When Microsoft decided to take the Xbox One on a tour around the world I was very intrigued, it was a bold move and I thought perhaps I’d get the chance to take the Xbox One and some of its games for an early test drive. One of the games that I was pretty uncertain about was Crytek’s Ryse: Son Of Rome. While I think Roman era games are underrated and rare to come by, I wasn’t completely sold on what was shown at Microsoft’s E3 press conference.
Since E3 Ryse: Son Of Rome has been in the press a lot, but probably not in the way Microsoft and Crytek would have liked. So you can imagine how skeptical I was when I got to finally go hands on with the game during a recent Xbox One Tour stop here in my neck of the woods in Florida. The main couple of things that I wanted to check out were the graphics and the gameplay. The first thing you’ll notice when you play Ryse is that it’s definitely the best looking next generation launch title (in my opinion). It was hands down the best looking game at the Xbox One Tour stop by me, usually you don’t know what to expect from launch titles, as most are not much of an upgrade from current capabilities. Ryse: Son Of Rome bucks that trend in a visually impressive way.
Crytek is known for their graphical prowess, and I think if future Xbox One owners are wanting that one game to show off to their friends, this will be that graphical powerhouse to do it with. These are the best looking character models I’ve ever seen, the amount of people on the screen at the same time with no dip in frame rate is exactly what I was looking for in next generation consoles. You might hear people on the internet talk about how they dropped the resolution from 1080p to 910p, but honestly the game looks so much better now than back at E3. The main thing graphically that I took home from playing the game is if they can put out such a visually stunning game at launch, and under a hard deadline, imagine what developers are going to be able to do a year or so down the line. That idea excites me more than anything.
Obviously a video game has to be more than just graphics, I’m of the mind that the gameplay and fun factor are most important. Graphics are a nice cherry on top, but there needs to be much more substance to make for a complete game and gaming experience. I was fortunate enough to get the chance to spend quite a while with the game, playing a small demo of the campaign, as well as a small portion of the Gladiator co-op mode, which played a lot like a Hoard mode from other games. Basically you’re shackled to another co-op player and you fight back hoards of barbarians. I really like this style of multiplayer as opposed to some generic, forced versus multiplayer that wouldn’t make much sense.
We now go on to the actual gameplay of Ryse: Son Of Rome. I’m happy to say it isn’t influenced by QTEs like a lot of people originally feared. In fact, if I had to compare the combat to another game I’d say it’s pretty close to the Batman Arkham games with the way the combat flows, you can counter, strike and shield bash. There aren’t specifically QTEs to finish off an opponent anymore either, you string together combo’s and have the option to execute an enemy if you’ve performed your combo’s well enough. The finishing moves vary depending on what you’ve been doing, I pretty much got a different execution animation every single time I’d pull one off. I think most importantly I need to stress that this game is action, real time action and not QTE based. If you were worried about the combat, I’d suggest playing one of the Arkham games or Sleeping Dogs and you’ll see exactly what the combat will end up being like.
So the graphics are fantastic, the combat is purely action based and responds really well. Will that make Ryse: Son Of Rome a good game? I don’t really know how to answer that question at this time. I do have the game pre-ordered and I’m excited for the game, in fact it’ll be the first game I play because I’ll want to have that “wow” factor when I first play my new Xbox One. Everything points to the game being pretty darn good, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see how well it’s received when it comes out on November 22nd and we all get to try it out for ourselves. The new story trailer seems to have helped calm some fears over the game, and hopefully knowing that the game isn’t a QTE-fest will help some too. Happy gaming friends.