Developed by:Crytek Published by:Microsoft Studios Genre(s):
  • Action
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1-2 Release date:November 22, 2013 Reviewed on:XBox One

    Ryse: Son of Rome

    Out of all the launch games for the Xbox One, Ryse has been the one I’ve been keeping an eye on. Since E3 2010, before its next gen announcement, I knew it would be something worth getting my hands on. Debuting as “Codename: Kingdom,” I was hooked ever since they showed a battle hardened Roman soldier readying for a fight. The next year it was announced that “Ryse” would be a Kinect exclusive and it again peaked my interest. Another name change and a console generation later, Crytek shows off Ryse: Son of Rome during Microsoft’s E3 2013 press conference. My heart stopped. Not so much because the game looked great but because I’d finally get the game I’ve been waiting so long for!

    Ryse: Son of Rome was the first game I put into my brand spanking new Xbox One. Once the loading screen finished, I was floored by the expansiveness and beauty of the visuals. Crytek’s allure is its ability to toe the line of what can be done in gaming before completely stepping over it, especially when it comes to graphics. The sound quality was also unbelievable, featuring powerful orchestrated music and…and that was just in the first few minutes. I thought to myself “This is it! I WILL BE A ROMAN SOLDIER!”

    Ryse is a third person hack n’ slash title that follows the life of a Roman solider named Marius Titus. What’s great is that it isn’t just a hack fest as things like finishers take some skill to execute correctly. As you go along fighting the barbarians and other baddies, a skull will appear above their heads. This is the signal to begin the finisher. By pressing the right trigger, the camera epically zooms in on the action as the bad guy starts to glow blue and yellow. This will be your prompt to press either the X or Y buttons, respectively. If you mess up, no problem. The move will still finish, but you won’t get as many points to level up. Depending on how quickly you recognize the movement or color, your score will raise exponentially higher.

    Fighting enemy soldiers and completing QTE finishers make up the bulk of the gameplay in Ryse. Crytek attempted to mix things up a bit by making you throw spears, use a crossbow, and lead a garrison but those moments are few and far between. The campaign’s story is as much about expanding the Roman Empire as it is exacting revenge; early on Marius witnesses his family murdered by barbarians. The resulting narrative is compelling enough to take you through the campaign, even after the gameplay has become repetitive.

    Although at times the gameplay can get stagnant, the real draw to this game is the graphics and sound quality. Again, this game looks unbelievable. You can almost see your reflection in the armor. There are trees and grass swaying, leaves blowing and birds flying out in the distance, buildings and rocks textured to almost perfection – even the water and fire move realistic ways making it easy to be immersed in Ryse’s world. At times it’s like watching a popular TV drama, except I get to be involved with the onscreen action. Crytek definitely knows how to present a game and it shows.

    The multiplayer is a sort of respite from the campaign. It’s a 1-2 player gladiator mode set in a coliseum with bad guys coming from all sides. Though it isn’t as deep in terms of plot (there is none) it is nice to only have to worry about fighting. This is made better when playing with a friend as you both have to work together to conquer different objectives. To make things more challenging, the arena will constantly change; the landscape fills with different traps and obstacles. As you play and level up you’ll be able to unlock more gear for your gladiator. Basically, this was a highlight of the game as it allowed me to rest from the campaign when I felt overwhelmed.

    Remember that Michael Bay movie, Pearl Harbor? An absolute special effects beauty of a movie, but the story just seemed a bit too long for one sitting. This is how Ryse was for me. The game is extremely beautiful, looking and sounding like what a next-gen game should. But, if you decide to go through the campaign in a couple of sessions it becomes tedious. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy playing long stretches every once in a while. I just had to take breaks here and there. And even though the multiplayer mode featured the same type of combat the changing objectives helped with the monotony!



    Ryse is an easy to pick-up-and-play title that gets a little too repetitive.



    Just look at any of the pictures above. Imagine them moving. If I could give it an 11, I would!



    Orchestral score is epic. The little things aren't forgotten either, like the sound of the armor clanking or birds flying in the distance. The voice acting was good too.

    What's New:


    As much as I love this game, it doesn’t present anything completely new.
    The combat does feel fresh at first though.

    Replay Value:


    Once the campaign is over, you probably won’t go through it again. The multiplayer, however, will keep this game in your rotation for a while.

    Final Score:


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