Ryse: Son of Rome Review
Ryse: Son of Rome Box Art
System: Xbox One
Dev: Crytek
Pub: Microsoft Studios
Release: November 22, 2013
Players: 1 (2 Online Co-op)
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language

Getting away from individual combat, Marius is a General, a leader of men. To this end, you have control of your legion at certain points throughout the game to accomplish objectives. Place archers at an overwatch position or bring them down on the battlefield with you, form a phalanx with your men to deflect enemy arrows as you approach a tower, or call in a volley of arrows from your archers to help you soldiers on the front line. Of course, you can’t access these options at any time, which limits their impact, but the diversity and distraction they create from other types of combat help to keep things as fresh as possible. Actually, the availability of these commands during the entirety of play would have been a welcome addition to the gameplay that could have made this game much more interesting, but unfortunately, this cinematic, story-focused game scales back gameplay to make way for more groundbreaking visuals. Again, this is a shame.

Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot

But it would seem for every point Ryse: Son of Rome gets wrong, it gets another right. The sounds of Ryse are excellent. The audio of a blood-soaked battlefield shines through--screaming men, arrows whipping through the air, the clank of weapons against each other--and the sound of a marching army fill out a soundscape that is teeming with detail. The score is befitting a game of this type, and its orchestral style accentuates story elements far past their immediate value. Commendable voice acting from major characters completes the audio package, giving depth and range to an otherwise shallow story. Although, there were several instances when being approached by a barbarian “boss” of some sort that was supposed to intimidate me, I found myself laughing out loud at the horrendous battle cries that accompanied them. It’s hard to feel any sort of fear when the battle cry of a barbarian elite sounds like a 12-year old pubescent boy. It’s a pockmark on an otherwise pristine soundscape. Just saying.

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At the end of the day, even though I had a good time playing Ryse: Son of Rome, it just didn’t have too much to offer. Sure, it has online multiplayer and a gladiator mode, but these regurgitations of the single-player combat engine still feel repetitive and over-used. The story is shallow but well executed, with next-gen visuals and high-end sound production that make the experience worth having, if only once. I saw a lot of potential in Ryse: Son of Rome. With a little love, I could see a sequel to this game with several playable characters, combat styles, and a more diverse command structure that could seriously take this game to the next level. But for now, it is just a “pretty good game.”

By
Joshua Bruce
Video Director
Date: November 22, 2013

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
5.0
Graphics
Visually stunning.
3.0
Control
Fun at first, but quickly becomes a forced and repetitious chore.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Epic score and soundscape is backed up by solid voice acting, except for some minor side characters.
3.0
Play Value
A fun game for what it is, but lacks substance.
3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Ryse: Son of Rome tells the story of Marius Titus, who witnesses the murder of his family at the hands of barbarians. Seeking revenge, Marius joins the Roman army in Britannia and quickly rises through the ranks to become a General. As his war against the barbarians escalates, his quest unravels: To find his vengeance, he has to return to Rome.
  • New CryENGINE delivers stunning visuals at a scale never before seen on a console. New cloth and hair physics are combined with staggeringly smooth animation to ensure every move you make feels more authentic. Reflections on weapons and armor react to tiny dents and changing light conditions, while the refraction of light through water adds to the sense of realism.
  • Roman warfare is brought to life in vivid, visceral detail, thrusting you into the chaos of close-quarters combat, where you can see the emotion on your opponent's face.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshot - click to enlarge
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