Ryse: Son of Rome is a historical action adventure game developed by Crytek and released on November 22, 2013 for Xbox One. Following Roman centurion Marius Titus, the game details his part in the defence of Rome against the barbarians as well as his quest to avenge his murdered father. Originally developed as a Kinect exclusive title for Xbox 360, the game was retooled in development to become an Xbox One launch title. Let's find out if it's worth your time.
Ryse is absolutely stunning and extremely satisfying to look at. Crytek is known for their graphical prowess and does not disappoint in the least throughout the game, easily presenting one of the best looking games currently available on consoles. Combat animations look great and character models are some of the best looking available on consoles, making a wonderful impression on the player and really helping immersion into the action (yes I say on consoles only since I'm sure there is someone out there waiting to counter with how great Crysis 3 looks on their mammoth rig).
The Setting is Great
It's really great to see a game present a relatively unique setting, and Ryse presents a very cool foray into the world of the Roman empire. This is exemplified through the variety of action set-pieces experienced through the campaign such as fighting in the Coliseum as well as an amphibious landing in Britain, helping to draw players into the action.
I loved it, and this setting gave Ryse its own distinct historical flavour and complimented the gameplay well and accentuating the otherwise unremarkable story presented in the game. It's worth noting that for all you history buffs like myself, the story being told is not historically accurate and more than a few details are changed for the sake of the excitement but this did not stop me from enjoying Ryse's setting.
The Combat is Fun
Ryse's combat is simple fun, playing effectively into the streamlined experience the game presents. If you're into a highly stylized and cinematic experience, then this is the game for you and the combat system compliments this well. It could be said that in many character-action games, the flow of the game is built around its combat system but Ryse does the opposite and it feels at times like the combat system was designed specifically to match cinematic experience that game aims for. This doesn't stop is from being a lot of fun and while it can get repetitive, it never really gets old successfully performing an execution.
There's no getting around the fact that Ryse is a rather simplistic game in a lot of respects. Bayonetta this is not, as the combat does not show any significant depth or change over the course of the game. Furthermore, the game is completely linear and aims to be a cinematic experience which may be off-putting to those who want a game with more substance beyond pretty looks and cinematic set-pieces. In some ways, Ryse's campaign can be equated to the third person action game equivalent of a Call of Duty campaign, emphasizing cinematic set-pieces over giving players choice. It's all about what you as a player prefer and will likely make or break your impression of Ryse.
Length and Replayability
Ryse is a short game, clocking in at around 6 hours in length, slightly more if playing on one of the harder difficulties. Multiplayer doesn't do much to ease this, presenting a variety of wave defence battles in the Coliseum which can be played alone or online. Personally this didn't bother me as I've beaten the game twice, once on Normal and once on the highest difficulty, but it is worth noting that the replayability of the game may be a disappointment to a number of people. The multiplayer is a bit of a slog and without the action set-pieces found in the campaign the combat system is not able to make this mode appealing on its own.
Ryse is absolutely gorgeous with some great action set-pieces and a very cool historical setting.
The combat is fun but can also be simplistic. Your enjoyment of the game will likely hinge on whether this simplicity bothers you or not.
Ryse: Son of Rome is a gorgeous game, creating a cinematic and stylized experience for players. If you're looking for the equivalent of Call of Duty set in ancient Rome, Ryse is definitely the game for you and is a great deal of fun. However, there is no getting around that while fun the combat system lacks depth and is quite simplistic. It's a great first effort from Crytek and while it definitely will not agree with character-action aficionados, at the heart of Ryse is an enjoyable game that is definitely worth investing the time to experience.