Ryse: Son of Rome preview: pretty, boring

In spite of the gorgeous visuals and bombastic setpieces, Ryse ends up feeling boring over an extended amount of play.


Every minute of Ryse: Son of Rome features gratuitous, over-the-top violence. Marcus moves from shoving his sword into a soldier's throat, to cutting off the limbs of another hapless victim. It's so overwhelming, it's difficult not to get numbed to the gore on display.

Perhaps that's why--in spite of the gorgeous visuals and bombastic setpieces--the game ends up feeling boring over an extended amount of play. The combat system appears novel at first, but quickly becomes repetitive. Nearly every encounter goes as such: parry, strike, strike, execute. And every enemy slain demands elaborate execution animations, making their novelty die down rather quickly.

It's not an entirely mindless affair, as Crytek shows some attempt at introducing depth to combat. For example, you have to alternate between heavy and light attacks, otherwise enemies will dodge them. Some enemies have unblockable attacks which require a roll instead of a parry. But for the most part, you'll memorize the button combination that kills nearly every enemy. You'll also start giving up on following the QTE prompts during executions (because they complete themselves anyway). Even the introduction of new enemy types in a later area of the game didn't really demand changing a strategy.

A nice touch is the ability to select what bonus you'll receive from combos. You can select to have your health or mana restored, boost your attack power, or gain additional XP. Once your combo ends, you'll reap the bonus. It's a nice way to encourage high combos. I found myself choosing the XP boost, and made quick work of the game's upgrade tree.

Clearly, if there's one reason to play Ryse, it's not the gameplay. Son of Rome, at the very least, is a spectacle filled with tons of CryEngine-powered eye candy. In fact, it's so pretty that the frequent interruption of pre-rendered cutscenes is baffling. For some reason, the video compression on the cinema sequences is incredibly noticeable, making the pre-rendered stuff look worse than the real-time graphics. The story is also by-the-numbers: a tale of revenge that telegraphs nearly every aspect of the story. You won't be surprised by how Marius ends up being so damn angry--but at least there's some solid performances backing the cinematics.

There's still hope that the latter half of Ryse will offer a bit more depth and variety over the hour-plus slice I played. But my first impression of Crytek's Roman action game has my excitement for the game rather muted. It may be pretty, but I would like to see a bit more substance out of such a combat-heavy action game.

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  • reply
    November 6, 2013 10:15 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Ryse: Son of Rome preview: pretty, boring.

    In spite of the gorgeous visuals and bombastic setpieces, Ryse ends up feeling boring over an extended amount of play.

    • reply
      November 6, 2013 10:27 AM

      It's a shame they didn't make this a proper 3rd person action game with a deep combat system.

      I would of been interested then.

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        November 6, 2013 10:31 AM

        I really kind of feel bad for this nowt. It's getting panned in every preview and probably for good reason.

        But at the same time you have a ton of people working super hard on this turd to get it out and the employees have to know it's a turd, so I feel really bad for them.

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      November 6, 2013 10:46 AM

      So basically a videogame that Michael Bay would be proud to call his own.

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      November 6, 2013 10:57 AM

      :( I have this pre ordered I am not sure now. Andrew can you compare it to God of War that would be very helpful. So ther eis God of War type combat it is not all QTE hey? IS there any RPG progression or gear or is it very static and you are stuck with the same sword and shield etc for the whole game?

      Thanks Dude

      • reply
        November 6, 2013 11:08 AM

        I'm pretty sure it's just the QTE style combat, if it was God of War style combat i'd be really interested in this but it just looks really repetitive, it's a shame.

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        November 6, 2013 11:11 AM

        It is not a QTE-fest like it was at E3. However, the combat system isn't particularly deep either. Whereas in GOW, you could create really interesting combo strings and mix in magic and various weapons, all you really have in Ryse is "heavy attack" and "light attack." You don't even really make combos with those. You just alternate between pressing X and Y.

        There is RPG style progression, but it's mostly for base stats. You can also unlock new execution animations, but like I say in the preview, they get pretty boring when you have to execute EVERY enemy in the game.

        • reply
          November 6, 2013 12:11 PM

          Thanks, well that sucks I really was hoping it be just like GOW, man why didn't they just freaking copy the core combat :( Ahhhh man that sucks I guess I am going to cancel my pre order.

          So pretty much it is a modern hack and slash where you just mash the two same attacks and get some fancy kill on the end of a death if you trigger it over and over again.

          Hmm I don't know I am probably going to bail, thanks Andrew \m/

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      November 6, 2013 12:41 PM

      This game is clearly unfinished, they should be ashamed trying to sell what is essentially a shoddy salvage job of a Kinnect title that didn't work.

    • Ziz legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
      November 6, 2013 1:59 PM

      Yep I'm only bidding on Dead Rising 3 auctions for the Xbox One.

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      November 6, 2013 3:17 PM

      Wasn't expecting much here, every launch has it's duds.. and this just came across as one of them.

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      November 6, 2013 3:20 PM

      Within 6-12 months, this will be in the budget bins.. just watch. It's one of those games.

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      November 6, 2013 5:59 PM

      What the hell? Ryse: Son of Rome looks pretty deep and almost dare I pretty freaking impressive?


      Shack are you sure it sucks ballz it sounds pretty deep combo system and other things and looks awesome?

      I am not canceling my pre order I am going to get it, guess we will see in a few week.

      The vid looks rad, or am I blind?

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        November 6, 2013 6:05 PM

        More vids I don't know looks like it palys sort of like GOW




        Yup I am keeping it.

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          November 6, 2013 6:12 PM

          It looks pretty but it doesn't look like the combat has any of the depth that GoW had.

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            November 6, 2013 6:16 PM

            So if you have a PS3(which I do) and all the GOW games(which I do) then this is pointless?

            Hmmm, I am gonna have to sleep on it. But yeah I would say your right it does look like it has the depth of GOW.

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              November 6, 2013 6:17 PM

              Blah But yeah I would say your right it does look like it has the depth of GOW. it does NOT have the depth of GOW.

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        November 6, 2013 7:37 PM

        Why did you link to the end of that video, s0n?

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          November 6, 2013 8:10 PM

          Damn it did I do that again, I always watch them then get exciting and copy paste I guess it does something to the orig link on a URL focus and on URL bar click or something?


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        November 6, 2013 8:15 PM

        Maybe I'm just a humongous Rome whore, but that looks pretty fucking hot! :o

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        November 6, 2013 8:40 PM

        It's Batman combat I believe. While that is solid, I don't think it can carry a game.

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          November 6, 2013 8:42 PM

          Meaning if all you really have is combat, that could get old quick. Where Batman has exploring, hiddens, gadgets, bosses, etc.

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        November 6, 2013 9:23 PM

        The animation on the characters looks really impressive!

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        November 7, 2013 2:38 AM

        I've heard good things from people that have played the preview. I think it depends what you're looking for. It's obviously not going to the have the depth of Dark Souls or something, but visually atmospherically it looks amazing.

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          November 7, 2013 3:22 AM

          It looks like the game to buy to say "Look at how nice my new console looks".

    • reply
      November 7, 2013 5:42 AM

      i knew the game didn't pay off after i watched it in E3!good gameplay but too much history for nowadays.the problem was that it was repetitive and always had one role.although it had good graphics,they should've focused on gameplay and story more.

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