Ryse: Son of Rome Hands On Preview: Are You Not Entertained?

Ryse: Son of Rome Hands On Preview: Are You Not Entertained?

ryse logo

Ryse: Son of Rome looks beautiful and feels slick. It may just be one of the Xbox One's "killer apps".

Tucked away behind the closed curtains of the "Adults-Only" section at Microsoft's Tokyo Game Show booth was a new playable demo of Crytek's upcoming Roman-tastic action RPG: Ryse: Son of Rome. I got a chance to try out a co-op arena survival scenario, playing together with a Microsoft rep who was much better at the game than I.

You may recall that in my Deep Down preview earlier this week, I described the combat as "clunky". Thankfully, there's none of that to be had in Ryse, as combos flowed naturally, the control scheme felt great, and the combat was nice and smooth.

The simple light attack, light attack, heavy attack combo that is present in just about every action RPG ever served me quite well, but I was able to easily experiment with dodges, blocks, and special attacks to vary up the combat. Pulling off combos feels good, and rewarding, without being overly punishing if you mess up. Anyone who has ever played God of War will feel right at home.

The quizzical "quick-time-events-that-aren't-really-quick-time-events" we saw last time we checked out the game were notably absent. Instead, when an enemy is ready to be finished, a skull appears above his head. Pressing any button while next to him initiates a finishing move.

Playing in co-op reminds me of another "of war" game: Gears of War. When your partner is downed, you have to run over and help him back up, and in the scenario I played, there were several mini-boss enemies that are much easier to take down if you work in tandem (one player distracts him while the other attacks). There didn't appear to be any co-op specific special moves, but some of the regular special moves (such as the AoE stun) work great when you have a partner.

If Crytek are known for one thing, it's making absolutely beautiful games, and Ryse is no exception. I confirmed that it was actually running on an Xbox One (as the Titanfall guys made the rather cheeky decision to be running the PC version at TGS), and was blown away by how beautiful the world was. Not only that, the little things, such as blood splatter and these beautiful "meaty" sound effects really helped paint a clear picture of the world around you.

The arena demo was a great way to showpiece the strong points of the game: its combat and its visuals, rather than the somewhat weak story that was showcased in the earlier demo. Enemies felt distinct, you were given a lot of toys to play with, and the "boss battle" I experienced was challenging, but not frustrating. At the end of the demo, I hungered for more, which is definitely a good sign. I was quite thoroughly entertained.

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I think you may be mixing your references. Surely that should be "Are you not entertained?". Either way, I quite like the Rome setting but I burnt myself out on this sort of generic hack and slash looooong ago.

Hold the phone here Steve. I think there must have been a mistake. This game was declared by the Anti-XboxOne-Internet-Hivemind to be the worst game that has ever been created. Not only that, but it will also end the entirety of gaming, send a platoon of Nazis to crucify Gabe Newell one day before HL3 is launched, nuke Poland, and give anyone who has ever played a major video game incurable chlamydia. AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO SAY A SINGLE POSITIVE THING ABOUT IT?!!!!

WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?!!!

(ALL CAPS IS WHAT EVIDENTLY)

ImmortalDrifter:
Hold the phone here Steve. I think there must have been a mistake. This game was declared by the Anti-XboxOne-Internet-Hivemind to be the worst game that has ever been created. Not only that, but it will also end the entirety of gaming, send a platoon of Nazis to crucify Gabe Newell one day before HL3 is launched, nuke Poland, and give anyone who has ever played a major video game incurable chlamydia. AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO SAY A SINGLE POSITIVE THING ABOUT IT?!!!!

WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?!!!

(ALL CAPS IS WHAT EVIDENTLY)

Indeed, first a review of GTA 5 that was less than 6/5, and now this? Escapist is being controlled by daemons! Daemons, I tell you!

A shame it will be an Xbox one Exclusive. It looks really cool and I love Roman period games.

It look like a QTE fest... , from what i have seen of the gameplay it was lamost only that

Talvrae:
It look like a QTE fest... , from what i have seen of the gameplay it was lamost only that

He did mention they weren't really present in the demo he played, though.

How was the game in terms of difficulty? I generally like my hack 'n' slash games to be pretty tough; the tension of just barely making it through a fight is part of the whole appeal of, well, action games in general for me.

I don't like the sound of *any* button activating a finisher. I'd prefer they went to God of War route where you could just decide to finish them off with any move if you wanted to. "Cinematic" finishing moves have never held any real appeal for me. I prefer trying to make my own cinematic moments.

Still, it might be worth keeping an eye on. If I get an Xbone, it won't be for years after release, though (same goes for the PS4).

Good to see. After seeing the E3 QTE-fest trailer for it, I wasn't particularly interested in Ryse then, but the more and more I hear about it, the more and more interested I'm becoming in it, which I didn't expect at all.

ImmortalDrifter:
Hold the phone here Steve. I think there must have been a mistake. This game was declared by the Anti-XboxOne-Internet-Hivemind to be the worst game that has ever been created. Not only that, but it will also end the entirety of gaming, send a platoon of Nazis to crucify Gabe Newell one day before HL3 is launched, nuke Poland, and give anyone who has ever played a major video game incurable chlamydia. AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO SAY A SINGLE POSITIVE THING ABOUT IT?!!!!

WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?!!!

