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Risen (2023) - Review - Xbox

Risen was an RPG that was originally released back in 2009. It was developed by Piranha Bytes (Gothic, Elex) and was released onto PC and Xbox 360. While it may not be as fondly remember as some other RPG's of the time, it has grown into a cult classic that spawned two sequels with Risen 2: Dark Waters and Risen 3: Titan Lords. The game was originally published by Deep Silver but in 2023 it's back! However this time its THQ Nordic on publishing duty and the game is being brought to modern systems (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Playstation 4). Now I bet a few of you out there are expecting this to be some kind of remaster of the original game, especially since 14 years have passed since it launched. I bet you're wondering what kind of bells and whistles have been added to the game, and how this release utilises the power of modern machines.... well i'm afraid I've got some bad news.

This release is just a straight port of the original game. So expect 2009 Risen, warts and all, exactly as it was originally like some kind of modern time capsule into the RPG past. It does run at 4k now, but the graphics, gameplay and everything in between are untouched.

What's the game about:

Faranga needs a new hero – will you heed the call?

Delve into the gritty and atmospheric world of Risen, where every action has a consequence. Master the sword, learn the art of staff fighting, or become a powerful mage, forging your path across a land filled with mysterious earthquakes, fearsome monsters, and unimaginable treasures.

A mysterious volcanic island. The island of Faranga’s heavy tremors bode ill for its inhabitants. Ancient temples have risen from the ground, bringing with them bizarre creatures that terrorize the area. Fear and panic are spreading throughout the population.

The end of all hope? A powerful group calling themselves "The Inquisitors" have made it their quest to put an end to these events. They send an expedition to Faranga, but a ferocious storm takes hold of the ship and destroys it at sea.

A hero will come.

Miraculously, you survive the shipwreck and are stranded on the volcanic island alone. You find yourself caught amidst rebellion, tyranny, and mystic rituals. It is up to you to decide which way the pendulum of fate will swing.


  • Divided into 4 chapters, letting you decide which side you will join

  • 30 different spells to choose from, cast either through scrolls or runes

  • Fully seamless world streaming support - No loading screens

  • Over 60 hours of immersive open world gameplay

  • Open world action RPG where every action has consequences

  • With each level, your character will learn and improves their skills

  • Countless side quests and creatures to discover

Now in terms of the quality on offer here this is by far a superior port to the existing Xbox 360 game, with a buttery smooth 60fps when played on the Xbox Series X/S and the loading times are greatly reduced. Despite being a 14 year old game the environments still look decent and the story/character dialogue is well written. That being said, there is still alot of niggles that will annoy some players. RPG tropes like awkward combat and quest jank. Plus all those annoying bugs/glitches that were in the original release, yes they are still here and haven't been improved on. Achievement hunters can rejoice though! This is classed as a new port so includes it's own 1000g across 50 achievements. Expect another 60-80 hours of gameplay to work through to get that completion as the achievement list seems to mirror that of the original Xbox 360 release.

Risen is still a fun game, and is definitely an RPG worth playing at least once. There's tons of content to be found but you may get bogged down in the 2009 esqueness of it all. I just don't really understand who this port is for as the game was already on PC and Xbox via backwards compatibility at a fraction of the price of this release (They even had it in the Xbox sale for a couple of pounds the same week this port released?) - Yes this port does run slightly better compared to the original Xbox port, but you really need to be a mega fan/achievement hunter to want to buy this port on Xbox over the existing one. I definitely see the point of the release on Switch/PS4 as they never had access to, soooooo my score below reflects the quality of the game and not the necessity of this release. TOTAL SCORE: 6.5/10

Risen was released onto the Xbox store on the 24th January 2023. It's priced at £24.99 and can be purchased HERE. It's playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S consoles and was also released onto Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch Consoles. A copy of the game was provided for this review. A big thanks for that.

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