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.

  • In an interview they said that they were trying to accomplish something different with the combat system just to contradict themselves and say that they took ideas from god of war and the batman combat system. This game looks gorgeous but plays horribly from what I've seen.

  • Thank you very much for the honest preview.  I have so much more respect for you Dan.

    I hope everyone follows your steps with these previews.

  • i guess next gen doesnt mean smarter games, its more of the same uninspired just better looking games.

  • That's exactly the impression I got when it was first shown in a video. "It looks gorgeous but is this all you do?" is what I said.

  • their last hour demo of the game on Twitch a couple days ago looked quite interesting and enjoyable. however, this was always going to be a rent and try before I buy game for me.

  • I had a feeling that this would be the high profile game launch game that sucks, and this is only making more true.  But like all games, I will not fully judge until I've played it.

  • Bad thing is, just looking at the trailers gives this impression.

  • Weak theme, weak title. I always hated button mashers. The game market today is stagnant, very little creativity. Unless you want to buy regurgitated sequels over and over.

  • It's a shame that Crytek couldn't have made another awesome Crysis game for next-gen--imagine the kind of graphics they could pull off! Ryse never looked all that interesting to me, and this just confirms it.
  • Hey, sometimes mindless Roman violence and oppression is just what the Galen of Pergamon ordered :D
  • I have seen unfavorable reviews for a game in the past, but, at least for me, this is the first time I have seen GI do an unfavorable preview.  I honestly tend to skip the GI previews, or read them dead last in the magazines, but more previews like these would encourage me to read them more often, as I buy the magazine for what boils down to your opinions, and I really do not feel as a general rule I am getting an opinion in the previews, but a cliff's notes of what is currently known now.  I am not encouraging unfavorable previews per se, but at least some of the previewers thoughts going into more of the previews would be appreciated, at least by me.

    In other words, thanks!

  • They should have kept it as an on-rail first person kinect game. The video i watched of that looked really cool..unique even..this looks like another generic god of war clone but probably not done as good and with not as good of a story.

  • I think gamers expect a little extra when you base a game on a historical time like Rome, but those types of games have never been very good. Also launch titles have never been very good. Consoles will sell because they are the next gen consoles and there are people that just have to have the newest electronics and CoD: Ghosts is what people will be buying, because you can't screw up a CoD game.