Ryse: Son of Rome Review24 Nov, 2013
The story of Ryse is at least interesting. Our hero is Marius and the game follows his life on the way to an eventual act of revenge. You’ll control him throughout using the Xbox controller to slay through many barbarians as they try to overthrow Rome by carrying out all manner of blocks, parry and execution moves and ensure they never live to tell the tale of how close they came.
It’s fair to say if you want to show off your Xbox One’s graphical capabilities then Ryse is the game to do it. Not only do the environments look fantastic, but the character animation, which is the result of full motion capture, will fool your eyes, often making you feel like you are watching a movie rather than playing a game. As briefly mentioned, the game is based on Roman times, therefore the environments are filled with plenty of references to this era. There’s Roman architecture and arenas, but also beaches, swamps, and some beautiful looking forests. It really does look that stunning in parts, although on occasion it does make a trip to uncanny valley.
Sticking with the positives, character animation is as smooth as butter, even when the action heats up, things never seem to slow down. It’s an impressive start to the next generation as a spectacle, it’s just that it doesn’t quite nail things as a game. The main problem when it comes to Ryse is that it’s repetitive. There are only so many ways you can slay a barbarian to pieces before you’ve had enough. Unfortunately the game fails to really challenge the player with anything other than combat. There are no real puzzles to be had or any big set pieces. Instead you are either in the throws of combat, countering and slashing or taking control of your army, commanding them to fire a volley of arrows with ‘LB’ while you continue to slash away at anything in your path. Occasionally you’ll have to take control of a mounted crossbow and take enemies down from a distance, or grab the spears you find lying around to throw at archers, but this doesn’t really add much to the gameplay.
While the combat is repetitive, at least it works well. Combat consists of basic attack, blocks and heavy attacks. In order to win the battles you’ll need to learn the timing to perfection, so when an enemy attacks you from behind, making a block at the perfect time will give you the ultimate advantage. You’ll also need to learn how to bash in order to knock an enemy off guard and get behind their shield and of course, you’ll need to perfect your evade skill, which allows you to escape a sticky situation when you are surrounded by enemies.
One of the things I kept forgetting to do through the adventure was upgrade Marius’ skills. From the menu you are able to upgrade health, improve executions, focus and more. This is very handy as even on the lower difficulties the game can be quite tough. Luckily Marius does have some extra skills to help him get through the more difficult battles. A special ‘slow motion’ power-up allows Marius to slow time and get plenty of hits in on the enemy to take them down. Useful when you are up against multiple enemies with your health on the ropes.
As you get further into the game, the Boss battles start to appear. Frustration is a good word to use for these because they are so tough to defeat and when you eventually do get their health bar down, it’ll often spring right up again. Bosses seem to have a knack of hitting you with unblockable attacks, which will often result in you having to try on multiple occasions to defeat them, although if you stick at it you’ll eventually manage.
Away from the single player campaign, Ryse provides access to a co-op multiplayer modes which lets you take on a friend in multiple arenas. Before each fight, you’ll pick a god to serve, and will be rewarded a special bonus for doing so. Powers gained from these reward include Fires of War, Solo Stun, Time Storm and also Hurricane Blast, the latter of which pushes enemies away. There is also a solo option in the arenas too, which provides various scenarios for you to play through and therefore adds some extra replay-ability to the overall experience. The multiplayer does replicate the rinse and repeat nature of the solo campaign, but at least playing with friends makes it more fun.
Ryse: Son of Rome is certainly a next generation experience, of that there is no doubt. The game looks stunning and is a spectacle throughout. It’s main draw back is that it does get repetitive, however as it becomes more challenging this issue does fade a little. If Ryse was any longer than six hours long it’d probably be quite hard to recommend, but if you can overlook these flaws and concentrate on the overall experience, then you’ll no doubt be entertained.
Words by Joe Anderson.
@_wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta
(Version Tested: Xbox One)
+ Looks Stunning
+ Great Acting
+ Interesting Story
- Gets very repetitive
- Not enough challenges/puzzles
Edited On 24 Nov, 2013
Ryse: Son of Rome
Ryse: Son of Rome tells the story of the young Roman soldier, Marius Titus, who witnesses the murder of his family at the hands of barbarian bandits. Seeking revenge, he travels with the Roman army to Britannia where he proves himself a soldier of phenomenal skill and quickly rises through the ranks. As Marius leads the army against the barbarian horde, his quest unr…
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