Risen 2: Dark Waters & Treasure Isle DLC – Hands on at GDC Preview

Piranha Bytes’ Risen 2: Dark Waters promises to take us on a journey through the life and times of a pirate, all wrapped up in a sword and musket filled RPG.

Deep Silver let us go hands-on with the game at GDC. Read on to find out if the game stole the show.


Living the life of a pirate. Pirate ship. Rum. Women. Gold. What more could a swashbuckling man want out of life? Traveling the high seas in search of things to do with a lusty wench at your beck and call. The fun doesn’t really begin until you reach your next port, though, and Treasure Isle awaits you.

Our Nameless Hero

Risen 2 picks up initially where the first game left off. After saving the world, no one really cares about our heroes deeds anymore, and all he wants to do is drink rum and mess with that lusty wench. We catch up with our hero/drunk/pirate as he has already dropped anchor on Treasure Isle, and he now has some decisions to make.

Playing as our hero, we started out standing on our ship. Our first decision was who we wanted to join us on our adventure onto the island. There’s Chani. A voodoo witch who can help you fight off anything you may encounter. There’s also Jaffar. He not only can help you fight, but will pick up items for you that have been dropped by others in battle. He loves to throw things, and just about anything can be thrown as a weapon.


We chose Jaffar. How could we pass up something as cute as a gnome dressed in pirate garb? Plus, with all of those pockets and bags, he can carry an endless amount of booty. Along with Jaffar, we also had access to a parrot and a little pocket monkey. The parrot worked great for when we were battling multiple enemies at once. He would fly around an enemy’s head and keep him occupied while we took care of another enemy. The pocket monkey can be used as a scout, scoping out an area and helping you decide you best plan of attack, or the best way to avoid bad guys. He can also reach areas that our nameless hero can’t easily access. Everyone pirate needs a parrot and a pocket monkey.

Once we left the ship, we were faced with another decision. We can choose to align ourselves with the tribal people of the islands, or we can choose the settlers. Choosing the tribes gives us access to special magic that isn’t available if they aren’t on your side. Choosing the settlers will enhance your firearm skills, and these aren’t available if you side with the tribes. As a pirate, we figured guns were the better way to go. We’ll let Chani deal with the voodoo stuff, even though some of those skills could be very useful.


It really was hard to pass up siding with the tribes. They could unlock skills such as voodoo dolls and the ability to make the bad guys fight each other. On the other hand, being able to use a rifle effectively from a distance has its own benefits as well. The firearms we saw included a musket, a rifle with a bayonet attached, and  pistol.

When it came to combat, our weapon of choice could have been gun powder based or just plain steel. The sword was very effective against most enemies.  Gotta watch out for those damn crabs, though. These aren’t little bitty love bugs, but large, land crawling creatures instead. You have to kick them and flip them over. Once upended, they weren’t all that hard to kill. Crab feed anyone?

Land Crabs

The graphics for the game looked great. We were playing on an Xbox 360, and while it might not have looked as good as it would on a high end PC, it was still a great looking game. Water effects looked incredible. When we started out, the weather was bright and the ocean was calm. Half way through our playtime, the weather turned dark and stormy, and the ocean reflected this by becoming rough and choppy. The waves went from gently lapping on the sands of the beach, to waves crashing in the distance once the storm blew in. Impressive.

Our Ship

The release of Risen 2: Dark Waters is still over a month away for the PC, and after playing for almost an hour, we want our own copy now. The only bad thing about playing the game at GDC was the fact that we had to stop. Awesome pirate RPG. For those fo you that pre-ordered your copy of Risen 2, the Treasure Isle DLC is included.

Arrgh – Pirates: They are going to steal, cheat, lie…….and drink rum.