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Misunderstood, but still loved by many.

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    Ryse: Son of Rome

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding

    Misunderstood, but still loved by many.

    Ryse is a game made by Crytek for the Xbox One. It takes place in Rome, and the story focuses on a Roman Centurian named Marius.

    Story: This is what really surprised me about the game. I actually really came to enjoy the story. If you are a history buff, you may find yourself rolling your eyes at how little attention to detail was paid in that aspect, however; the actual plot regarding betrayal and how the Gods view humans is done in a very interesting way.

    The characters themselves come across as pretty cliche. However, the facial animations and superb voice acting brought the characters to life. A good example is the Emperor’s son, Basillius. Just from his dialogue and facial expressions, the guy has this feeling of being a really convincing arrogant man.

    Gameplay: The gameplay of Rome is very similar to that of last gen’s Batman games, as well as Sleeping Dogs. It doesn’t venture too far from that. Most of the game, you will be going from point A to point B, slaughtering enemies and dealing painful looking executions. The pacing is broken up with segments like controlling troops towards enemy archers, shielding each other, and then throwing spears to dispose of them. Other segments have you man a weapon and fire at enemies.

    This feels like one of those games that can cater to someone who is mediocre at video games, to someone who likes to challenge themselves.

    While you are doing this, you are earning experience to unlock executions and other upgrades. It will transfer over to the MP, which is what I will be talking about soon. The idea of the game is to become really good at performing high combos. That means not getting hit. If you’re not good at this, you can easily beat the game and call it a night. However, keeping combos going can become quite addictive.

    The executions themselves serve a purpose towards your combo meter. If you press the correct button fast enough, you get a legendary hit, which adds 3 points to your combo. Take a little longer, you will receive a centurion hit rating, meaning 2. Soldiers is 1, and recruit gives you nothing. So if you press the wrong button, it will not hurt or help you combo. On top of this, you have 4 powers you can equip on the fly.

    The 4 powers include focus: You have a meter that fills, and when you press right bumper, time slows down and Marius is able to slice floes at a fast rate, wracking up the combo score. One is for health regeneration. One is to do extra damage output, and the last is to get extra experience. These all rely on how well you perform an execution in order to see the best results. For instance, if you are low on health, you may want to get some legendary hits on executions so that you may restore more health. Another thing worth noting, every power has their own set of executions to unlock.

    In the campaign you will go through varied and interesting places. Without ruining the story, I will not include all. You will see lush environments where you will kill barbarians, and you will be a part of large scale battles.

    There are segments where you can use the xbox one’s kinect to call on archers to fire. Otherwise, you can hold down the left bumper and it takes a little longer. Overall, I do not feel impressed by how this game was implemented with the kinect.

    One thing I appreciate in gory games, whether they are shooters or brawlers, is bodies not vanishing immediately. Bodies do disappear, but it’s hard to tell unless you are really looking for it. Every time you finish an area, there will be bodies on the floor to show your work with the sword and shield.

    The combat is really complimented by Xbox One’s controller. When you do an execution, there is something truly satisfying with how the controller feels. When you stomp someone’s face in or finish an enemy off with a shield, the controller seems to capture the feeling very well.


    The multiplayer has you starting off as a gladiator in a co-op arena. There are only 3 solo arenas at the time of writing this review. The goal here is to level up and reach the highest tier to equip the best items. On co-op, you select a God(It’s just one of the four powers I mentioned earlier), and your teammate selects one as well. The one you choose will give you the same powers, so you can run with focus and it actually helps your teammate, so getting good executions is ideal here. I found that this game mode can be quite addictive. You can also purchase skins if you are unhappy with the default gladiator look, and you can purchase in game currency to buy items. It is a waste of money as you can just save up until you are tier 3 or 4 and buy a pack, which contains random equipment.

    The arenas themselves look pretty impressive, with each arena usually having 3 sections. It is interesting to see the arenas change right in front of you. You are usually given a simple objective like take down the archers, hold ground, or go after an enemy that will run away. One cool thing about this is that there is a narrator that speaks every time you complete an objective, making you further feel like you’re in a gladiatorial arena, sent to entertain a large crowd.

    One tip that is very important. When trying to rack high combos, when there are no enemies around, make sure to press left bumper. This will cause your gladiator to shout out at the crowd, but more importantly, it keeps your combo locked.

    Graphics: I will leave this brief because there isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said. The game looks amazing and is easily the best looking game on Xbox One as of now. The character models are fantastic, the way the lighting reflects the armor just makes the game look more photo realistic. One thing that is worth noting is how well the fire actually looks in this game. Overall, this is the best looking launch game on the x-box one, and it shows a bright future for the console.

    - If you are looking for a gritty brawler, this is your game.
    - Very easy to just pick up and play.
    - Unlike every other launch game, there is nothing else past gen that is like it.
    - Very good story with convincing characters and great voice acting.
    - A large amount of executions
    - The variety of multiplayer arena modes, and the entertainment of it
    - Graphics

    - The game does not offer enough variety outside of the core dicing people up.
    - The diversion between fighting are segments that are alright.
    - Unfortunately, this game fails to really capture why a kinect is needed.

    This is a game I would definitely give a chance. If you are not a fan of brawlers, this one may not convince you. However, it is a game to be experienced at least once. It offers a solid single player story, and a really enjoyable on-line mode. The setting of this game is really great. If you love sword and board action movies, this is a must get.

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