(ALL CAPS IS WHAT EVIDENTLY)

I had to read your post twice to understand it. Now I do and it made me chuckle.

Well played sir! Hit back against the oppressive Internet Hive Mind! Take the Red Pill!

ScrabbitRabbit:

Talvrae:
It look like a QTE fest... , from what i have seen of the gameplay it was lamost only that

He did mention they weren't really present in the demo he played, though.

How was the game in terms of difficulty? I generally like my hack 'n' slash games to be pretty tough; the tension of just barely making it through a fight is part of the whole appeal of, well, action games in general for me.

I don't like the sound of *any* button activating a finisher. I'd prefer they went to God of War route where you could just decide to finish them off with any move if you wanted to. "Cinematic" finishing moves have never held any real appeal for me. I prefer trying to make my own cinematic moments.

Still, it might be worth keeping an eye on. If I get an Xbone, it won't be for years after release, though (same goes for the PS4).

I should clarify. If you're right up next to the guy, and press the button, it does the finisher. But you can still hit him with a "swing" attack launched from a slight distance to kill him without the fanfare. Also, if you leave him in "FINISH HIM" mode for too long, he snaps out of it, meaning your next hit will kill him

Steven Bogos:
You may recall that in my Deep Down preview earlier this week, I described the combat as "clunky". Thankfully, there's none of that to be had in Ryse, as combos flowed naturally, the control scheme felt great, and the combat was nice and smooth.

You say that, but the last I heard was that they just hid the button promps that come up by highlighting the enemies their respective colors when ever a "combo" is brought up. So it's basically the same thing, but sort of hidden behind a less obvious mask.

Good to hear it may be improving. Quite frankly, the E3 version of the game looked like an elaborate joke.

I haven't played it so cant comment on how it actually plays. Maybe it's just me, but when I look at the animation system at work during combat it looks a mess. I don't see a slick fighting engine, I don't see any reaction to getting hit. I look at a sword swipe and it's as if nothing has happened. The combat engine looks sub standard even for a PS2 era title.

It's as if the characters are in a movie faking the actions. The difference being that in a movie you hide the lack of contact with camera angle. This add's to a lack of brutality. Not once have said "that looks nasty" and "I bet that would hurt". Not once have had the thought "I want to play this".
I will try it,and maybe I'll be surprised,but it looks janky as hell.

Now if only someone would remake God Hand with that graphics engine.

Is there somewhere I can watch the "not a QTE game" version, because the gameplay at E3 (I think) was very bad looking. If I was getting the X1 this sounds more and more like a day one purchase.

Edit:

RicoADF:
From what Crytek has said they have hidden the button prompts to now be a coloured outline around the enemies, it's not as obvious but the prompts are still there.

Tch... and there was me thinking they changed it, when all they did was disguise it. Oh well at least xbox one buyers have dead rising 3 to look forward to as a release title.

Dominic Crossman:
Is there somewhere I can watch the "not a QTE game" version, because the gameplay at E3 (I think) was very bad looking. If I was getting the X1 this sounds more and more like a day one purchase.

From what Crytek has said they have hidden the button prompts to now be a coloured outline around the enemies, it's not as obvious but the prompts are still there.

Sounds improved a bit from the "press X/anything/nothing to win" gameplay before, but it still seems that the main selling points are that it looks nice (what with all that shining, glistening grayness) and that it's not too hard so anyone can beat it. That's exactly what AAA gaming has been doing for this entire generation and all that has done is make games more bland and less engaging. The shame is that Crytek is actually a pretty good studio and they could be putting their effort into something much better than this.

I don't ever say I want a game to fail, but I really don't want this to be the flagship for next-gen.

Also side thought: if they are indeed changing button prompts to colored outlines on enemies, doesn't that create a problem for color-blind players? Oh wait, it doesn't matter what button you press. That's it! The games not "dumbed down", it's just catering to the color-blind!

So... you liked it? You know that kind of opinion is not allowed on the internet

If its anything like Shadow of Rome I'll be delighted, I loved that game and played it to near destruction.

I used to study history a lot in my spare time, and I still do. The anachronisms in this game still bother me. We have barbarians that are capable of building MASSIVE complexes out of stone, but can't craft armor, or any clothing beyond rags. I would also appreciate it if they actually spoke Latin and any other ancient language, but I seem to be the only person who appreciates such things. People really hate subtitles for some reason.

Too much QTE nonsense to be even interested in a gray and brown third person slasher.

Jandau:

ImmortalDrifter:
Hold the phone here Steve. I think there must have been a mistake. This game was declared by the Anti-XboxOne-Internet-Hivemind to be the worst game that has ever been created. Not only that, but it will also end the entirety of gaming, send a platoon of Nazis to crucify Gabe Newell one day before HL3 is launched, nuke Poland, and give anyone who has ever played a major video game incurable chlamydia. AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO SAY A SINGLE POSITIVE THING ABOUT IT?!!!!

WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?!!!

(ALL CAPS IS WHAT EVIDENTLY)

Indeed, first a review of GTA 5 that was less than 6/5, and now this? Escapist is being controlled by daemons! Daemons, I tell you!

As in, the little familiars from Golden Compass?

Glaice:
Too much QTE nonsense to be even interested in a gray and brown third person slasher.

How about the "Not QTE" nonsense that was mentioned in the review?

 

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