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Ryse : Son of Rome Review

Cart: Ryse: Son of Rome
Cab: Xbox One
Coin: Crytek

Ryse: Son of Rome for the shiny new Xbox One is an easy one to judge. Ignore the myriad of review scores the game has received, as they are not only pointless (as are all game review scores), but ramble on when there is only one sentence required to tell you if you need this game or not.

Here it goes. If you desperately want something to show off the graphical prowess of the Xbox One to your mates then Ryse, alongside Forza, is the best looking exclusive at launch, but everyone else should just rent this.

Now that is out of the way, onto the ramblings.

Ryse sees you take part in some God awful Roman campaign to conquer barbarians, with gameplay similar in concept to God of War but with a Call of Duty cinematic ethos. Viewed from a third person perspective, most of the time you are hacking, slashing and blocking your way around various gorgeous looking battlefields, with the occasional mini game thrown in to break up the action.

The game is at its best when you are allowed to take control of battalions, ordering them to march, lower their shields and fire as you move on an enemy position, and when the game mixes this up with the combat, things are really enjoyable. It just does this far too rarely as you go deeper into the story.

The game is stunning to look at

The game is stunning to look at

The combat is passable, but with every encounter ending in a QTE, you are going to get fed up long before the end. In games like God of War, the QTE’s are far more acceptable as they only appear when taking out a giant boss, but here they are a constant annoyance. No doubt a leftover from Ryse’s Kinnect origins, they actually spoil the game and turn it into even more of a long sludge down a corridor than it already is.

Having said that, the epic scale of each level does keep the interest up through the short campaign, although the cinematic camera does have a bad habit of putting grandeur before gameplay.

In addition to the campaign, Ryse does have online multiplayer coop play, via an arena mode, which although can’t be played split screen(boo!), can also be tackled alone. This mode is decent and will add a couple of hours to the six or seven in the campaign mode.

The QTE's are an abomination

The QTE’s are an abomination

The graphics are fantastic, it has to be said, and an early indicator of the delights this new generation may have in store for us in the future. The best way to describe the graphics is to say that the game can often look like a movie, and can win a double take from someone passing by your TV as you play. When someone asks you, ‘Is that a game?’, you know the visuals are pretty special.

However, this really is a fire and forget kind of game. You won’t want to play it again after trudging through the campaign and delivering the millionth QTE in the arena mode. As a rental it is perfect, and is only really of value to those wanting to show off what their brand new XBox One can do, and even then I struggle to really recommend it.

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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.

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