The Ninjabot

Ryse: Son of Rome – It Doesn’t Suck

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 9:00 am by Justin Cavender

Ryse: Son of Rome review

Microsoft’s Xbox One console launched with several exclusives including Ryse: Son of Rome, the action-adventure game developed by Crytek. Players take on the role of Marius Titus, a general in the Emperor’s army on a quest for vengeance. Nothing quite like barbarians killing your mother, father, and sister to stir the old revenge pot. Regardless of Marius’ murderous combat dance of death, it was hard to connect with him on an emotional level. In fact, throughout the entire game, I thought was watching a robotic Clive Owen, hacking and slashing his way to the end credits.

Sizzle to Fizzle

Visually, Ryse fits the bill for next-gen quality. The graphics in this game are glorious, and you can feel the pain of these barbarian bastards as their limbs go sailing through the air. Each fatal blow will have you smiling ear to ear with the amount of over the top violence shown on your screen. Countless enemy hordes will come crashing down on your fortress and the game’s cinematic experience gives the player a real sense of danger on an epic scale. Some of my favorite stages included protecting the cities from invaders by kicking down ladders, firing siege weapons, and ordering archers to volley an attack.

Once you get past the brutal executions, you’ll probably notice you’ve been chopping up the same enemies over and over again. Sadly, there are only a handful of character models in the game, which makes you feel like you’re slaying brothers belonging to a large family of brutes. The lack of character models strikes me as lazy and Ryse definitely loses cool points for not putting in the extra effort.

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Button Mashing Madness

The controls are super simple to master, and within minutes, you’ll be able to take on an entire army of barbarian clones almost single handedly. When Ryse debuted over the summer at E3, many folks complained about the use of QTEs (Quick Time Events). While they still exist in combat, the QTEs have become much more subtle in pulling off finishers. After severely damaging your enemies, a skull icon will appear over their head, simply press the right trigger to cue the QTE slaughter-fest. Soon the baddie will flash a color to which the player will press the corresponding color on their controller. Imagine the wounded barbarian flashed blue, at that moment the player would press x to complete the QTE. It’s worth mentioning players are not punished for pushing the wrong button. No sir, the enemies will still die, which seems silly to me, but might work for those of us that hate QTEs in games. I would like to point out there is only one segment in the game where you absolutely have to hit the right buttons or meet certain death. Luckily, you have the entire campaign to practice for this moment of precision.

Perks play a critical role in your fight for survival. There are a total of four assigned to the d-pad (HP regeneration, damage boost, XP gain, and focus) that players may swap on fly whilst dismembering foes. Pressing the correct buttons during executions will reward players with additional perk juice. The focus perk allows Marius to slow time and chop down the mightiest giant with the greatest of ease. Upon mastering the combat system, your never ending health supply and focus-regen will turn you into an unstoppable freak of nature.

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Blood and Glory

Have you ever dreamed of being a gladiator fighting for blood and glory in the Colosseum? Now you and a buddy can team up and slaughter all who stand in the way of your path to greatness. Competing in multiple rounds will award you coins to purchase booster packs, which feature unique items to customize your gladiator. Increasing your character’s rank will net you higher quality items in booster packs. Of course, these packs also cost a lot more gold. You’re going to have to save your money for a rainy day, as the high end stuff will cost you beaucoup bucks. There are a total ten different arenas to choose from with various objectives to fulfill between rounds. I’ll admit to having more fun in the arena than I had during the solo campaign, but I’m a sucker for mixing it up with my friends.

Final Thoughts

Ryse: Son of Rome isn’t the best title to usher in the new era of next-gen gaming. The gameplay is overly simplistic, with a hardly a biscuit of variety to lay claim to. The solo campaign features 8 chapters taking players somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7 hours to complete. The lack of character models rubbed me the wrong way, but the game doesn’t suck. Chopping up barbarians while they lay siege on Rome is nothing short of tasty eye candy. The multiplayer arenas can spice things up a bit, but then you are at the mercy of waiting on your friends to play. Ryse isn’t for everyone, especially with a $60 price tag. I would suggest renting or waiting for a price drop.

Presentation: 8

Gameplay: 6.5

Replay: 6.5

Legacy Score: 7

Geek Legacy’s review scores are on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest possible score.

This review is based on the retail copy of Ryse: Son of Rome for Xbox One.

Follow Justin on Twitter @Edgyarmo for more action in the world of geek news.

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