Ryse: Son of Rome, It's Next-Gen But...
Ryse: Son of Rome is one of the handful of Xbox One exclusive titles that was released when the console made its debut on November 22nd. Ryse was one of the games that got me excited for the next generation of gaming consoles, due to how crisp the game's graphics were.
So, when the Xbox One released this past Friday, I decided to give Ryse a try even though the game had not been well received by some critics. I mean, Ryse: Son of Rome is part of next-gen, so how could it not be good?
The game has players take on the role of a Roman general named Marius Titus as he seeks revenge for the killing of his family. Marius is a highly trained member of the Roman army and players are able to command his legionnaires through different Kinect commands.
Marius (left) will rise through the ranks of the Roman army as the story progresses.
Marius is equipped with a sword and shield so players will be able to attack as well as defend, and being able to alternate between the two in combat is critical. Marius's fighting style allows players to attack one opponent and quickly disengage to block another enemy's attack. This means that players cannot afford to focus all their attention on one enemy as enemies will attack Marius from behind.
The X button controls Marius's sword attacks and the Y button focuses on his shield attacks, and both of these can help players string together different attack combos. The shield is an important element of combat because it can break an opponent's defense which allows Marius to land successful sword attacks.
Each hit that lands successfully on an opponent adds to Marius's attack streak that allows players to earn more points during combat. These points count towards the overall experience that players will earn as they progress in the Campaign. The more experience you earn, the better you can upgrade Marius to make him a better fighter.
Another part of combat is that once Marius deals enough damage to an enemy a symbol will appear above their head meaning that they are vulnerable to an execution-style move performed by Marius. During these finishing moves, the enemy will glow with either blue or yellow which corresponds to either a X or Y button command.
The yellow glow means that Marius is going to inflict damage with his shield.
These moves make it so that enemies cannot target Marius and it is really meant to show off the visual ability of the Xbox One. The executions are oftentimes brutal and the game focuses heavily on this feature of the game. Unfortunately, every enemy is susceptible to these attacks and soon you will be performing the same attacks over and over again...which feels stale after a while.
In fact, the combat in Ryse feels fresh and exciting for the first hour of gameplay but it soon starts to feel repetitive. The game begins to feel like a button-masher until the time comes to perform an execution where the combat relies on quick-time events.
Overall, the combat in Ryse: Son of Rome is entertaining but soon begins to suffer from repetition. The mechanics of combat feel good
Graphics and Sound
One of the strengths of Ryse: Son of Rome is the quality of the graphics and the in-game audio. The game showcases what the Xbox One can do visually at the time of the console's release, and the attention to detail is impeccable. Marius armor shows great detail and some of the larger areas showcase impressive lighting ability.
Long story short, the game looks stunning in many instances.
The in-game sounds and audio are also quite good as the sounds of combat will ring out. Whether it is the sound of sword on shield or the sound of a ship being destroyed, Ryse features an impressive array of sounds.
The voice acting of the in-game characters is another one of the strong points as each actor really gets into character.
Ryse: Son of Rome has some strong points that are appealing, but there are also some serious negatives that hurt the game.
The game is based around combat and the combat starts to get repetitive way too early. The same moves will be repeated countless times and even the unique execution moves will lose their initial appeal.
Another big issue that I have with Ryse is that the Story behind the game does not last very long. The average player will complete the Story mode in around six to eight hours. Even with a cooperative Multiplayer mode, I cannot help but wonder where my $60 went.
The game is over? Already?
Overall, Ryse: Son of Rome is a good teaser to what the Xbox One can do performance-wise and it makes me hopeful for what the future holds. However, the short Campaign and repetitive combat let the game down. For that reason, I have to give Ryse: Son of Rome a six out of ten.
My recommendation is get Ryse: Son of Rome for a price cheaper than the full $60 cost. Wait and see if the holiday season influences some retailers to lower the price of the game and maybe make a decision from there.