Ryse: Son of Rome is a paragon of computer-generated visual splendor, with a dark, gritty atmosphere and a well-scripted, wonderfully acted, compelling story. It is a brutal, hack-and-slash epic built to showcase the technical prowess of the XBOX One, and is now available to demonstrate the visual performance of your PC. This Ryse Son of Rome review will discuss the best and worst features of the game in detail, with special focus on the graphics quality and the combat system.
|Type of game:||Hack & Slash|
|Total Play Time:||7 hours|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Intel i3-3220T 2.8GHz or Phenom II X4 945
GPU:GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 7770
RAM: 4 GB
OS: Windows Vista
HDD Space: 26 GB
The World of Ryse: Son of Rome
Rome has been overrun. Celtic barbarians, led by Boudica, have lain waste to the city and captured the Emperor Nero. The decorated general Marius Titus is all that stands between the continued survival and the horrific defeat of history’s greatest empire. The game follows Marius through his career as a soldier and the many bloody adventures he faced in the campaign against the barbarians.
Atmosphere & Location
Ryse: Son of Rome features magnificent visualizations of exotic and beautiful locations. There are missions set on beaches, in dense forests, and of course in the great city of Rome itself. Each location is wonderfully immersive. On the beaches, sand flows from each step and waves lap at the shore with the weight and timing of reality. In the woods, boughs sway in the wind and flames crackle dramatically. Rome is enormous, with finely rendered foreboding buildings of marble displaying the glory of the great city’s impressive architecture.
Though the game is mostly set in brightly lit, outdoor battles, the atmosphere of the story is dark and gritty, fueled by excellent performances by the game’s voice actors. It is a well scripted, historically inaccurate piece of entertainment. The intensity of the game is perfectly paired with its understated, ambient soundtrack.
Due to the incredible graphic and gory execution animations, this game has earned a Mature rating. Nearly every death is an execution event, meaning there will be limbs hacked off, blood spurting from wounds, and the sound of cracking bones. This game is not for the faint-hearted.
Combat feels fluid. The animations are as masterfully done as any other audial or visual aspect of this game. The ability to perform executions on nearly every opponent means that the player will never be starved for blood, guts, or glory.
With that being said, gameplay is distinctly lacking in variation. Marius can dodge, block, bash, or attack. A successful block yields a chance for a counter attack. Stronger attacks are performed by holding down the attack button. Some moves cannot be blocked, and must be dodged. There are three types of regular enemies; small and fast, average, or heavy-hitters. Unfortunately, pretty much every combat scenario is experienced in the beginning of the campaign. By an hour in, there is nothing new to offer and gameplay is reduced to repeating the same combos on the same enemies. While the simple yet brutal system of combat is undoubtedly fun, it may severely limit the game’s replayability.
Marius Titus, the main character, is the son of a great Roman general turned Senator. After witnessing the brutal murder of his family during a barbarian raid, he resolves to avenge their deaths by joining a legion incursion into Britain. During that campaign, he quickly rises through the ranks to become a decorated general himself.
Boudica is the leader of the Celtic barbarians. She has sworn a vendetta against the Romans to avenge her father’s murder. Her character is based on the real-life leader of a Celtic uprising against the Romans.
The Emperor Nero is also based on his true counterpart. He is paranoid, inept, cruel, and cowardly, as the real Nero has been described.
Basilius and Commodus are Nero’s two sons, who take after their father in cruelty and lust for power.
The goddess Summer is often ephemeral, but arrives to advise and assist Marius on his quest.
The spirit god Aquilo is an uncaring schemer who serves as close adviser to Nero.
The game begins with the Emperor Nero’s palace under siege. After the rescue, Marius begins to relay his story to the emperor. The rest of the game is a series of flashbacks leading up to the fall of Rome to the barbarian horde led by Boudica.
After watching the deaths of his family, Marius volunteers to be sent on a Roman Legion maneuver into Britain. Some acts of valor and leadership earn Marius promotion to Centurion, while the diplomatic failures of Basilius and Commodus lead to all out war between the Celts and the Romans. Through the rest of the tale, Marius eventually becomes the leader of one of Rome’s fiercest battalions and the only soldier capable of saving the empire, all the while working to avenge his slaughtered family. The story meets the “present day” where the tutorial left off, leaving one final mission for the future of Rome.
DLC & Expansion Packs
The PC edition of Ryse: Son of Rome is preloaded with the additional multiplayer maps that served as DLC on the XBOX One version, and includes a new “Survival” mode in which your health constantly drains and must be constantly refilled by defeating enemies, especially by execution.
Ryse: Son of Rome is a beautiful, immersive game with an original and entertaining story, but it falls short with its repetitive combat and overwhelming gore. While it is a LOT of fun, that fun will probably be short-lived for those used to more nuanced gameplay. Maybe it is worth purchasing just for the breath-taking graphics, immaculate animation, and noteworthy voice performances.
Of course, video game reviews are a subjective art. What are your thoughts on Ryse: Son of Rome? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Do you disagree with this review? Share your experiences, thoughts, and questions in the comments!