Played on windows vista64.
Those of you that have played the Gothic game series (a lesser known yet hardcore RPG series), of which i recently completed myself Gothic 2 Gold Edition
& Gothic 3
. This break away series, Risen, is made by the developers, Pirana Bytes, of those previous Gothic titles. They signed over the rights to Gothic 4 Arcania to JOWood & Spellbound for that one game, in order to make this Risen series, so don't worry, PB still own the rights to Gothic, so we have plenty of future prospects with Gothic & Risen.
The story of Risen is an interesting one, you play from a 3rd person perspective, a ship wreck survivor in a fantasy world with magic, swords & sorcery, who washes up on an island, an island with troubles. Eventually you will learn about the factions on the island, and have to pick a side that you want to fight for out of 3 factions to choose from. Which are the Warriors of the Order, Mages or Bandits. No matter which faction you choose the story incorporates your choice's very well as you see a different side to the same tale, which adds some replayabiltiy there. As you complete quests and slay enemies, you are given "learning points" which you can then use to customize your characters class as you see fit, with the use of strength, dexterity, mana, swords, axes, staffs, alchemy, smithing(incl.goldsmithing), prospecting ore, gutting animals, archery, crossbow, pick locks, pickpocket, acrobatics, sneak & more. Other Gothic-esque traits appear eg. No control over your characters facial appearance. Gold is important for learning skills from trainers. Dig up loot. Mine ore. Pick plants. Interact with NPC's and engage in conversation dialogue, some critical ones can have various response options. Cooking food. lockpicking etc...
Visually the game isn't mind blowing but looks good for the genre, the shadows and especially the lighting effects of entering and leaving caves/temples is pretty realistic, along with the reflections of your armor etc... The audio is also very good, although there are a few glitches when sound doesn't play, although this is very rare i found. The voice acting is excellent overall, but you will hear quite a few of the same voices on different characters in similar vain to a game like Oblivion, however the main characters are unique with the voice talent of well known actors such as John Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones) who voices the bandit leader & Andy Serkis (Gollum from LOTR's) is also a lead character voice. It is a little distracting, but doesn't ruin the game experience.
In conclusion, this unique style of RPG approach requires allot of patience to enjoy it, so it won't be too everyone's taste. It's more suited for those who enjoy learning about the game world from long conversations, investigating peoples backstories, taking your time to explore & build your character etc... The out the box vanilla version of Risen, is of a high quality, and having just completed it myself, i am already looking forward to another play through, with a new character build. Certainly looking forward to Risen 2