Launch titles for any console can be hit or miss – they mostly miss. Ryse: Son of Rome received a lot of criticism for repetitive and scripted gameplay. But who cares, watching this beautiful game in action is never boring!
It goes without saying that Crytek has created another graphical masterpiece. Although this one isn’t named Crysis, it’s Ryse: Son of Rome. Crytek escaped the jungle theme to enter intricate Rome architecture. Everyone is used to what ancient Rome looks like, so at first glance a gamer may ignore Ryse’s environment. Although upon closer inspection, Crytek took time to recreate ancient Rome, and they nailed it. Crytek also nailed a heavily detailed army of NPCs, even though a lot of twins and triplets exist, the sheer volume of NPCs creates the feeling of an all-out war.
Quick-Time Events (QTE) are the norm throughout Ryse. Some people truly dislike QTEs, but I don’t have a problem with them. Even though Ryse instructs you to press a specific key at a specific time, it doesn’t make the game totally monotonous. There are plenty of animations to keep a fresh twist on random key presses, and even the ones you see more than others never get old. There’s something really satisfying about finishing off a series of barbarians in over-glorified QTEs.
Once in a QTE, you can’t do anything wrong, even if you press an incorrect key. Although getting to a QTE isn’t always easy, especially later on in the game. Enemies are varied, and some can cause you grief if you try to cruise through. Enemies will easily gang up on you, and keeping combos going can be the life or death of you. (EDIT THIS NEXT PART) There are multiple perks you can pick, and each combo you successful execute gives you that perk. Some perks allow you to regenerate health, others make you stronger, or give you a better shield. Without hitting your perks at the right time, Ryse can be quite difficult. You’ll definitely need a decent strategy to be a great ancient Roman warrior.
If you’ve ever seen Spartacus or Gladiator, you’ll feel right at home in Ryse’s online. You and one other gamer play cooperatively to dominate a series of barbarians in an arena. It’s invigorating to hear the crowd chanting when you start to do well. I can’t think of any other game that provides this type of feeling. Also, online arenas change from one landscape to another. Each arena is designed to represent one section of story mode. Each story mode section has multiple environments, so as warriors, you and your partner must fight through each environment without dying. It’s like the ultimate horde mode for gladiators.
Story & Flow
Crytek keeps the story moving, interesting, and motivating. You always want to get to the next part to see what happens. What’s better is once you’re playing, there are ZERO loading screens. There’s nothing to take you out of the moment other than dying. The last time I enjoyed a story mode as much was either Enslaved: Odyssey To The West or Dante’s Inferno. Both stories kept me engaged as did Ryse’s.
A lot of people might skip Ryse: Son of Rome because they either didn’t have an Xbox One at launch, or they’ll be turned off by negative reviews. Let me assure you that Ryse is a defining game of this generation. While it isn’t a perfect masterpiece, Ryse: Son of Rome is a ray of hope in a dismal crowd.