E3 2013: Make like a testudo with Ryse: Son of Rome 
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Darryn Bonthuys
June 12, 2013 at 11:15 am

Ryse (1)

Despite what you may think of the hardware powering it, there’s no denying that the Xbox One has some great games lined up. Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break for one, or a new Forza entry that will have petrol-heads spinning tyre doughnuts with glee. And then you’ve got Crytek, who have tossed the gun aside for a gladius. Tetsudo!

If you saw the Xbox press conference this week, then you no doubt saw the trailer for Ryse. That’s the section that I got to play a few hours ago, at an Xbox One event inside E3. But it doesn’t do the game justice to watch it over a stream.

It has to be experienced in high definition, and that’s where Ryse shines. The game looks phenomenal, and boasts an insane amount of detail. Little things water droplets on armour, cliff sides that you would probably ignore being fully rendered and explosions that look like they were ripped straight from the mind of Michael Bay all help to create an environment which looks like a perfect blend between style and reality.

Ryse (2)

But let’s get to the elephant in the room here. Yes, the game does have QTEs. A helluva lot of them, that are a constant part of the gameplay. But, they’re completely optional. In most QTE-heavy games, you miss a prompt, you die.

But in Ryse, there is no game-breaking consequence for failing to push the X button in time. Marius Titus continues with his onslaught, but with less of a visual reward really and less experience points. This comes from an emphasis on Crytek wanting to make the combat more open to all skill groups, from button-mashers to parry-masters.

But mastering combat provides players with more skills with which to improve the brutality of Titus centurion lifestyle. Starting in the demo, Titus had three options with which to combat the barbarian hordes with.

A standard sword attack, a shield bash which attacks as a heavy that can break open the defensive points on enemies and a parry skill that opens up foes for counterattacks. It sounds easy, but the combat can be challenging, especially when surrounded by enemies. While the QTE is optional, the slowing down of action isn’t, something that could sour the experience.

Ryse (3)

It’s something that Crytek is going to have to make optional, for those players who don’t want the QTE experience to hamper an otherwise solid action experience. The real fun though, was when that combat was augmented with a taste of Roman military formation action.

Forming a testudo, or turtle shell, I had to move my group towards enemy lines to get them in range so that they could hurl a few pilums at the enemy. It’s a fun addition that adds to the warfare of the game, and I was told that Crytek is looking to deepen that particular gameplay experience.

Ryse: Son of Rome isn’t perfect, but it’s got some really strong gameplay that could really be something if Crytek can tighten it up before launch. It not only looks incredible, it feels fantastic as well and the atmosphere that it creates easily rivals any Hollywood blockbuster on offer right now.

Because he's the writer that Lazygamer deserves, but not the one it actually needs right now.So we'll hunt him. Because he can't take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a loud-mouthed journalist, a watchful procrastinator. A dork knight.

  • Uberutang

    This really remind me of Viking Battle for Asgard.

  • Trevor Davies

    Speaking of Rome, anyone else notice Rome Total War was one measly little dollar on Steam?

    • Jakster

      This is Africa, we don’t have internet. You keep your Dollars and I’ll keep my Rands.

    • Brady miaau

      I did. I bought it!

      Now I own it twice, but this one has all the expansions (it claims only one?) loaded in, not two different installs and disk switching.

      So looking forward to playing it. But first, chess, to hone my strategy skills for Rome Total War

  • Tbone187

    Game looks absolutely amazing…I don’t mind QTE at all…Used properly , it can add to the experience, not take away from it…

  • Jakster

    This game has DRM! It’s bound to suck!

    -1 Point at review.

    • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

      lol you so funny with your flame inciting comments ….

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      lol FoxhoundR you’re a funny guy.

  • HvR

    Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break sill not getting it except that it puts the WTF and TV back in TV games.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    More button-masher, or more strategic combat (like Witcher 2, with different combat stances) and less QTEs = we could have had a winner!

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      But I guess the transition from Kinect waveathon to actual game, was a laboured transition. Hopefully Crytek will also work on the story, or at least get decent story writers in. That’s one aspect about their tech demos that really pisses me off. Pretty to look at, but as vacuous as a Kardashian.

    • Brady miaau

      sounds good.

      doubt it will happen though. Too late in development, perhaps?

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Maybe not… unless Ryse is a launch title.

  • DarthofZA

    This is one of the reasons I will be picking up a xbox One one day… not any time soon, but one day.

