Does it Ryse Above the Hype? RYSE: Son of Rome Review
We’ve hit a new generation, along with the slough of new games for our itchy gaming nubs to play--and now we finally have come to the point where we can play these beautiful works of art. Whether you are a fan of Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s Playstation or Nintendo with the Wii U (but again I’m talking about NEXT generation... harsh, but I had to), they all have games that stick to us and have us lost in their beautiful worlds or captivating stories.
Over the holiday, I have been able to get my hands on my very own Xbox One and have picked up Dead Rising 3 (which I will have a review on later) and Battlefield 4. There has been one game that very much caught my eye last year at E3. That game was Ryse: Son of Rome.
A friend of mine happened to have it, so I borrowed it from him (insert DRM joke here). I have played it fully through and even played the multiplayer for a good amount of time. Yes, I have seen and read reviews of this game written by other gaming journalism outlets, and I have definitely seen them bash this game for its lackluster combat and very short story.
Those two things are something I will mention in this review, but let me say this right now: Ryse: Son of Rome isn’t totally bad. Here is my review of Microsoft’s attempt at launching possibly what could be the next exclusive franchise for their gaming/entertainment console.
(This review is 100% Spoiler free)
Surprisingly Great (But So Short) Story with Superb Voice Acting
When I was told about Ryse when I was watching E3, all I got from it was “this game is going to look amazing.” So that’s how I went into this. I wasn’t expecting to be captivated by the story of this launch title.
Honestly, I was glad I didn’t go in expecting a good story because when the story came, it hit me hard. You take the role as Marius Titus, a young Roman soldier who, when we first meet him, is defending against a barbarian onslaught along with his troops. Marius then takes the emperor of Rome and is guided to a secret chamber, where they will be isolated from battle and fully protected. While in this chamber, Marius begins to discuss his past with Emperor Nero, and thus begins the events that happened prior to the barbarian invasion.
Now, for the sake of keeping this review spoiler-free, I won’t go into detail of what events happen and who is killed, blah, blah, blah. I will say that this story was, next to its visuals, Ryse’s strongest suit. I loved how the story was told, in which it's told in stone carvings in some points of the game. These stone carvings actually mean something as the game progresses--just letting you know if you plan to get it. Also, the story is told with some of the best voice acting I’ve heard in a videogame in recent years. Every major cutscene left me literally saying, “Wow that was amazing.”
Ryse’s story is no where near a long one, though. One could actually beat it in one gaming session. I completed the game in about 4 hours… Yeah, that short. I would have loved to see the game go on a lot longer, and I really do feel that if Crytek wanted to make this an amazing launch title, they could’ve at least had a few more hours in.
The length of the campaign was one of the big disappointments this game brought, which, in all honestly, doesn’t make it worth the full $60 price. With its length, the story and voice acting leave you wanting more; the problem is that with all this hype we expected… well, you know… more.
Rome is Burning and Damn, It Looks Good.
I’m going to be honest; I was dying to see what this game was going to look like on my TV. I even bought a new HDTV when I got my One so I was super excited to see how any game would look. Microsoft told us to expect to be blown away by what the Xbox One can do graphically, and holy s**t was I blown away when I saw this game play.
The beginning cutscene plays, and then you’re right into the game. I thought I was still in the cutscene when the game started to let me control Marius, until I realized I could move. I was constantly stopping to look at my surroundings and just marvel at how far video games have come. We came from 8-bit to this:
Ryse: Son of Rome is the perfect game for Microsoft to brag about how good the Xbox One can make games look. Visuals, I would give 11/10.
X, X, Y, X, X, RT (B, Sometimes)
The title of this section is the only spoiler this review will have, because I’ve just shown you the buttons, in the exact order, you will need to press to beat every enemy in this game.
I’m exaggerating a bit, but seriously, I’ve pressed those same buttons in the order so many times that I knew I had to write it in this review.
The combat is another HUGE, and I mean HUGE, disappointment in this game. Ryse was getting a bad wrap when it was demoed at E3, and showed us a good amount of button sequences that left us like “…QTEs? You sure this is next-gen?” Crytek announced that the quick-time events would be cut down in the released game, but I honestly didn’t feel a difference from what I saw being tested. RT to execute, and about 3-5 times you either had to press X or Y, which is indicated by the enemy being highlighted in the color of the buttons needed to be pressed.
Along with the very lackluster combat came a lack of different enemies. There were about 4 different types of enemies: Regular soldiers, shielded soldiers, dual wielders, and Tall strong enemies. The combo still applied for all of these enemies. If you have to take out each kind of enemy in a videogame the SAME EXACT WAY with no variation whatsoever, there’s a big problem.
Ryse did use the Kinect 2.0 for its gameplay, with the player being able to shout commands when prompted to aid him in battle. Due to Kinect’s voice recognition, I barely had trouble getting my voice heard. I would say 8 times out of 10, it heard me and activated the command.
If for some reason you were gaming during the night and don’t want to wake others in the house (or not wanting to sound crazy), the player has the option to just press the left bumper (LB) on the controller, which is pretty convenient also.
Multiplayer: A Nice Treat
Not much to say about multiplayer other than with a partner, it is very fun. There are maps or playlists you can work together in to get certain objectives done, whether it be done separately or done cooperatively whilst battling hordes of enemies of different types. You gain XP and money to level up and buy upgrades and clothing to further protect your soldier. If you want to upgrade your soldier faster, there’s always the ability to purchase in-game gold with the in-game microtransaction’s available from the Xbox One marketplace along with in-game costumes. I personally bought the Damocles outfit because it looks so damn awesome.
RYSE: Son of Rome is a greatly written and amazingly designed game that had so much potential, but was dragged down due to its laughably short campaign and very uninvolving combat system. I want there to be a sequel of this game because if Crytek can fix everything wrong (and when it comes to involving gameplay there is a lot wrong), Ryse could be a truly amazing title for Microsoft to have under their belts.
Dre's Recommended Price Point For (RYSE: Son of Rome) : $30-$35.
Wait for a price drop if you're in no rush to get either this game or an Xbox One entirely. The story, acting, and visuals hold it up, but the gameplay weighs it down hard. Defintiely not worth the 60 bones for it now.
Thanks guys for reading my first review of Ryse: Son of Rome! Feedback is definitely deeply appreciated!