Ryse Review

Ryse is a game that's perfectly aware of what purpose it serves. I'd wager no one from Crytek is expecting any Game of the Year awards: Son of Rome exists to give you instant satisfaction – the sensation that the hundreds of pounds you just spent on Xbox One were worth it.

It does this, of course, by pulling out all the graphical tricks it can muster. From start to finish, Ryse is a constant joy to look at and ticks all the boxes in order to sell its tech: lush forests, awesome vistas, ancient Roman architecture. There's not a single moment its engine and direction doesn't impress in some fashion.

That's what Ryse is, and was always going to be, though. When it comes to the rest of the game, it's hack 'n' slash all the way. With a combat system that borrows ideas from the Arkham series, you never do anything in Son of Rome other than stab people in the face. It stands out on its own by introducing an execution mechanic –holding RT after whipping someone's ass will see foe's glow in a certain colour, indicating which button to push to get the best combo possible.

You don't have to follow this guide – if you mash the pad Marius will still slice someone's arm off – but to get the most out of any fight it's essential, especially if you want to acquire more points to put towards the various upgrade options. 'Valour' earned through fighting can then be spent on buying health buffs/more executions and so on.

Ryse is simple, but the game has a certain moreish quality to it. It's without doubt repetitive, and replicates its few ideas constantly across its six-hour running time, but I couldn't help but enjoy it. For all its idiotic and straightforward ways, anyone who gets this day one with their console will, at the very least, have a wry smile on their face.

It'll vanish from your brain as soon as you've finished it, but before that, Ryse is oddly fun.

Game finished in 6 hours. Multiplayer played for 1 hour.

7 / 10

  • Combat is straightforward but entertaining.
  • So very, very pretty.
  • Literally has one idea and runs with it.
  • Multiplayer not a strong enough reason to play it once you're finished.

Click above for enlarged Ryse: Son of Rome Screenshots

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User Comments

kittykatswell's Avatar


My friend is holding back to buy this game, but it looks like the game to experience if you love Roman empire times.
Posted 04:37 on 12 February 2014
ranaakon's Avatar

ranaakon@ Karlius

Posted 18:29 on 03 December 2013


I was really hoping this would be like a next gen Spartan: Total Warrior and I'm so disappointed. I watched the video of you and Chris playing it and it just looks so bloody boring!
Posted 22:33 on 21 November 2013
smackybumbum's Avatar


Does Miller ever get a break from reviews. He's done a lot lately.
Posted 19:16 on 21 November 2013


Still not sure. This is one of the highest scores I've seen for the game and some have been scathing. Pretty sure it will drop in price fairly quickly, so I'll pick it up then.
Posted 15:31 on 21 November 2013
reynoldio's Avatar


Of course I've only watched the video, but I wasn't entirely blown away with the pretties and also thought the stabbing looked poor with the swords moving around in the enemy mid-stab.

More annoying, as pointed out by Bratterz in the video, is that microtransactions have appeared in a full priced game and that is atrocious. I own every Gran Turismo on all platforms and will not buy 6 if that's also the case there, I'm outraged.
Posted 14:39 on 21 November 2013
tvr77's Avatar


I think short games are fine but it should make an impact on the pricing point.
Posted 12:19 on 21 November 2013
alphafour's Avatar


It's not dissimilar to when those Dynasty Warrior games used to get high scores for effectively bringing nothing new to the table.

If it's not a fundamentally bad game, I would say Ryse should get a 6 after reading what you wrote.
Posted 11:52 on 21 November 2013
TenBensons's Avatar

TenBensons@ SimonMiller

You're right it is subjective. It's probably the kind of game that if a friend was to showcase it to me round their house for a couple of hours I would walk away hell bent on making it my next purchase.
Posted 11:44 on 21 November 2013
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ SimonMiller

Sounds like my cup of tea one of my Fav games of last Gen was X-Men Origins: Wolverine that was just beat, beat and repeat while some may of found that boring I love wolverine and loved fighting as him and this sounds exactly the same. I love Gladiator and want to play as one so cannot wait to play it.

I wouldn't be able to do that with other games but if the subject appeals then I think it drags me in.
Posted 11:37 on 21 November 2013
SimonMiller's Avatar

SimonMiller@ TenBensons

Certainly an argument to be had. All I could think when playing it was 'if I had this day one for a new Xbox One, I'd love it'. But how important that is to people is always going to be subjective.
Posted 11:36 on 21 November 2013
TenBensons's Avatar

TenBensons@ SimonMiller

Oddly enough I can see the appeal but it does seem like it's very hollow. Is it worth 45 quid? Probably not.
Posted 11:34 on 21 November 2013
SimonMiller's Avatar

SimonMiller@ TenBensons

It's strange. It is a one trick pony but I'd be lying if I said I didn't really enjoy it. It's the most ridiculous fun, admittedly, but as soon as I got into its rhythm I had a load of fun.
Posted 11:27 on 21 November 2013
TenBensons's Avatar


A seven for a game that's essentially a one trick pony? Simon are you a secret dude-bro? ;) Sounds like one that will fill the shelves of the pre-owned section at GAME in record time.
Posted 11:20 on 21 November 2013
chrishatton's Avatar


I see your point. If its in with a console bundle then it would soften the blow
Posted 11:18 on 21 November 2013

Game Stats

Ryse: Son of Rome
Out of 10
Ryse: Son of Rome
  • Combat is straightforward but entertaining.
  • So very, very pretty.
  • Literally has one idea and runs with it.
  • Multiplayer not a strong enough reason to play it once you're finished.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 22/11/2013
Platforms: Xbox One , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Crytek
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 697 7
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