Ryse: Son of Rome

I am back, with another game completed. Yay! As per usual, it has been over a month since my last post. So I am sure you have been anxiously awaiting this! Haha, that is a joke, no one even reads this yet alone anxiously awaits new posts. Anyways, let us get into it.

What is “Ryse: Son of Rome?”

“Ryse” is a pretty typical revenge story. You play as Marius Titus, a Roman general seeking revenge for the murder of his father and protecting Rome from the Celtic Briton “barbarians.”

“Ryse” falls into the hack and slash action genre. There are also some underlying RPG elements such as character leveling, and upgrade trees. However, these elements are fairly basic and are not the focus of the gameplay loop.

The Gameplay Loop

The gameplay loop for Ryse is fairly simple. Watch a small story video, enter into large brawls full of enemies to hack through, perform tedious troop protection task, start the loop over. Unfortunately, unlike the brilliance in simplicity of games like Donut County, the simplicity of “Ryse” leads to repetitive tediom.

So let us look at each element of the gameplay loop starting with the story sequences. The writing of “Ryse” is pretty decent all be it not very original. With pretty typical stories of revenge, betrayal, and tragedy sprinkled throughout. The story is delivered to the player through means of video clips that are graphically quite appealing and have quite solid voice acting. The story segments however are not strong enough to make the player want to push through the repetitive gameplay.

The large brawls against countless enemies is the meat of the game. In these battles you will be greatly outnumbered by the enemy and have to take on multiple foes at once. Combat relies on four basic actions: a slash attack to deal damage; a shield bash to open up guarding foes; a parry to deflect incoming attacks; a dodge to avoid heavier attacks that cannot be parried. At first this combat is actually very engaging and fun. The action feels fast and requires a fair amount of skill. However, it never really changes, occasionally new enemy types are added but they are not all that different and by halfway through the game they even stop doing that. So the player quickly falls into a rhythm and starts to perform the same sequences over and over. Thus resulting in combat that quickly becomes unchallenging and repetitive. This is made worse by the rpg leveling system making the player more powerful as they progress without adding any new threats to challenge them. Essentially resulting in a game with a downward difficulty ramp, rather than the upwards ramp found in good game design.

The last element of the gameplay loop is also the worst. That element being the troop protection tasks. These segments typically involve either throwing spears at incoming enemies or shooting them with ballistic artillery. These sections control terribly with spears frequently not readying when you press the button and the lock-on feature rarely targeting the correct enemy. The sections are just boring and frustrating. I will say this is one of the first times I have found a part of a game both easy and frustrating at the same time. With the terrible controls rarely resulting in a game over but constantly delaying the inevitable victory in ways that feel out of the players control.

The Ranking

As I am sure you realize by now my opinion of this game is not very positive. However, I do not want to completely dissuade people from trying it. The game is fun in small bursts and the story segments are solid.

So how does “Ryse: Son of Rome” rank on our prestigious list? More importantly what list does it even belong on? Well as you may have guessed, “Ryse” does not belong on any of our current lists and thus a new one must be established. However, that does not give “Ryse” a free number 1 ranking. Instead we will create a new RPG list in which any game that features a leveling system, skill tree system, or loot system will be included. This encompasses a large number of games we have already ranked on other lists and therefore those games will first be ported over to this new list.

Prior to the addition of “Ryse,” the RPG list is established as follows: 1. Bloodstained Ritual of the Night,” 2. Soul Calibur VI,” 3. “Vambrace: Cold Steel,” 4. “Darksiders 3,” 5. Darksiders,” 6. EA Sports UFC,” 7. “Shadow Warrior 2,” 8. “Absolver.”

“Ryse: Son of Rome” is definitely deserving of a lower ranking on this list. I do feel that the games ability to be enjoyed quite thoroughly in short bursts does warrant placing it above “Absolver,” but I would be hard pressed to place it any higher than that. So there you have it, “Ryse: Son of Rome” displaces “Absolver” as number 8 on the RPG list!

Platform: Xbox One. Time to Beat: 5 hours 42 minutes 54 seconds.

How to Play “Ryse: Son of Rome?

“Ryse” is available to play on Xbox Game Pass. The game also can be found for pretty cheap at most places that sell pre-owned game. Unfortunately, my store does not currently have any copies in stock.

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