ByTim Horton, writer at
Business Development Manager at Universally Speaking. @TimHortonGame | Email: [email protected]
Tim Horton

Wow! Ryse Son of Rome is a brutal, palm sweaty, hands on approach to the classic third person action title. The interactive, dynamic storyline and breathtaking detail is certainly a testament to the next gen capabilities of the Xbox One allowing for box office worthy cinematic sequencing and the capability of truly immersive gameplay.

Our story begins at the end, as emperor Nero is bundled into a secret vault at the heart of the palace by our capable hero Marius Titus. After some ambiguous dialog between Nero and Marius it soon becomes apparent that Nero fears not the barbarian horde that at this point ravage his glorious city but fears a darker (unbeknown to us at this point) invisible enemy. It is at this point that Marius begins his chronological portrayal of events and through this interaction with Emperor Nero that we find Rome under siege and the Emperor pleading for salvation. Cue the fresh faced newly commissioned Marius and yes, his ill fated family.

Before we reproduce another five page essay and Ryse is critiqued scene by scene please rest assured that this is not the type of review we do here. Enough reviews have been done for me not to have to go into great depth in regard to the storyline plus this games playability is amplified tenfold if played completely blind and free of plot spoilers.

The story itself is compelling, I found myself updating other Gamertag team members upon the latest in Marius’s adventures with every tea and biscuit break. I especially loved the introduction of Damocles, the spirit of vengeance embodied by a black armoured centurion seeking nothing but death to all that wronged him and how this developed and integrated itself into the story.

How well is the combat system ‘executed’

I had hopes for a combat style that was similar to the tried and tested system used in the Assassins Creed series and although similar it is was probably more limited by way of evolution but was aesthetically streaks ahead. Let me explain, in terms of block, parry, push and attack there is no real difference but what Ryse does well is to integrate various ‘power attack moves’ and a healthy variety of out of this world detailed assassination moves.

The assassination moves are there not only to provide an entertaining bad guy takedown but timed correctly act as your perk bonus and health re-gen systems, health for example is not picked up along the way in conveniently placed (post boss) locations but you must perform your ‘execute’ moves to earn the health points, a feature I actually love. (Most of the time, Killers of Carthage!)

Anyway, referring back to the evolution of combat sequencing in Ryse, here is where it shows a chink in its (beautifully detailed) armour, these combat systems as a rule must evolve with a players game progression this can be done through weapon upgrades, new weapons or new abilities inevitably resulting in new takedowns, new cinematics and most importantly extending the ability to express a players individuality.

Ryse kinda gives away the farm form the start by allowing the player to complete and implement almost all of the combat moves and ‘executions’ from your first engagements. As awesome as it is you will find as the game progresses and the expected new hand held weapons don’t appear it can become a monotonous affair to wade through horde after horde with no new takedowns.

I say ‘can’, personally I didn’t mind too much, as the storyline kept me hooked, combine that with the beauty of the surrounding landscapes and environments, it was almost to be confused with that of a product of Hollywood and I was the hero which in my opinion should be the whole ethos of gaming. Till now we went to the movies to escape our reality and enter an alternate world living vicariously through usually over muscular men with dodgy accents. Now with this new generation of gaming titles and consoles we ourselves have become the protagonist (without the accent) within games like this that play out like movies. We are the hero.

Wow! Ryse Son of Rome is a brutal, palm sweaty, hands on approach to the classic third person action title. The interactive, dynamic storyline and breathtaking detail is certainly a testament to the next gen capabilities of the Xbox One allowing for box office worthy cinematic sequencing and the capability of truly immersive gameplay.

Ryse takes you amongst the tranquil vistas of Rome to the pillaged ghostly hallows of Briton and the dense animalistic lands of the unknown beyond the northern walls, there is honestly never a dull second.Ryse allows the player to implement the use of the kinect on Xbox One which provided a welcome and rather cool feature, it allows you to order your soldiers with voice commands, allowing for a hands free command system to be used in situations where thumbs are otherwise engaged. A darn awesome trick in my book and yet again I found myself calling in passing members of the team to show off my new trick.

Speaking of voice commands – The voice actors involved in the production of Ryse get a special shout out as they are all truly in tune with their characters and characters actions and emotions on screen. Marius himself played by John Hopkins is absolutely excellent; Hopkins is able to express undeniable authority as the voice of Marius.

So, I suppose I better sum up. From start to finish I thoroughly enjoyed one of the latest releases from Crytek and Microsoft Studios, a story of revenge, betrayal and even some divine intervention thrown into the mix lends itself to be a definite winner with us and a prime example of what the Xbox one is capable of. I believe this is the benchmark now for all next gen titles. If it’s adventure you want then Ryse: Son of Rome will deliver exactly that.

Campaign score: 7/10 – “Visceral brilliance “

Multiplayer is Co-op

Prepare to step into the iconic Colosseum of ancient Rome in “Ryse: Son of Rome’s” Gladiator mode and forge your destiny in blood and steel. However, your career in the arena will not end once fame and glory have been achieved upon the sands.

Plunging you into the brutal world of gladiatorial combat, Gladiator Mode lets you relive the intense and brutal battles of the Colosseum as you fight cooperatively with your friends against an ever-changing array of enemies to the roar of thousands of spectators. In Rome, the Colosseum was the heart and soul of the city; in “Ryse: Son of Rome,” it becomes the stage where you’ll forge your path to glory as a fearless gladiator.

So basically you will be able to create your own hero, separate from Marius, for use in the Gladiator mode. Gladiator mode will include both solo and co-op gameplay and include 12 maps initially upon release.The coliseum isn't just about surviving, it's about entertaining the crowd. As you fight, the crowd will cheer as you kill enemies using one of the arenas deadly environmental hazards or even perform cooperative execution moves on your enemies.

Multiplayer score - 4/10 "Fun but limited"


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