Ryse: Son Of Rome Is As Fun As Dialing Phone Numbers - Ryse: Son of Rome - Xbox One - www.GameInformer.com
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Ryse: Son of Rome

Ryse: Son Of Rome Is As Fun As Dialing Phone Numbers

If you’ve ever watched Lost, you’re familiar with the character of Desmond Hume. The former monk was stranded on the series’ mysterious island, and was tasked with repeatedly pressing the same series of buttons on a keyboard for weeks at a time. Why he had to do that is still pretty confusing to me (as is the rest of the series), but I was reminded of Desmond’s task for the duration of my time with the demo for Ryse: Son of Rome. I spent two hours with the Xbox One title, but it felt like I was entering random numbers into a computer rather than actually playing a video game.

It’s clear what Microsoft and developer Crytek are shooting for here. At launch, they want a big budget, epic action game that clearly demonstrates next-gen visuals. Ryse is undeniably pretty, but that’s about all it had going for it in this demo. After a painfully generic story intro, the game began teaching me similarly uninspired combat mechanics. While it tries to sound like an in-depth action game with familiar elements like perfectly-timed blocks and focus meters, the actual experience is anything but deep.

I’m hoping that later levels introduce some more difficult enemies, as the dozens of encounters I had consisted of all the complexity of dialing phone numbers. Almost every fight started with me hitting the attack button a couple of times, then pushing the enemy in an effort to stop him from breaking my combo. Then, I’d continue attacking until he was weak enough for the execution sequence. Once this occurs, the game slows down and the enemy flashes various colors. You press the face button of the appropriate color, and your protagonist Marius dismembers or murders the foe in dramatic fashion.

It’s so basic and predictable, I began testing to see if I could get past most combat situations with one hand. With my left hand completely off the controller, I was able to slice and dice through tons of enemies simply by inputting the same sequence ad nauseum. On a couple of occasions, the game would shift to sequences that involved me defending an area with crossbow stations or ordering my men to block arrows with their shields. These were somehow even less exciting than the tedious swordplay.

When I sat down at the Ryse: Son of Rome station, I was a fairly blank slate when it came to knowledge of the title. I knew it was developed by the talented team at Crytek, and I knew it was gorgeous based on the videos I had seen at conventions, so I was prepared to be impressed. What I didn’t expect was a desire to get up and leave the demo about ten minutes in. I stuck it out in hopes that it would prove itself a deeper experience over time, but its only success was ensuring my wallet will be $60 heavier when the Xbox One launches.

  • i wasnt planning on getting this title anyways, good thing i got youre input now.

  • Lol well it does look pretty and all but I never thought it looked that fun to play. BF4, AC4, Forza 5, and Ghost for me.

  • People have been saying this since E3,looks like all the rumors were true.
  • Not surprised at all. This looked like a crappy lauch title but then again most of the launch titles for next-gen don't look that great imo (except maybe Resistance).

    Edit: i mean killzone.
  • Sick burn.

    I have to say I'm a bit disappointed by this, mostly because the game looks so pretty. I'm going PS4 first for next gen, but plan on getting an Xbox One eventually if the exclusives seem worth getting (Dead Rising 3 and the one by Sucker Punch both impressed). I had some level of hope for this game, but I was let down by the original "gameplay" video that was very quick-time-centric.

    EDIT: I'm mistaken I meant Insomniac.
  • I'll wait until the reviews come out, but this doesn't surprise me. From the moment I first saw this (E3 I believe) I had the strangest gut feeling that it was going to be a huge flop, but we will see.
  • Ooosh, that's a stinging comment. I rarely see previews as negative as this, so good on Ryckert for being honest about a game that has looked dire ever since its reveal.
  • Looks great but its about gameplay, not graphics. Someday fanboys will understand this.
  • Thanks for being honest, Dan!
  • A lot of people were afraid of this. I'm surprised someone finally came out and said it.
  • Not that surprised. Nothing I have seen or heard game me anything more to expect more then a very basic brawler trying to be MS's God of War rival.  

  • It's a Crytek game, what did everyone expect? Their games are always gorgeous, but everything else about their games is always completely soulless.
  • Ouch!

  • Saw that at E3, this game is all visuals and nothing more.

  • Seriously, thanks for the honesty. Actually admitting you wanted to get up and leave 10 minutes in is damning, and it's refreshing to see a hypeless look at next gen.
  • I figured this would be the case with Ryse. I guess I can wait until this title goes on sale to try it out.

  • Not good. This is bad news for a launch title, especially one with so much media around it.
  • I have a feeling this is going to be like ZombiU. A lot of people are going to hate it, and a lot of people are going to love it.
  • Maybe they should've kept it as a Kinect game.
  • I sure wish every bad preview was as honest as this, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City anybody?
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