Following hot on the heels of Dead Rising 3, yet another day-one Xbox One release makes the transition to the PC.
Ryse: Son of Rome is an epic and very cinematically presented tale of conflict and treachery set during the Roman occupation of Britain. The plot follows the life of Marius Titus, a Roman legionary whose family is slain during a barbarian attack on the Roman capital. The game is told via flashbacks, with Marius recounting his story to Emperor Nero as Rome burns.
Essentially a third-person brawler, Ryse has Marius continuously under assault from the Celtic barbarian hordes. The game uses a strike and counter-strike mechanic that’ll be familiar to fans of the Arkham games and, more recently, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
The combat is relatively simple to pick up. It basically consists of a combination of attacks, counters, rolls and shield strikes to break opponents' defence.
Weakened opponents can be dispatch via a suitably gruesome execution finishing move- slicing limbs and slashing throats. An accurately timed execution will grant Marius health or ability boost, depending on the player’s choice.
The fights are brutal and rather good fun. But they don’t really change from the start of the game to the finish. But the combat is just so slick and satisfying that it never feels as repetitive as it perhaps deserves to be.
Visually, the game is perfect and polished beyond belief. It has CGI movie-quality graphics with jaw-dropping in-engine cut-scenes flow seamlessly into the gameplay without any drop in fidelity.
From the streets of Rome, to the beachhead in the shadow of the cliffs of Dover, onto Sherwood Forest and beyond Hadrian’s Wall, these beautifully rendered and very different environments made the game a delight to play. This is probably the best looking game I’ve ever played.
But, if I had to criticise the visuals it would be the lack of variety when it comes to the enemies. It does ruin the moment when you are attacked by a horde of identical ancient Britons. It’s bizarre and totally at odds with the amount of effort that the developers have put into the rest of the game.
Compared to the original Xbox One release, the PC version get a much better deal. Not only are the graphics a bit more polished, the game supports resolution all the way up to 4K. The PC version also comes complete with all the DLC map packs included and the nasty pay-to-win micro-transactions removed.
The game’s multiplayer element is a two-player co-operative affair with players entering the arena as gladiators and fighting on intricately designed sets All the combat skills for the single-player game can be utilised in multiplayer, as heroic battles are re-enacted in the huge Roman Colosseum for the entertainment of the masses.
Ryse: Son of Rome offers up a cinematic adventure with visuals that are currently without equal. The combat, whilst lacking a bit of variety, is satisfying enough to keep you coming back for more. It’s is a beautiful game and I think one that’s definitely worth a look.