Note: Copy-Paste from my review of Risen 1. You shouldn't play Risen 2 without having played Risen 1.
Personal rating: 8/10
Budget: Worth it.
Lenght: A few days to a week.
Risen 2 specific notes: Risen 2, apart from what I have to say about the series in general below, has a slightly clumsy combat system, and feels like a partial attempt at making a Sid-Meyer's Pirates! inspired RPG, but remains a very good game.
I'm not sure what to think of Risen. The company behind Risen made Gothic, a series that I loved. Gothic has a tragic story, funding was cut from the expansion pack to the third installment, resulting in a buggy game that felt unfinished, and had the wrong voice-actors. The dreaded fourth installment that the orginal company wasn't even part of, killed the series, and I hear this is why they started Risen on the side.
While I was initially excited about Risen, I feel like Risen is some sort of attempt from the company's side to "win back" their original ideas for gothic. It feels like they're trying to make the same game, but different.
Still, Risen has a decent story, but Risen is a series, and the third installment just game out. I'll try not to judge Risen 1 on the sequels, but it's hard, because frankly Risen 2 feels like they retconned a lot of Risen 1 in an attempt to reboot their franchise as a sort of "pirate age" age game, even though it clearly felt like a high-fantasy gothic medieval game in the first installment.
Separately though, the games are quite good, it's just a bit of a snag to get over how poorly they connect, despite several characters making appearances in both games.
In many ways, Risen perfectly embodies the spirit of Gothic and does provide some not-seen-before elements. Where in Gothic, you felt like you were the nameless master-mind behind a gang of anti-heroes who follow you out of some misguided sense of loyalty (honor among thieves, I guess) rather than true friendship, always facing challenges in a hostile world as you go about, in Risen you feel like people actually have a more "human" relationship towards you. Sure, you're still a nameless guy but apart from a select few individuals, you're truly alone this time, but your friendships in the game are based on actual frienship, meaning the character actually has some relationships with people.
Risen in no way beats or threatens the legacy of the 3 real gothic games, but if you liked gothic, you NEED to play Risen too.
Fun fact: Many fans believe that unofficially, Risen is set several years in the future of the original gothic trilogy. Read more on this theory on the internet.