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.

  • Ouch. I thought this one would go far.

  • Too bad, I think it had a lot of potential to be great
  • Hey, some people think dialing phone numbers is fun. I didn't think this game looked all that great, so I'm not completely surprised.

  • I think this is going to be Microsoft's L.A.I.R. When I very first saw the trailer at E3 I was excited, then they started showing how it was actually played and I was like wow, that doesn't look very good. Usually you guys seem to walk away optimistic about most games you play at preview. Either companies are not letting you play their games enough to see the crappy or parts or they are pulling a Gearbox o you the way they did with Aliens and giving you a better demo than the core game. Either way you guys usually walk away optimistic about the game, but here it's like..."Umm...can I stop playing your game? It kinda blows."

  • Where's that kid that said Ryse was going to be better than any PS4 launch game? I feel like there's a special saying that should go here......Don't count your chickens before they hatch? Something like that.
  • Opinions are like butt holes i guess funny the way every other games journalists who played the demo said it was awesome and a fun game to play.... GI lost my respect today.
  • Pretty much the instant I saw the gameplay trailers for this, I knew it was going to consist of mostly button-mashing.  You could just tell.  That said, I didn't think it was going to be QUITE so dismal.

  • This is the ONLY site where I've read bad this about Ryse from this particular demo. I'm still getting it, but I'm looking forward to actually getting my hands on it instead of reading about it.
  • Not surprised. This is exactly what the game looked like when it was demoed before.

  • That is unfortunate. Not exactly surprising, though, coming from a company that thinks graphics are the most important part of a game.

  • I figured this game was going to be boring to play judging from the vi-doc about the combat. I think that neck-stabbing execution was shown about 15 times in as many minutes.

    I'm still curious about how the story plays out, however.

    I was considering getting this game at launch but was always on the fence. My gut told me this wouldn't be that great given it's history and overall rushed-to-meet-launch-date vibe, but I held out some hope nonetheless.

    I want to get another launch game besides DR3 and Forza 5... thinking BF4 as I haven't played a BF game since it was set in WWII and now that consoles can accommodate 64 player matches, it seems like a good time to give it another go.

    Or maybe I'll go with Super Mario 3D World! Cat suit!
  • I am going to be honest here and tell you I am shocked that there are so many readers who do not understand what a preview is! Previews are here to get open and honest feedback about a game based on the writers of that game. You are never guranteed that every writer will have the same opinion about everything. Personally, I was not interested in the theme of the game, so it was a no go from the start. However, I did not think it looked bad. I would agree that the same repetitive killing grind described seems boring and would lose my attention after ten minutes too!
  • Damn, this is dishearening. It looked fun from the gameplay videos. I'm really interested in the graphics and story, but hearing that the story has been stale 2 hours in isn't good either. Maybe I won't pick this title up after all...

  • Ouch. The thing is that I really like the idea behind this game... well, actually I have no idea what the idea behind the game is, but a game in ancient Rome sounds pretty great. If only it were something more. "As fun as dialing phone numbers" - GameInformer I can't wait to see how the reviews are. Worst game ever, horrible mechanics, repetitive.... but very pretty. 8/10
  • Called it.

  • Thanks for the preview, Dan. Now I know when I'm looking over reviews, to keep a close eye on how much they value graphics.

  • hmm this doesnt bode well for the game...i will get it on the cheap

  • Seriously, Dan, thank you. I played this game back in August at GameStop Expo and haven't seen a whole lot of coverage on Ryse leading up to it's launch. I wonder why.... Hmmmm... Maybe because it's sh*t? I felt the same way as you, Dan, except I did only have to play 10 minutes. I can only imagine playing two whole hours. God...

    I just really wish more people could get a chance to play this game before it launches. All you need is a minute with this game and that would be enough to turn any prospective buyer away from this mess forever.

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