Like most people who purchased an Xbox One close to launch, I was extremely excited to dive into Ryse: Son of Rome. All the trailers made the hack and slash, action-adventure game set in ancient Rome to be one of the most epic games in the last decade. The graphics looked sleek, they promised immersive multiplayer, and the story line seemed as if it was going to be a deep, rich tale. Developed by Crytek and published by Microsoft Studios I figured if nothing else the action would be amazing. Unfortunately, however, Ryse: Son of Rome just didn’t meet all of my expectations.
The game starts off running as you, playing as Roman soldier Marius Titus, save Emperor Nero during an attack on Rome by barbarians. The action is awesome. The controls are easy to master for the hack and slash bits, there are moments where you take control of whole armies of Roman soldiers, and there are even Kinect voice commands to make for a truly immersive gameplay experience. The graphics were as breathtaking as the awesome gameplay. Truly at the beginning it seems as if Ryse was going to be everything promised.
Then seven hours later I beat it. That’s right…seven hours of story line. I couldn’t believe it. I have played short games before, but they were always either games that released at a cheaper price point (Ryse was $59.99 at release), or had a great multiplayer experience.
The multiplayer, however, was as equally depressing as how short the story was. There is no competitive multiplayer, only cooperative. You can go in with up to only one other person to complete rounds in a gladiator inspired arena combat setting. Also, the only way to get better gear is to buy the items with gold, which you can earn through completing rounds, but the easiest way is to purchase the gold with micro-transactions within the game.
I understand why micro-transactions exist, I really do, but they shouldn’t exist in a game that starts with a $60 price point. On top of that you can’t pick exactly what gear you get. You buy “booster packs” which have random items in them, so you never know what you’re getting. I’m sorry but if I am going to spend real money on a game that I already sunk $60 into I at least don’t want to have to gamble with what I’m getting. That alone enraged me enough to never want to play the multiplayer again, despite the fact that the entire experience was disappointing to begin with.
Overall I’d say Ryse: Son of Rome was an OK game, but definitely not worth $60. I would say it is a solid $30 buy, but no more than that. If you’re curious about this one, wait until the price drops. You won’t be sorry.