Ryse was a launch title for the Xbox One when it was released in certain territories last year; there was a lot of expectation placed on Ryse’s shoulders and in the end the critics were pretty harsh on the Roman warrior title from Crytek.

So when I received the Xbox One and a copy of Ryse I definitely wasn’t excited to get into reviewing this title. I play games for fun and the idea of slogging through for hours on end on a crap title filled me with dread. But these are the sacrifices we make for you beautiful people and so I set off to conquer Rome’s enemies and bring you back all the gory details of the title.

Ryse (2)

The first thing you’ll notice once you start playing Ryse is just how incredibly beautiful the game is. The graphics are amazing, the narration is appealing and the animations of the water, textiles and people are leaps ahead of what we’ve been seeing on the Xbox 360.

The second thing you notice is that Ryse is a QTE (Quick Time Event) game. The fighting is split between using X and Y to swing your sword; and using A to deflect and B to roll. As the game progresses, you unlock new swinging motions, but in reality the game just decides which animation to play so it really is just you smashing those buttons all the time.

Ryse (4)

The close up gore comes in with executions, when the enemy has a red or white skull above their head you hit RB (Right Bumper) and it goes into a full QTE event where the enemy will flash a colour and you need to hit the right button to perform the executions. It’s normally three events in a row.

There is something amazingly satisfying about shoving your sword through someone’s neck and watching them collapse to the ground. But executions aren’t just for a visual effect, you can actually choose what sort of boost it gives you. If you push down on the D-Pad then every execution will give you back some life, right for XP and Up for extra power, I think. To be honest I left it on extra health permanently as that’s all you really need.


The game follows the story of Marius Titus whose father is a distinguished general in the Roman army and Senate. In essence, the entire story is actually a flashback which happens after Marius saves Emperor Nero from the British barbarians.

As the flashback proceeds you progress through the Roman ranks while fighting tons of battles utilising spears, swords and scorpions (mounted crossbows). You have the staple of red barrels and boiling pots of oil you can use to kill the various enemies.


Enemies come in a range of sizes and fight styles but by the end you will probably have figured out that the best way to kill the bosses is to wait for them to attack, deflect said attack and then wail on them. It’s not difficult and the game can be completed in around 8 hours. It doesn’t really offer anything in the way of replay value. You do need to fight battles to unlock valour points which you can use to upgrade certain aspects of your soldier but that’s pretty easy to come by so it’s not really something that needs much attention.

The game also has a multiplayer side which appears to be a desolate wasteland and since the fighting isn’t that exciting I don’t really see the point. I went into this game expecting a boring monotonous experience and came away very surprised.

Ryse (7)

Yes the fighting itself is  a tad repetitive but the story was gripping, the graphics were amazing and I honestly didn’t want to finish the game. I truly hope they improve the fighting mechanics and bring us a Ryse 2 so we can see what happens to Rome after the exciting ending.

Ryse is rated 18 for a reason as there is a lot of violence, blood and gore and for one scene in particular a hell of a lot of sex and nudity. So much so that I wished I was a Roman, it looked like quite a party. Crytek also appears to have taken a lot of time working on the breast physics, however I’m not sure they nailed it.

Last Updated: September 8, 2014

Ryse: Son of Rome
Ryse is a bit of a marmite game, if you are looking for a great gaming experience that takes forever to perfect then Ryse is not for you. If you are interested in a Roman interactive movie with a solid story line then I’d say give it a shot.
Ryse: Son of Rome was reviewed on Xbox One

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