It is time to ryse (rise) and be the son of Rome! Bad pun? Ok, got it. Duly noted for next time. Ryse: Son of Rome is a third-person action and adventure game developed in a hack-and-slash style of game. You play as a Roman soldier – Marius Titus – who quickly works his way up the ranks in the Roman military on a mission to seek out revenge for the death of his family. As you progress through the story, slaying barbarians, you quickly realize that there is more than meets the eye (reference to the new Transformers movie coming out June 2017). So, how did Ryse: Son of Rome perform when put through the gauntlet of a Tasty Nades review? Let’s find out!
Blue Ball Score: 21 out of 25 balls
The gameplay was ridiculous; And not in the bad way. In general, it reminded me of the first Assassin Creed games. Let’s begin by talking about the controls. The controls were quite simple. You had a few different forms of combat, such as: Quick attacks, heavy attacks, dodging, ranged attacks, etc. The way that Crytek integrated this flexible combat system was perfect, clean, and simple. There were plenty of approaches you could take in combat (as you may have guessed), but there was one single, fundamental concept under all of it – Timing. This game was very reminiscent of the early Assassin’s Creed games in this sense. You could be engaged in combat with 5-10 enemies surrounding you, but if you countered their attacks at the right time you could setup some nasty combos. As soon as you thought you had the timing nailed down, the game always presented a new challenge to keep it spicy. We will get into that later.
What about the overall feel of the game, Tasty? The general mechanics of the game felt pretty realistic. Of course, I have never engaged in combat with barbarians wearing Roman armor and wielding a sword and shield, but if I did, I would imagine it would be something like this game portrayed. When you got hit with a big ass barbarian club, you flinched for a good second or two. When you were fighting people that had shields, you had to use a ‘breaking’ attack first to break their guard, and then you could attack them. This realistic combat made for some very interesting combat scenes you will notice as you are watching our gameplay videos.
Finally, the game itself offered a very small upgrading system. Although it may not offer the level of customizations that current gamers demand, it did offer a little bit. Above all, I appreciated the simplicity of it. You could upgrade the number of health bars you had, the ‘size’ of the health bars, how much experience points you earned, etc. You couldn’t customize the color of outer trim on your shield or the color of your helmet, but at the end of the day who cares? I just want to slay some barbarians is all. We will talk about the multiplayer customizations later in the ‘Online Experience’ section.
For these reasons, I give the gameplay a 4/5 balls.
Anyway, moving on past my soap, Ryse: Son of Rome does NOT do this. This game is mostly focused and built upon the campaign. As mentioned above, the plot of the game at its core, is quite simple; You are a Roman soldier seeking revenge for your recently-slaughtered family. Sounds cliché, right? Wrong.
The campaign has several twists and turns in its plot. Now, admittedly, I have only made it through about half of the campaign so I don’t know all of them, but in the small amount of time I have played this game, there are several plot twists. As the game progresses, you begin to realize that the truth may not be what it seems. SPOILER ALERT!!! You come to the realization that maybe the barbarians did not slay your family. Who was it? I guess you will just have to play the game to find out. Perhaps the Emperor is not as genuine as he portrays himself to be? Ok, I am done with the spoilers now.
Along with its plot, Ryse: Son of Rome also does a remarkable job of developing your character. When the game first starts and you watch your family get slaughtered, Marius is filled with rage. He is ready to slay entire villages of barbarians. So, he quickly works his way up the ranks in the Roman army and fights as a leader. But, as the story goes on and the truth begins to reveal itself, Marius begins to have a change of heart. Are capturing barbarians really the right thing to do? Is Rome and the Emperor the ‘good guy’ in all of this?
Finally, I want to make a special mention of the side objectives in this game. Like Assassin’s Creed (the infamous feathers), Ryse: Son of Rome hides collectibles throughout the game. These collectibles help provide additional insight into the game itself and add a nice little touch while also encouraging exploration of the world and maps.
In conclusion, the campaign was fundamentally solid. It possessed all the necessary elements to keep a campaign/plot interesting and exciting. For these reasons, it gets a perfect 5/5 balls.
The multiplayer was… nice. It wasn’t anything super flashy or fancy, but it provided a pleasant change of pace from the campaign. As I mentioned above, this game is built with the campaign and plot being the primary focus. So, the multiplayer did its job by being a solid compliment to the campaign.
