As one of the premiere exclusives announced for the Xbox One earlier this year, Ryse was met with some considerable push back and scathing comments from gamers and journalists alike for it’s gameplay demo. Crytek took those criticisms and ran with them looking to fix as much as they could in a relatively short amount of time.
Ryse puts players in the control of Marius Titus, who witnesses his family get brutally murdered by a band of Barbarians. In an act of rage and vengeance, he seeks out a role in the Roman Army. Marius’ story unfolds as he quickly rises through the ranks during the bloody conflict with the Barbarian masses. I liked the story. It was a little cliche…OK a lot cliche at times but who cares? If it’s entertaining and makes you want to keep moving on to see what happens next, then it’s effective.
As a premiere launch title for Xbox One, it was important to show off why we need to spend $500 on a new console and Crytek handily proved the Xbox One’s graphical prowess. It’s absolutely GORGEOUS. The environments, lighting and character models are top notch. Every little detail from the water, to the fire to the cracks in the marble columns and floors. Every little detail was painstakingly addressed and it did not go unnoticed by me. I must admit that it didn’t take long for me to notice that there are really just 5 or 6 enemy models which was a little disappointing but forgivable.
The game itself is very much on the rails in that there really is no way you can go from point a to b in one direction. At times, the player is also given command of his army, using voice commands, Marius can call in the archers for support or take a stance with other troops and in a phalanx formation. When fighting the masses, Marius can initiate a bloody and visceral execution to dispatch his enemy once and for all (children need not apply here). This is really where much of the early criticism stemmed from. In early demos, a big colored button popped up on screen in the form of a QTE. These can be rather distracting and really take away from the game – Crytek has righted that wrong by subtly outlining the enemy in a color that directly corresponds to the colors of the controllers face buttons. So really, the QTEs are still there they’re just a little less in your face and it works well.
The saying “K-I-S-S” or “Keep It Simple Stupid” is the mantra of the day when referring to the 2 player cooperative battles in Ryse. It is nothing more than putting the 2 players into an arena or Colosseum to fight out a scenario in front of thousands of blood thirsty Romans. Play through the scenarios, with the love of the crowd and you earn money which can be used to buy “Booster Packs” to outfit your gladiator with. It’s simple, fast and fun. Exactly what the doctor ordered.
I quite enjoyed Ryse: Son of Rome. I liked the single player story enough to play through it twice in short order and have had copious amounts of fun with the multiplayer. Looking forward to going home tonight to sink my teeth into the free DLC that was just released earlier today. This is another must buy title for your Xbox One.
Feed Your Console gives Ryse: Son of Rome an 8.5 out of 10