Ryse: Son of Rome for Xbox One falls short of expectations

Ryse: Son of Rome for Xbox One falls short of expectations

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By Conor Higgins

ROCKVILLE, MD January 8, 2014 — Xbox One is out, and with it a few games. One would think that with such a momentous and highly competitive launch in conjunction with Playstation 4, it would be in their best interest to have more than ten or twelve games lined up for players. And while these words are not meant to mock or chastise Microsoft, because that would quite literally be meaningless, from a consumer standpoint it is a little disappointing to see that more games will not be forthcoming until the Spring and the Summer, and of course next Christmas. However one title that was released to coincide with the game launch, was Ryse: Son of Rome.

Ryse: Son of Rome from Microsoft Studios and developed by Crytek, follows the story of Roman soldier Marius Titus and his quest for vengeance and his rise to the rank of Roman general. It has mind blowing graphics, an in depth and well done story line, and shows a lot of potential for what the system can do.

But that’s about it, it shows a lot of potential.

The game is a fighting game, it’s action and violence is what draws people to it. It attempts to blend the grand strategy of something like the Total War series PC games, and the Playstation exclusive God of War series. It advertises that you can command your men and fight with Kinect, but it adds very little to the game in terms of just about anything.

There are two main drawbacks to this game, which to me personally rendered the game boring to the realm of unplayable.

While the story line was brilliantly done, it oversaturated the gameplay. This game was purchased to fight and play the game, not to watch Microsoft Studios attempt to create a film/video game hybrid which would have resembled The Eagle II. There are long, long video clips of the storyline which almost immediately lose my attention, and there is no way around them you have to sit there and watch or drink a beer while you do nothing for several minutes. My advice is you want to play this game, is have a movie playing or something else because the game comes with down time.

The other main drawback, and the aspect of the game which most people have identified as the biggest flaw in the game, is the combat. It is repetitive, completely repetitive. It is more repetitive than how many times I have written repetitive. Shield bash, shield push, hack, slash, done. There are some combo moves in there, there are ways to upgrade your armor and your health but it’s just so…tedious. The funny thing is that the fighting style is fairly historically accurate; bash, hack, slash was how the Romans conquered their empire. But the way the implemented the fighting style into the game was poorly done, and it just seems like a failed attempt to mimic God of War.

As a disclaimer, I am a big fan of open world, sand box games, and this particular title is anything but that. You are pushed along a linear path from story scene to story scene while you hack and slash “barbarians” who apparently invaded Rome under Nero to win the vengeance you so desire. The truth is after fighting for so long against the barbarians, and after the millionth video cut-away, I started to wonder when they were going to make a game where I can sack Rome as a barbarian instead of having to defend it.

If you like linear games with solid (repetitive) combat and a deeply developed story that seems to sap away from the gameplay, Ryse: Son of Rome is for you. Personally? I think it was a nice try, and speaks well of what is to come. If we could see a game that uses Kinect to meld real time strategy and combat into the same game

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