As one of the Xbox One’s exclusive marquee titles during launch, Ryse: Son of Rome boasts a heck of a visual experience. Unfortunately, aside from shallow gameplay, that’s all the game has to offer.
What Is It?
When it was first announced at E3 this year, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that Ryse looked quite impressive. People were greeted to what they thought was an awesome cutscene, but it wasn’t only that. It was actually live gameplay.
The demo featured epic swordplay, balls of fire falling from the sky, and lots of enemy soldiers coming at the warrior. However, that was all anybody saw, and in this game, that’s all you’ll ever get.
The game tells the story of Marius, the royal son in a proud race of Romans. However, after the death of his father’s wife as well as other loved ones, Marrius becomes an estranged warrior only out for blood in the hopes of avenging the members of his family.
Why Should I Care?
As unoriginal as the story is, the gameplay is even more shallow.
If you’re expecting anything more than a hack-and-slash, you’ll be sorely disappointed. At the beginning of the game, players will be treated to the game’s straightforward tutorial where they’ll learn how to shove enemies, parry their attacks, attack, and finish them off with deadly semi-QTE strikes. While the limb-chopping and anatomical severing can be quite satisfying, eventually it all becomes old, especially in comparison to games like God of War where this type of violence isn’t only normal, but a lot more varying. God of War is also a lot more fluid. You can mash as fast as you can in Ryse, but Marrius is pretty damn slow in his strikes.
When outside and with other members of the empire, Marrius will also have access to ballistas in addition to the option of commanding his troops. Holding the left bumper and yelling certain commands using Kinect will cause your army to perform actions such as launching a barrage of catapults, to simply charging. The voice feature gives the game a better sense of interactivity, but like the rest of the game it’s quite barren. It makes one think about how much more entertaining the game would be with co-op. It would still be a bare-boned experience, but experiences like these would still benefit from a form of multiplayer.
The game has its share of boss fights, but they’re all fairly uninspired. Since the game makes an effort to sort of portray the days of the Roman empire in a somewhat authentic light, there won’t be any intimidating Greek gods to kill, so there’s nothing to worry about in terms of that.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
As bone dry as the gameplay is, Ryse isn’t necessarily a bad game. It’s still rather enjoyable if you enjoy a hack-and-slash, but it doesn’t offer anything aside from that. Enjoying Ryse is essentially enjoying a movie like Crank or Machete Kills. They’re corny as hell, but they can still be enjoyable if you don’t want to think of pointless features, like plot.
The saying “all flash and no substance” is a lame cliché, but that’s exactly what this game is–a lame cliché that you can finish in just over six hours.
That being said, it’s definitely not worth a full price purchase. $10 seems a lot more like it. Other than that, you’re better off passing and hoping that it becomes a free title for XBL Gold subscribers or something.