RYSE: Son of Rome is set in the Roman Empire, in a war between the Empire and the barbarians. You re-live the story of Marius Titus, a man who is focused on avenging his families slaughter and saving Rome. Through this epic quest you will find yourself travelling to Britannia and through the Roman Empire to exact your vengeance. You soon come to find that your revenge will be fulfilled closer to home.
Crytek have yet again amazed me with their stunning graphics and lifelike cinematics that will take your breath away. You will find yourself losing grip of what is gameplay and what are cinematics. They have married gameplay and cinematics perfectly with the execution system, which allows you to move the camera whilst interacting with your foe. Using this system gives you the best angles to view your opponents being executed. Unfortunately, this system is without its own faults.
The camera can sometimes find itself positioned in an area that makes it impossible to see what button to press, causing much annoyance in a game that rewards you for being precise and skillful. Being a third person game that leaves some of the screen blocked by a hulking Centurion, means that you won’t be able to admire some of the environments, but you won’t find this to be much of an issue because you won’t have the time to look at the scenery with the constant attack you’re under.
RYSE is a third person blood bath that’s focused on finesse, rewarding the player for perfect timing and precision. If you perfect your timing you will see glorious results with executions getting more brutal and bloodier with each perfect strike that you land. Be warned, it takes a lot of practice to memorise the executions and time the buttons perfectly to get legendary kills. Even the general battle takes timing and precision. Majority of the time you will find yourself outnumbered and you will have to use your wits to know when to attack, parry, dodge, or push your enemies.
RYSE also has a large amount of collectibles to find across each level of the campaign. It also has an RPG element in the story. As you complete missions and get kills you get valour points which allow you to upgrade Marius’s skills. These Skills carry over to the multiplayer known as Gladiator.
Gladiator is a co-operative horde mode for you and a friend. You must complete objectives and please the crowd. Set in the Colosseum, you must re-tell battles in Roman history and taunt your opponents. Just like the real Colosseum, the more you please the crowd, the more gold you get. This gold is used to buy packs that give you items and consumables like health potions, or focus potions. As you start the game you are asked to pick a God to fight for with each God having a different perk to help you in the fight.
If you fight for a God long enough you will be bestowed with a gift that will help. These include things such as a shield, sword etc. These are notably better than anything you can get early in the game. As you rank up the enemies get tougher and your skills will be put to the test. RYSE is riddled with quick time events that are integrated seamlessly to the point that you will forget you are in a battle.
The Campaign tells an epic story of a Centurion and his fight for revenge. It is filled with emotional highs and lows that will leave you screaming for more. The multiplayer is great but is a huge missed opportunity. When I read Gladiator mode I was expecting to be thrust into an arena with other people in an epic fight to the death for survival, but I was left with a generic horde mode that was much the same as the campaign. Although the quick time events are seamlessly implemented they do get rather repetitive when you have seen the same execution a thousand times.
The RPG elements are great but you can complete the leveling within one play of the campaign. This leaves you with nothing to explore in later replays of the game except for the hunt for collectibles that you might have missed. The story is such an epic ride that this will not be an issue. You will find yourself wanting to relive the experience over and over. Crytek has once again delivered an IP you can sink your teeth into. It has shown off the ability of the next generation console and has shown that Crytek have the ability to RYSE to the new standard.