It is hard for me to pinpoint what exactly makes gothic games, ...well, gothic games. Piranha Bytes managed to recreate an oldschool hardcore rpg feel and mixed it with intresting atmosphere, big, open, organic world to explore, challenging difficulty while maintaining their own unique characteristic.
It's strange that Risens 2&3 don't play like a proper gothic game, despite superficially retaining the above mentioned things. The pirate setting is not as engaging, open world was switched for a network of corridors, combat became even more ridiculous and some streamlining here and there detracts from the experience. None of those is gamebreaking alone, but as a whole builds quite a different game.
Ok, I respect your opinion, and while you're not exactly knocking
Risen 2 or 3, and I agree partially with what you've written; I've got to push back a little bit..
Ignoring Risen 3 for the moment (because I haven't played it yet); I'm going push back a little on the pirate setting, and "open world" parts.
Playing Risen 2 right now (not sure how far in - just completed building and sailing my 'raft
'); and as far as the pirate setting, to me it's more of a "reluctant pirate" setting. The protagonist isn't a pirate by heart - it's a role he's playing to further his ability to advance his goals. In that sense, it seems an engaging enough 'pirate setting' (he gets to learn about pirate lore; and sail a 'pirate' ship).
Regarding the 'open world was switched for a network of corridors'; I think I get what you're saying (it isn't one giant monolithic 'zone' like Gothic 3 was; instead it's a set of 'interconnected areas') but use of the word 'corridors' implies, well, basically, that it's a "series of tubes" like any "corridor shooter" (like the Metro series), when it's really more of a set of interconnected "large zones" - each of which has plenty of freedom of movement and a variety of locales.
I don't see how that's different, than say, all of the Stalker games, the Fallouts, Baldurs Gates, Underrail, Freelancer, and any number of other titles that have "zones" (hopefully that's a variety enough to sell my point).
In any case, to me it's definitely not "corridors".
I agree, at least partially, with some of your other points.
But, taking combat, for example - I've never cared for the combat at all in the Gothics/Risens - it just never "clicks" with me - it always feels awkward. And I hate
that the way I like to "fight" (often using multiple short keypresses of the same key - like my PC is taking short steps) results in the "combat dodge" feature kicking in and I end up "rolling" all over the place. I hate that and wish I could turn it off. For that reason, I play these titles on Easy - otherwise the frustrating combat would have me quit.
This isn't the first time I've expressed that <i>opinion</i>
But they've crafted very cool "worlds" and, if you enjoy large, crafted RP "worlds", then it's worthwhile to put up with the crappy combat in order to experience those worlds.
I'm mixed about the "streamlining". Take edibles, for example. I find I don't mind that they all combine into a generic "provisions" pile. I guess the streamlining seems "mild".
Anyways, this is getting into tl;dr territory. I'll wrap by saying - I'm not knocking your opinion - just contrasting it a bit with mine - for those potential readers that are perhaps taking such comments into account whenst making a decision to acquire these titles. They're worthwhile for the RP worlds they've crafted - not so much for their "combat". They're not "corridors", they're "zones". :)