Ryse: Son of Rome tells the story of Marius Titus who witnesses the murder of his family at the hands of barbarians. Seeking revenge, Marius joins the Roman army in Britannia and quickly rises through the ranks to become a General. As his war against the barbarians escalates, his quest unravels: to find his vengeance, he has to return to Rome.
Release Date: 22nd November 2013 Format: Xbox One Developer: Crytek Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Ryse: Son of Rome had potential, but Crytek did too little to expand upon its repetitive combat. While I ran through the campaign in about five hours, it honestly felt like 20. And with the formula becoming more and more boring with each by-the-numbers execution, the addition of throwaway collectibles, like vistas and scrolls, couldn't save this game. Ryse doesn't come close to living up to Roman standards.
There's no brains, no muscle, no fibre beneath Ryse's extravagantly engineered good looks - this game rings loud but hollow. Crytek likes to contrast Marius' moral strength with the vanity and cruelty of Nero and his made-up sons, but Ryse feels like a product of their dying empire. It's just empty decadence.
Then again, kindness is the last thing Ryse: Son of Rome concerns itself with. It's a gorgeous, dark and bloody tableau. But all that visual beauty and dramatic gravitas goes to waste with an aimless plot and a monotonous combat system. Ryse has all the guts of next-gen — often quite literally — but none of the glory.
Ryse: Son of Rome falls into the trap of your typical launch game: it does well to show off the power of the system, but it's slim on substance. Production value aside, Ryse is short, easy and lacks the punch of other action games. For all of it's pomp and flash, Ryse: Son of Rome is a shallow bore.
Ryse is all sizzle and no steak, a stunning visage paired with a vapid personality. Everything from the leveling system that's so painfully easy to complete (and so devoid of any impact on the game that it might as well not be there), to the story that does little to flesh out its lead characters beyond puerile notions of revenge is a testament to how little Ryse can back up its gorgeous visuals with anything more than a shallow set of fisticuffs.
Ryse has an entertaining story and sky-high production values. The gameplay that’s there isn’t bad – it just stops in its tracks before it gets anywhere near close to demanding. The multiplayer mode has some neat ideas, like a deadly, shifting Colosseum, but it’s hamstrung by the same combat issues that affect the main campaign. But if spectacle is what you want, Ryse: Son of Rome will keep you entertained.
Ryse looks great and has a lot of great ideas, but it falls flat in nearly every respect in regards to its core story. If you're a hardcore action fan you may get some satisfaction on the highest difficulty setting, but even then I'd wait for an equally hardcore price drop.
Ryse is simple, but the game has a certain moreish quality to it. It's without doubt repetitive, and replicates its few ideas constantly across its six-hour running time, but I couldn't help but enjoy it. For all its idiotic and straightforward ways, anyone who gets this day one with their console will, at the very least, have a wry smile on their face.
It'll vanish from your brain as soon as you've finished it, but before that, Ryse is oddly fun.
For those who enjoy a simple hack-n-slash game, Ryse: Son of Rome fits the bill. This is no deep adventure, but rather a chance to burn your aggression by chopping your way through hundreds of barbarians, slowing only to enjoy the carnage during the brutal executions. Still, the stunning visuals and compelling setting will keep some gamers engaged throughout, making Ryse a flawed-but-interesting addition to the Xbox One launch lineup.
Ryse looks fantastic - a genuinely promising example of what the Xbox One can do. But if you're not interested in co-op arenas, Ryse's five-or-six hour campaign might not offer you great value for money. If you are, you might find your weak, loinclothed gladiator is getting bullied into the gold shop.
Ryse's setting, graphics and novel combat system could serve as the blueprint for a more spectacular and more complicated game. Or Ryse could stand on its own as what it is: an interesting, weirdly violent yet somehow also attractive detour.
I'd like to think that Ryse is an example of the kind of fresh re-thinking we'll experience on the new generation of consoles. Why not move the camera in? Why not set the game in ancient Rome? Why not let players yell at archers to lob in some support? Actually, no, never do that last one again. Ryse arrives with low expectations and demonstrates that looks can make a difference in gameplay. That's a next-gen upgrade I can enjoy.
Ryse: Son of Rome is the definitive Xbox One launch title--for better or worse. It's an incredibly pretty game with some impressive ideas, and it's going to surprise you with its engaging story and weighty combat. The short campaign and repetitive battles hold it back from greatness, but it's a journey through Rome absolutely worth experiencing, if just to see exactly what the console is capable of.
When I finished playing this game, I felt like I wanted more. That’s the mark of a good game. I also felt like I had played something fresh. If there were 20 games about Rome, this one might not stand out as the most outstanding. But it’s good, and there aren’t enough tales with a historical background that wind up being big budget video games. I’m glad that Crytek stayed the course on its seven-year journey and finally finished Ryse.
Crytek showed a gameplay video of Xbox One-exclusive Ryse at the Microsoft Press conference today and confirmed it will be a launch title.
Ryse puts you on the frontlines of a Roman army as Marius Titus, a commander who must fight and lead troops in battle.
Ryse is chock-full of bombastic set pieces that see Roman galleys crash and splinter on the rocks. It's also full of QTE combat by the looks of things, with button-prompts popping up with such regularity that it's unclear exactly what you do control.
Nevertheless, Ryse looks good - it's very grey but also very visually accomplished, as you might expect from a Crytek game.
Ryse: Son of Rome looks beautiful and feels slick. It may just be one of the Xbox One's "killer apps".
You may recall that in my Deep Down preview earlier this week, I described the combat as "clunky". Thankfully, there's none of that to be had in Ryse, as combos flowed naturally, the control scheme felt great, and the combat was nice and smooth.
The simple light attack, light attack, heavy attack combo that is present in just about every action RPG ever served me quite well, but I was able to easily experiment with dodges, blocks, and special attacks to vary up the combat. Pulling off combos feels good, and rewarding, without being overly punishing if you mess up. Anyone who has ever played God of War will feel right at home.
The quizzical "quick-time-events-that-aren't-really-quick-time-events" we saw last time we checked out the game were notably absent. Instead, when an enemy is ready to be finished, a skull appears above his head. Pressing any button while next to him initiates a finishing move.
Playing in co-op reminds me of another "of war" game: Gears of War. When your partner is downed, you have to run over and help him back up, and in the scenario I played, there were several mini-boss enemies that are much easier to take down if you work in tandem (one player distracts him while the other attacks). There didn't appear to be any co-op specific special moves, but some of the regular special moves (such as the AoE stun) work great when you have a partner.
If Crytek are known for one thing, it's making absolutely beautiful games, and Ryse is no exception. I confirmed that it was actually running on an Xbox One (as the Titanfall guys made the rather cheeky decision to be running the PC version at TGS), and was blown away by how beautiful the world was. Not only that, the little things, such as blood splatter and these beautiful "meaty" sound effects really helped paint a clear picture of the world around you.
The arena demo was a great way to showpiece the strong points of the game: its combat and its visuals, rather than the somewhat weak story that was showcased in the earlier demo. Enemies felt distinct, you were given a lot of toys to play with, and the "boss battle" I experienced was challenging, but not frustrating. At the end of the demo, I hungered for more, which is definitely a good sign. I was quite thoroughly entertained.