The multiplayer offers a few different modes, but they are fundamentally the same. You are a gladiator fighting to survive in the Colosseum. You play with another player as you both work together towards the same goal(s). Each ‘match’ is split up into rounds and a round can consist of a few objectives throughout it. With each round, enemies get increasingly harder and harder.
The multiplayer’s customization system is also quite simple. You can purchase booster packs with gold that you earn from the multiplayer and these booster packs can give you upgraded armor, weapons, and potions to boost your stats in combat. And, of course, you have a rank in multiplayer that you can raise by winning rounds and matches in the Colosseum.
Finally, you can even venture off into the multiplayer solo (if that makes any sense). So, if you are a lone wolf that doesn’t like playing with other gamers because they are always terrible, then this game allows you to experience these multiplayer modes without having to always be paired up with another player.
In conclusion, the multiplayer is nothing fancy or extravagant. It is pretty basic, but serves as a nice compliment to the campaign. If you get bored or tired of the campaign, then you can hop on over to the multiplayer to change things up a bit; Survival is key. And, although the customization system may not be up to the modern-day standards, it is simple and easy to understand. For these reasons, I give it a 3/5 balls.
The graphics were awesome. When I saw the engine this game is built on is CryEngine, that made me extremely excited. There were moments when the graphics weren’t so hot. For example, a tree would just have a general outline rather than that crisp detail I always yearn for. Or, the graphics would be pixelated at times. But, overall, the graphics were very nice and detailed. When the wind blew, the trees and bushes moved in a realistic manner. Also, the environment reacted to your movements. Finally, the blood and gore was much appreciated. Every execution made sure to highlight the blade diving into your enemy’s body, the blood shooting out, and Crytek made sure to include some dismemberment executions too. Crytek did a remarkable job of accurately portraying the graphical Roman combat.
The audio was phenomenal. The soundtrack was epic and suited the Roman empire mentality. The sound effects, such as: swords penetrating the body, swords hitting shields, the wind blowing, soldiers feet moving in perfect unison, etc. All of it sounded like heaven. Character audio? The character’s voices were just as epic as the soundtrack.
So, Ryse: Son of Rome had some minor graphics issues, but the graphics and sound were perfect besides that. For these reasons, I give it a 4/5 balls.
Audience appeal is always something I consider when playing any game. Does this game appeal to a broad audience, or does it take a special type of someone to play it? There are several factors that play into this type of question, so let’s dive right in it.
Ryse: Son of Rome has a broad audience appeal. This is not the type of game where you must sink half of your life into to really enjoy playing this game. Some games have a steep learning curve that require you to thoroughly understand the game to have fun and do well. And, by ‘thorough understanding’ I mean require you to play a $%@# ton of hours. I won’t name games here, but you know the ones I am talking about. *Cough Skyrim*.
Now, one drawback to this type of “broad” game is that it can get boring. If it is too generic and too broad, then today’s gamers with severe cases of ADHD will not be entertained by it. Are you not entertained!? (Another movie reference). But, this game always leaves you wanting more. The plot and story keeps twisting and turning leaving you wanting to find out what happens next!
The simple gameplay may sound like it would get redundant and boring, but right when you get comfortable and confident, the game challenges you a little bit more. As mentioned earlier, the campaign also encourages you to explore the maps just a little bit more to obtain those collectibles.
Finally, the multiplayer adds a nice finishing touch to change things up a bit. If you were getting tired of the campaign, you could jump in the Colosseum with a friend to test your hand at Gladiator Survival 101.
Therefore, this game has a broad audience appeal due to its simplicity, but it also keeps the gamer wanting to play more and more through a variety of factors, including: plot twists, character development, beautifully crafted campaign, and a nice complimenting multiplayer. For these reasons, Ryse: Son of Rome receives a perfect 5/5 balls for the Hot Topic.
In grand conclusion, Ryse: Son of Rome is a must-buy. It was one of Xbox’s free games of the month for the month of May and I couldn’t have picked a better game. In today’s current gaming world, it is always a challenge to make a good ‘campaign-focused’ game, but Crytek did a remarkable job with this game. It took me back to my days of playing the first Assassin Creed games and that alone is enough to make me hard. The plot is always twisting and turning, the characters are always developing, and the campaign always challenges you. The multiplayer provides a pleasant change of pace to the game and perfectly complements the campaign. The graphics were solid and the audio was phenomenal. If you are looking for a game that you can quickly pick up, understand, and play for quite a while, then Ryse: Son of Rome is the game for you. Grand total? 21/25 balls.