Ryse: Son of Rome is a stunning action-adventure that follows Marius Titus on a heroic quest to avenge the death of his family, and preserve the honor of Rome, at all costs.
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Playtime: ~5.5 Hours
It's a shame that this game didn't do as well as Microsoft would've hoped. As one of the premiere launch titles for the Xbox One, I feel like the shoes were just too big. It tells a solid enough story set in Rome, that is brought up by the graphics that are still very impressive. With just a shader and mod to remove the HUD applied, I'd say that it's competitive or more against Assassin's Creed Mirage. The combat is a bit dull for how often you're just facing hordes of enemies, but the execution system is kind of wild. I would've been so interested in what came next for this team, but unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be.
Now roughly a decade later I picked up the game from Steam cheaply &.. It’s a pretty fun time? Admittedly it’s a quite short game (beat it in 6 hours & I’m not a person who breezes through) but it was an enjoyable ride I’d say. It’s still a shockingly gorgeous game despite being like 11-ish years old & the combat is also pretty solid… Which is a relief because going in I had heard it was pretty dull, though it holds up without issue & has enough variation to be interesting + the executions are all quite varied & stylish.
In the context of this as a retail game that originally launched for 60$.... Yeah under those circumstances I’d rate it quite a bit lower, but at a fraction of that nowadays I would give it a recommendation to people who are drawn in by Ryse’s setting or just want to play a solid hack & slash game that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
First off, the game is short, only eight missions, all of which are filled with collectibles and different difficulties which offer some replay-ability. But those missions were of great quality! Not in writing, not in branching paths, but just how cinematic and fun they were! I'm usually a guy that plays top-down RPGs with tons of reading, and could care less about graphics but this game blew me away, years and years after it's release date.
The combat is simple but fun, I don't need complex combat, this game is simple, you hit things, block things, dodge things, execute things. Occasionally you'll shoot things or push things. Of course timing is important and being rewarded with more visually appealing executions, perfect blocks, perfect hits, and etc was a great driving force for me wanting to get better. The executions are all fantastic and you get to do them to literally every enemy you come across, gore and action fans need to play this game for that alone.
The story is not one to write home about, but gripping enough to continue on. As I mentioned earlier, the game is quite short, which makes blasting through it easy, especially when the story is as simple but well done as this game. It's a simple revenge story, but one with surprisingly good voice actors for a game with little emphasis on story. Saying more would be spoilers, but the cut-scenes were engaging enough for me to want to play the next mission, and the voice acting for the main cast were all well done.
Conclusion: This game is just the definition of hack and slash fun in games. It took me back to playing games as a kid, PS2 games where my only goal was to clear a mission of enemies, look for collectibles, and go to the next mission with a change of scenery and new types of enemies to kill. This game is not over-saturated with content or mechanics, it offers what it needs to and what it offers is just pure enjoyment.