Ryse: Son of Rome is a game that has peaked my interest since its announcement. It stays true to the historical accuracy of brutal ancient warfare and at the end of the day, makes you feel like that Roman badass you've always wanted to be. I will warn you though, this game is not for the feint of heart.
Before I move on; an interesting fact about this game is Crytek had originally created it to be a Kinect game, but the idea was scrapped in favor of a controller. I'm actually glad they did as such.
It's live-action, not timed event
The game puts you in the shoes of Marius Titus, a man who will eventually grow from a lone soldier to a "leader of men." The whole point of the game in-terms of its combat mechanics, is to be up-close and personal. The view-point of the game is a very close, third-person camera view. Crytek wanted to make sure you could see everything that goes on within the distance of engagement. EVERYTHING. So you get a sense of delight, or shock, when you engage another man in life-or-death combat.
Contrary to popular belief, the game is actually a live-action title in-terms of combat. You are not forced to do the "mastery" mode as it was described. In fact, utitlizing it to its full extent makes the game 40x more violent than it actually is. The executions are incredible... not that I like sending blades straight down my victim's throat or anything.
Basically, everything we saw at the Microsoft conference was wrong. The game is full of action; you can dodge at will, attack at will, and call-out commands at will. You have the freedom to play this game how you want and not follow a series of timed buttons:
When you attack an enemy, a button will appear over their head. If you choose to push it, you initiate the execution system where you can play in a semi-timed attack fashion. If you succeed, you brutally send the opposition to his doom in a series of ways. All we know is there will be 100+ unlockable executions through the progression system. If you don't do it, you just kill him... Simple as that.
The graphics are the next-level...
The game is visually stunning. All cinematics are real-time, in-game footage. The game is GORGEOUS and that might even be an understatement. The cloth and armor doesn't pass through each-other because of the physics engine. The world istelf feels like it's actually there -- I didn't find a single moment that broke the illusion of immersion when playing Ryse.
An interesting part of the game involved the use of live motion capture. You can tell the characters were created using actor's because if they weren't, there would only be Crytek. Every character is "alive." Enemies will fight for their lives and make faces when cut down. They are in pain and capturing that moment is a level of immersion that sends gaming to new heights. I was throroughly impressed by all the technology put into this title.
Appropriate violence for a gruesome time
The demo of the game as well as the presentation was violent. Despite this, I felt the brutality found in Ryse is appropriate rather than mindless. It's the setting of the game. You will feel like a Roman soldier whether you want to or not.
Ryse is next-generation. There is more processing power in one eye of the character than there were in any games on the 360. eye candy at its finest. The only gripe I have, that may not apply to many, is how simple Ryse is. Mind you, i'm an above-average gamer in-terms of skill. But the 3-button combos are really easy to do, and the time attack is not hard to initiate. Putting skill aside, the game is fairly basic by itself.
For now, the game is in beta -- it's a demo at E3, so the game isn't supposed to be hard or else people would not have fun. Other than that, I get a lot of thrill executing people and playing as a badass roman soldier. Guess that's just me.
Ryse: Son of Rome is an Xbox One launch title. The console itself does not have a release date at this time. Expect Holiday 2013.