Remembering Ryse: Son Of Rome
I get lots of stick for liking Ryse: Son of Rome. The hack and slash that showed how good the new gen could look. I can still remember its initial reveal, as a Kinect exclusive. Ryse is still a odd game to look back on. Mainly because I should have hated it.
Seeing that trailer in all its glory, oh my. It looked and sounded beautiful. The action was straight out of 300 (a guilty pleasure of mine). But really, those visuals, they were mind blowing at the time. An early purchase for the Xbox One, I completed in two sittings. I enjoyed Ryse for what it is, but it could have been so much more.
Much like most modern launch titles, Ryse was bogged down creative limitations. It looked amazing, but played pretty basic. The Hack and Slash genre was just coming off a run of fantastic titles. God of War, Bayonetta, DMC: Devil May Cry and Darksiders proved Hack and Slash could be fancy. Ryse discarded depth and scope for looks…but I was (still am) okay with this.
As someone who grew up with a interest in military history, Ryse was something of a treat. Realism might have been missing, but playing as a Roman Legionnaire was fantastic. The Roman army is famed for it’s effectiveness in battle, Ryse used this.
Marching into battle, going toe to toe with the enemy, it was thrilling. Each attack felt heavy and satisfying. Movement felt organic, combat was intense…at least on harder settings. I felt like I was playing as a Legionnaire. The desired effect had been achieved.
Ryse had a number of problems and questionable features. There wasn’t a huge amount to play through, or many combos to master. To make matters worse, micro-tranactions were shoehorned in. Players could instantly unlock every combo with the input of a credit card. It made no sense to include this option. Micro-transactions only severed to cheapen the product.
Style over substance, it’s the best way to describe Ryse. A lack of depth, ambition and content should of meant I disliked the game. Visuals are only ever relevant to the time, gameplay can be timeless, yet I still the game.
It’s amusing that Sony released their own Ryse-like game in the shape of The Order 1886. Both games are fantastic examples of presentation. The two games have fantastic settings, with underwhelming stories. Lack of content and play time is a issue they share.
In the end, Ryse stuttered. Sales were described as disappointing. There was even controversy surrounding fake reviews involving Machinima and Microsoft. It was a ugly end for a beautiful game. Remaining as a personal guilty pleasure, I still remember Ryse fondly.