There are two standout Xbox One launch titles that showcase what next-gen graphics should look like out of the gate. The first game is Forza 5 and the second game is Ryse: Son of Rome. But graphics aren’t everything. Elements such as gameplay, replay value and innovation matter too. Does Crytek’s Ryse: Son of Rome rise (excuse the pun) above the rest of the Xbox One launch titles or fall short? Read on for our full review.
You are Marius Titus, a Roman general, and you have to lead armies of Romans in battle. When you were a young soldier, you saw your parents get murdered by bandits. Your goal: take revenge against the Briton barbarians as you rise to the top.
Yeah, the story is cheesy and hardly groundbreaking, but what do you expect from a game based in ancient Rome? Ryse is a third-person hack and slash game, and at its best, is trying too hard to be a God of War game.
Combat is extremely repetitive with strikes, counters and dodges that never feel different after the first dozen or so killings. You can link different attacks to create powerful combos, but it’s not necessary to take down enemies in gory fashion.
Finishing moves, which are called “executions” feel almost too easy since all you’re doing is matching a color to the correct button on the controller. And while the bosses do strike faster with more force, but you won’t find yourself sitting on the edge trying to use an execution move on them.
Sure, you can upgrade your stats (health, XP, damage power, etc.), but it’s too simplistic.
Ryse is a short game. It only takes around 6-7 hours to complete the single player campaign. There is a multiplayer co-op mode, but it’s kind of underwhelming as well, since you only get to battle enemies in an enclosed arena.
Around these corners, Crytek is synonymous with graphics. The developer’s previous Crysis games are often used in visual benchmarks to test the limits of gaming PC graphics. So believe us when we say Ryse looks drop-dead gorgeous.
We can sit here and scrutinize how Ryse only runs in 900p instead of full 1080p or how each character model only has around 85,000 polygons instead of the original 150,000 polygons shown in earlier demo builds , but that’d be a waste of time for non-videophiles.
From the realistic fire to water, Ryse strives for hyperrealism and delivers. If you want to look at a pretty game for Xbox One, Ryse is that game.
A big part of Xbox One games is supposed to be Kinect integration (since every console comes with one). Believe it or not, Ryse started out as a Kinect-only game. Naturally, Ryse lets you use voice commands via Kinect to perform certain actions such as shouting commands to throw a fire catapult or making a charging gesture with one arm to move troops to another location. It mostly works, but it just feels tacked on.
Ultimately, Ryse is a visual stunner, but it lacks depth due to repetitive combat and a short single player campaign. The multiplayer is also someone lacking. For a launch title, Ryse is a little overambitious. As with most Crytek games, it’s not much more than a pretty bird. Ryse: Son of Rome retails for $59.
The Good: Great graphics that really show off what the Xbox One is capable of.
The Bad: Repetitive combat. Really short campaign. Dull multiplayer. Tacked on Kinect voice commands.