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Hack’n’Slash’ing like a Boss!

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    Ryse: Son of Rome

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Hack’n’Slash’ing like a Boss!

    Ryse Launches on the Xbox One:

    It’s been over a year and a half since the release of the Xbox One and Ryse still stands out as one of the most enjoyable games on the console. For those who just recently purchased an Xbox One and have little awareness of this title, Ryse opened up to overall meh reviews when the console launched. Many in the gaming community quickly decided the game was too redundant and too boring. Regardless, for many of us, Ryse became an instant cult classic with its style of combat and so-satisfying slow-motion executions. Many of those typical complaints are unfair given that the game is on point for the standards of its genre.

    Ryse in a nut shell:

    Imagine if the movies 300 and Gladiator made sweet sweet love and gave birth to a game. That’s Ryse: Son of Rome. Ryse is a hack n slash title that aims to make you feel like a boss from the very beginning all the way through til the end. Most of the game’s criticism, I feel, comes from an audience that doesn’t understand or appreciate the hack n slash genre. I’ve heard many gamers complain that the game and the fighting lacks depth, that after 5 minutes of gameplay you’ve already seen everything the game offers. These types of opinions, while valid to some extent, completely ignore what Ryse is at its core – Hack n Slash. For instance, if I didn’t like racing simulators, I wouldn’t play Forza then complain that the only thing you do in the game is drive. Similarly, if you don’t like hack n slash titles, Ryse won’t likely change your mind about the genre and it’s unfair to trash a game simply because the genre as a whole isn’t for you.

    Expectations for a Hack n Slash:

    The hack n slash genre suffers from being extremely action oriented and consequently getting lumped in with all other action games. So where the average action game features fighting as only one aspect of various things you’ll encounter in a game, a hack n slash title specializes nearly exclusively around the art of hacking your way through mountains of enemies. Let’s put this in terms of food. Your average action game might look like a buffet, offering all kinds of different foods, with all kinds of entrees and even various types of desserts. You aren’t likely to get bored going often because you can always eat something different. But if you love steak, and you crave steak, and steak is the food you want to have on a regular basis, you go to a steakhouse where they specialize in steak. Hack n slash fills this role of providing steak to those who love steak. By its very nature, it’s repetitious, and repetitious in a good way.

    So what are Ryse’s problems:

    Yes, Ryse has its problems and areas for improvement. The game could be longer by offering different storylines and characters. Having the 10 hour Marius storyline coupled with 2 or 3 other different characters and different stories, all about 10 hours long, would make for a 30 or 40 hour single player game while keeping everything fresh with each new character and slight changes in fighting styles between characters. Ryse, however, is a launch title so content is typically and understandably limited. Still, this is an idea I’d love to see implemented in future iterations of the game, IF a sequel is ever made. Another issue this game has is the lack of variety among the way enemies look. You will mow down hundreds of thousands of twins. It doesn’t hurt the fun of the gameplay, but with so much love and time given to the aesthetics of the game and the surroundings, it does make you wonder how so few enemy skin designs made their way into the game. With some more content and maybe a few new tricks with fighting styles in a sequel, the franchise has the potential to churn out some 10/10s in the future.

    Final Thoughts:

    Even for a launch title, Ryse still stands up as one the most exciting games available on the Xbox One. The graphics stand up against, if not outright exceed, any other game currently available on both X1 and PS4. There are few other options, if any, for hack n slash fans to turn to on current systems, and certainly nothing in that genre that exceeds what we’re offered with Ryse. The gameplay itself is excellent, and while I’d love to have additional storylines, I’ve played through the base storyline at least 4 or 5 times and haven’t gotten bored with the game. Primarily because the core of the game is the fighting, and the fighting is excellent. The multiplayer does add an additional layer to what Ryse offers and its overall fun. It can feel a little dry sometimes, like it’s missing something extra, but it offers many additional hours of gameplay for those who won’t want to play through the storyline more than once or twice. If you’re worried whether the game is worth the price with a 10 hour base storyline, I’ll say that it’s definitely worth the investment. You’ll spend way more time with this game than a mere 10 hours, IF you like hack n slash titles. So if your friends or the community as a whole has discouraged you from taking a look at Ryse, I’d encourage you to ignore the rabble and give it a shot. There are few options as it is that’ll deliver an enjoyable hack n slash experience on the current consoles, and certainly none that are on the level of Ryse. Overall, Ryse: Son of Rome earns a 9 out of 10.

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