Ryse Son of Rome Review

Platform: Xbox One Publisher: Microsoft Develeoper: Crytek
Reviewer: JayWood2010 Genre: Hack and Slash Rating: Mature

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wnHK0YoMiG8


Ryse’s debut for Xbox One has been one of the most talked about games since E3 of 2013.  Unfortunately for Crytek I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was good press.  Instead many people dubbed it as Quick Time Event the game.  With Crytek working hard since that point it seems that they may have rectified this issue and even announced multiplayer at one point.  The issue still stands though, would Ryse be a solid launch title for Xbox One or would it just be another hack and slash game that falls short of the mark.

Ryse is a story about a man by the name of Darrius.  The beginning of the tale starts with the murder of his family and Darrius seeking revenge on the people who had done such brutal crime.  If this all sounds familiar please go look at a little game called God of War. The thing is Ryse never achieved the a true sense of character development.   There isn’t much more to the story of Ryse beyond meeting a few characters who you will likely not care about.  On the other hand where Crytek lacks the writing skills they made up for with phenomenal voice acting and great acting all around.  Every character was brilliant and one of the best cast of voice actors I’ve seen in games.

Adding to the voice acting and acting it shows partially because the graphics and presentation is absolutely stunning.  The facial expressions are unmatched in any game I’ve seen and the sense of a Roman war is actually there.  From the huge building to catapults being flung over your head this game is stunning to look at.  The only drawback was that not every character is a perfect rendition.  The main characters are flawless but there is one woman in the game I have to say I just wasn’t feeling it.  It really came with the hair.  The hair just didn’t seem realistic.

The big question was whether or not Ryse would play as good as it looks.  I personally play games on hard difficulty starting off so I did enjoy the challenge that the game offered.  Unfortunately the game is repetitive and has a shallow combat system.  Your three mechanics is Strike, stun with shield, and block.  It seems to be heavily influenced by Assassin’s Creed and Batman: Arkham Asylum.  To give you a sense of things it is much better than the overly easy Assassin’s Creed combat system but poor compared to Batman.  The main draw is the executions which you can upgrade through experience points.  You also have the option on what kind of executions you want to go with.  You can choose from XP Bonus, Regenerating health, etc.  Regenerating Health was the most useful for me as I mentioned before hard difficulty did offer me an enjoyable challenge.  Speaking of enjoyable they do offer a variety of enemies to change things up a bit.  This is where most of the enjoyment comes from actually.  When they are throwing different enemies at you constantly whether it be archers or minotaurs the game can offer some real enjoyment.  They aren’t pushovers either since the enemies don’t just attack one at a time.  They can just all bombard you so be ready and be responsive with your evades and blocks.  When it all comes down to it, the gameplay is largely shallow with some enjoyment under hard difficulty.  If you were to play normal though, I expect this game would be rather boring from beginning to end.

Because of the repetitive and shallow gameplay the multiplayer experience isn’t much an excitement.  While the difficulty seems to be setup nicely this will only give you a limited amount of enjoyment thanks to the lackluster combat system.  While it nice having different set pieces and objectives which I will admit to having fun with it really is hindered due to as I’ve mentioned multiple times, a shallow combat system.  Not even the upgrades in multiplayer pushed me forward in multiplayer.

Analysis

When all is said and done Ryse is an enjoyable Roman tale.  The story is actually an enjoyment over all but lacks a true character development and there for gives you any reason to care for the characters beyond the superb voice acting.  The gameplay is shallow but not poor either.  Playing through Ryse once should give you an enjoyment if you play on hard difficulty but is poor when compared to higher tier hack and slash games like God of War.  Ryse is a decent title overall but not a reason to buy Xbox One either.  Crytek has really made a name for themselves being graphical geniuses but sadly they also continue with shallow and unmemorable experiences.

Gameplay 7 Fun on Hard Difficulty Shallow Combat
Graphics 9.5 Best looking game I’ve seen on Consoles Every character is not treated equally
Story 7 Good Roman Tale Bad Character Development
Beat em up 5 Wide Variety of enemies Poor compared to better hack and slash games
Multiplayer 5 Interest settings Shallow Combat
Overall 6.7
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