X13 Preview – Ryse: Son of Rome

At E3 2013, Microsoft debuted a lot of titles exclusive to the Xbox One that would be launching later this year. One of those titles is a brand new IP known as Ryse: Son of Rome. Say what you will about the spelling of the title, this game is all bad-ass and a ton of brutal, gory fun.

There is quite a bit of game in Ryse, and all of it shares a very button-oriented control scheme. Everything you control relies on what amount to quicktime events, but it’s never tedious or repetitive. Okay, it’s a bit repetitive, but it never ends up feeling like quick time events. Somehow, the game feels more like a button mashing fighter more than something like Tomb Raider, though the brutality certainly stems from the latter.

Ryse puts you in control of a armoured soldier as he makes his way through Rome, as you might expect. The game is developed by Crytek, which should indicate the quality and fidelity you can expect from the visuals and presentation, and the company certainly doesn’t stray from their renowned quality here.


The game sometimes feels like it’s on rails, and while you have full control of your character, this is by no means an open-world game. With that said, the moments in it are so cinematic that you’ll probably forget that you’re a little cramped for space. There are phenomenal moments such as crashing through the Roman Colisseum; ever seen that before? Neither had we.

Controls also tend to break out into different styles, such as placing you behind a catapult to take out massive waves of enemies a la The Lord of the Rings. It doesn’t feel quite as satisfying as the Peter Jackson movies, but sending an arrow piercing through a torch’s fuel source only to see the fuel and fire engulf a wave of enemies is remarkably satisfying.

Audio in Ryse is also something to behold. There’s really no other way to put it. Strapping in with a headset is the best way to experience the game (provided it gives you full surround sound, of course), as the sense of environment is extremely heightened. The whip of an arrow through the air produces a phenomenal crack as it whizzes past your ear, and the sound of catapults being fired leaves a twang you’ll hear for a few seconds after their release.

The best thing we can say about Ryse: Son of Rome is that it is an experience you need to have to believe. Sure, that might just be the next-gen talking, but really, Ryse is the best example we have of a veteran development studio creating a new IP for a brand new console and taking it in a new direction.

If you’re getting an Xbox One, you better have Ryse in your cart at checkout time.