does away with blocking by introducing a parrying system, which is more relevant to the game's pirate-theme. Unfortunately, its execution isn't so brilliant. In order to lock on to a target, you must hold the right mouse button during the entire scuffle. This also activates a fighting stance. If your opponent attacks while you're in this stance, you will automatically parry their moves, unless they unbalance you with one strike in a combo and follow up with further blows. You, of course, do unto them as they do to you, except that you can occasionally press a number key to restore your health. Basically, you end up circling your opponent, occasionally backing off, and launching an attack whilst hoping you aren't leaving yourself vulnerable, all while sometimes tapping the '1' key.

The worst part is that the camera isn't fixed on you while you're in a fighting stance, and you must manually rotate it while also circling your opponent.

I don't personally mind that they've switched to a more parry-based combat system, but I wish Piranha Bytes would have instituted it more effectively. I know not everyone is good enough at timing to make use of a manual parry system rather than an automatic one, but the latter of those two makes for uninteresting combat and unreliable defenses. I'd rather be more in control of my damage mitigation rather than trust the computer to calculate parries and damage avoidance for me in an action-based RPG.

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