Ryse, Son of Rome: A Review

Okay, so I’m late to the party on this one. Ryse, Son of Rome is a launch title for the Xbox One, and it shows. While that may sound like damning with faint praise, it’s also not a terrible thing. Let’s go over the basics.

You take on the role of Marius, a general in the Roman legions during Emperor Nero’s time. The story is set during the siege of Rome by an army of barbarians, and it’s a huge fight. The tutorial, what little is needed, is quick, easy, and very explicit. While you may not remember every eventual combination of buttons to perform maneuvers, it’s pretty easy to button-mash your way to victory in the first chapter. The whole first chapter is really a prologue, where you get to rescue the emperor and get him to the safety of a Roman-era panic room. Once there, Marius begins to recount to the porcine Nero how everything happened, specifically why there are a freaking bazillion barbarians at the gate, and why they’re baying for Nero’s blood.

This story is told in a flashback, and though that’s kind of a cliché way of going about a game, it works rather well. The cutscenes flesh out the story between chapters, not too long as to bore the player, but not too short as to leave you wondering just why Marius is bringing up Nero’s sons, or who this Damocles guy is.

On a side-note, the usage of the Roman gods was rather inspired in Ryse, and really got me back to writing my own books. My dozens of fans are still after me to finish book four, and I’ll have it done soonish, dammit! Anyway, back to the review.

There are a great many twists and turns, the story showing the beginning of the end for the great Roman empire in rather excruciating detail. Voice-acting is top-notch, with no noticeable issue. The controls are surprisingly good. I only say surprising because this is a launch title, and even though the One controller is little-changed from the 360 controller, you’d expect some deficiency in a launch title’s controls. I found none, which definitely helped me enjoy Ryse all the more.

Another side-note: Why Ryse? Spelling a word differently but sounding the same is something that I thought went out in the 90’s with Mortal Kombat. Apparently, I was wrong. The name would have worked better just being Rise, Son of Rome. Sorry. Pet peeve.

Anyway, I enjoyed Ryse, although it was a bit too short. The ending, while satisfying, came all too quickly, and I wanted more story. The multiplayer aspect is pretty good, from what I heard. I didn’t try it, as I’m not one for swordfighting multiplayer, and the idea really didn’t grab me.

All in all, Ryse, Son of Rome was pretty good. It is, however, a rental, in my opinion. The story mode can be beaten in a day, and it’s unlikely anyone will play the multiplayer longer than it takes to cap out their level. I recommend it if you’re looking for a rental with a good story. Buying it? Nah. Save your money for Titanfall,which drops this coming Tuesday. I’ll be posting my review of that probably that Friday. Should give me a chance to see how this multiplayer campaign thing is going to work. After that, I’ll let you know how Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is. In between that, yes, That You Do So Well will be written and completed. Also, I will be seeing all those lovely people who care to go at Balticon 2014!

Thanks for reading, everyone.

~ by Walker on March 8, 2014.

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