Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One)

Ancient Rome never looked this good

Microsoft Ryse: Son of Rome
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5


  • Highly impressive graphics
  • Solid combat mechanic


  • Quick time based executions
  • Limited overall scale

Bottom Line

Ryse: Son of Rome brings with it enough visual pizzazz to impress anyone, though what you see is pretty much what you get.

Would you buy this?

Developer Crytek may have made a name for itself for fast paced and impressive looking first-person shooters, but with Ryse: Son of Rome it experiments with the third-person action genre. Arriving in time for the Xbox One launch, Ryse is also a platform exclusive that aims to prove a lot.

Solider and executioner

Playing as the Roman soldier Marius Titus, you track his story from early childhood to the man he becomes in the Roman army. The story is mostly played out in flashbacks, which are reasonably well paced and tell a story of Rome in strife and the need for a new leader to rise up.

The Roman setting has been used extensively in strategy games such as the Total War series, but not really in action-based games. For that reason, the setting and characters in Ryse provide a breath of fresh air from the modern day and sci-fi settings commonly found in the genre.

Combat forms a major part of the game experience, where you wear the enemy down with various sword attacks and defend yourself with a shield. However, once the enemy has been beaten into submission, you are presented with a prompt to carry out an execution.

When the execution is activated, Marius will automatically kill the enemy through a variety of grizzly animations. Ryse comes with almost 100 ways to execute enemies, ensuring that there is enough variety in the way enemies are dispatched during the course of the single-player campaign.

The only interactivity during executions is limited to inputting commands based on prompts during the manoeuvre. Although this has a tendency to slow down the gameplay, Ryse does it differently by encouraging you to watch Marius’ movements and input commands based on that instead of merely reacting to on-screen prompts.

Standout graphics

Crytek’s past titles have been visual showcases that have pushed modern hardware, and the graphics of Ryse also immediately stand out. The character models and environments are highly detailed, and the frame rate runs at a steady clip throughout.

The game makes heavy use of close-ups, particularly during executions, but even then the graphics continue to impress. This attention to detail really enables Ryse to stand out as a next generation title that would simply not look as good on an Xbox 360.

While Ryse provides a blood-drenched adventure through the Roman empire, it’s smaller scale may be at odds to what gamers have come to expect from titles such as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Ryse does not deviate too much from its core as an action-based third-person title, so you may find the experience a bit monotonic as it starts to reach its conclusion.

Ryse impresses immediately with its cutting edge graphics and satisfying combat system, but it does not go too far out of its way to present anything new or groundbreaking. What it does demonstrate is significant promise, something that a potential sequel will be able to expand upon in the future.

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