Risen: Early Impressions

What would happen if you mixed one part The Rocketeer, one part Battlestar Galactica and set it in the Bermuda Triangle? You'd probably wind up with Dark Void, or at least the beginning segments of the game that we've been able to see thus far. I was able to play a few levels at a Capcom event yesterday and also bring a build to the office, giving me a look at a few levels from various bits of the game as well as the opening sequences. The game starts off with you playing as soldier, testing out a new Tesla-designed rocket pack. Of course, no game would be complete without a sneak attack by the enemy, so a group of UFOs show up to give you an introduction to the game's flight mechanics. After dispatching a group of them, the character you start with looks to be killed and you then take control of the game's protagonist, Will, about a week later.

For performance, I've been playing on a machine with a Core 2 Quad 2.4 GHz CPU, a GeForce 8800 GTX 768 MB video card, and 2 GB of RAM. It's not the highest-end rig, but it so far been capable of running the game, with occasional chop, at 1920 x 1200 with everything set to High. The game's lush forested areas and nicely detailed dungeons and mountain towns look great and cater more to fantasy fans who prefer realism in their environments as opposed to magical stones floating on pillows of blue energy with lasers crisscrossing every which way. It's mostly browns and greens and greys, making for a world that feels dirty and authentic. As for how large the world is, how much there is to do, and how many choices there are to make, I'll have to wait and see. After playing the beginning, though, it seems as though Piranha Bytes' latest has the foundations of what could be a great role-playing experience, particularly for fans of its Gothic games. I'll keep playing for now, and a review will be up as soon as possible. Also, just in case it wasn't clear, this is the PC version of the game I'm playing. The Xbox 360 version isn't due to come out until next year in North America

Published by: Deep Silver
Developed by: Piranha Bytes / Pluto 13

Genre: RPG


Date:US: October 2, 2009 Europe: October 2, 2009
MSRP: $49.99

Art buyers find few investment masterpieces

It was only when Jussi Pylkk√§nen was climbing down from the auctioneer’s rostrum that he realised the scale of what had just happened.

Having presided over the sale of a ravishing nude by Amedeo Modigliani for $170m, it struck him that this surpassed any previous auction figure achieved for the Italian artist’s work — by a staggering $100m.

“I knew the record would be broken, but not by how much. When you get a work that suddenly makes $100m more, that is the greatest single leap,” says the global president of Christie’s.

Since that New York sale in November 2015, auction records for individual artists have continued to tumble, underlining the appetite of super-rich collectors for the most desirable works of art. The global caravan of auctions, gallery shows and art fairs, which this week pauses in London for the annual Frieze fair, rumbles on in anticipation of the next masterwork to be offered for sale.

Many of those buying high-value art argue that the money involved is less important than gaining possession of a unique object of unimpeachable beauty or artistic value (and, perhaps, the chance to stand out from the gilded crowd). The idea of art as an investment is a secondary function, if at all. “You’re supposed to buy art because you like it. It’s a terribly corny phrase, but you get a ‘dividend of pleasure’,” says Bendor Grosvenor, a broadcaster and former art dealer.