  • Rinceyouropinion

    I must say I don’t mind me QTE, and it LOOKS stunning! Damn you MS for DRM! I would have picked this up in seconds!

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)
    • Rinceyouropinion

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        That post-orgasmic face is what I envisioned he had when Don Mattrick unveiled his new jacket.

        • Rinceyouropinion

          God that has me giggling more than Foxhound in a pre-screening of Dance off Kinetic 2.0

  • Heist

    I wonder why this isnt a kinect game anymore.
    Originally I assumed it was because the original kinect was just not up to the task, and that it was then pushed back to wait for kinect 2.
    Does this mean that kinect 2 still just doesnt cut it and crytek decided to abandon it alltogether?

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Pretty much, what I’m also thinking. It’s also strange that they didn’t demo kinect 2 at the E3 conference, which makes me wonder if Kinect 2 isn’t just really Kinect 1 in a new plastic box.

      • DarthofZA

        They didn’t demo it because the MS haters would of gone on and on and on for days about how they don’t care about hardcore gamers anymore, they only care about the casual market. With 1 hour to please everyone, its very hard. Apparently showing a shitload of awesome hardcore games doesn’t cut it either….

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          It wouldn’t have mattered either way, because the elephant in the room was never addressed. Just go to Major Nelson’s blog to see the anger and resentment spewing from xbox gamers about the xbox one (particularly about what it essentially means for the future of xbox gaming).

          • Jakster

            You are being ignorant by letting the DRM issue over shadow such great games.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            No, it would be ignorant and highly silly to be bedazzled by pretties, while your consumer rights and civil liberties are being eroded by Corporations and Big Data

          • Jakster

            You clearly haven’t used Adobe Cloud or Apple iThings. Pre-historic gamer.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            You say that, like it’s a bad thing.

          • DarthofZA

            Do you feel the same way about Steam? If not, you’re being a hypocrite.

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            I’m actually not a huge fan of Steam, never have been, although I have been adding Humble Bundle games to my steam account (but in that sense, I also have the non-DRM versions).

          • Rinceyouropinion

            I have to disagree. I think this game looks awesome, but I am not spending R700 on the game, and then a further R800 for a 2mb internet connection PER MONTH to play one game.

          • Jakster

            I haven’t read anywhere that the game is cloud powered. Darryn should go back and query that.

          • Rinceyouropinion

            I still need to pay R800 for the internet, regardless of whether it is cloud powered. I have a 1mb connection at the moment, which doesn’t meet the minimum specs for the Xbox One… But yes, also not sure if Cloud Powered.

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          It wouldn’t have mattered either way, because the elephant in the room was never addressed. Just go to Major Nelson’s blog to see the anger and resentment spewing from xbox gamers about the xbox one (particularly about what it essentially means for the future of xbox gaming).

  • Jakster

    Soooo…at which point in this game to we get to go one-on-one with Kratos?

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      When Rome invades Greece, and adopts their mythology…. :P Kratos becomes Gratius…

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Or Hardicus! heheheh Hardicus who slayed Mars, and slept with Minerva, and bodyslammed Uranus!!

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        Or Hardicus! heheheh Hardicus who slayed Mars, and slept with Minerva, and bodyslammed Uranus!!

      • Jakster

        Poor Ned Stark, and the Starks :(

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      When Rome invades Greece, and adopts their mythology…. :P Kratos becomes Gratius…

  • Jakster

    Soooo…at which point in this game to we get to go one-on-one with Kratos?

  • Jakster

    Or does this era take place after God of War no-more 3? ;)

  • Jakster

    Or does this era take place after God of War no-more 3? ;)

  • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

    The graphics look shit.

    • Rinceyouropinion

      What? I don’t think so at all! TROLLER!

      • Jakster

        It looked like DRM on my CRT TV!!!

      • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

        Tee hee hee.

        • Rinceyouropinion

          dammit, we need a PS3! X-com free now on PSN store for those plus subscribers that wanna grab it.

  • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

    The graphics look shit.

  • Sageville

    I see in the header image “Content supported by PS4″?

    Is the game available on PS4 or is Sony punting this MS only game?

    • Jakster

      I can hear N4G already raving that Ryse is coming to PS4 with no DRM!!!!

    • Rinceyouropinion

      I think LG contacted all the major players to sponsor their E3 pages, SONY were the only to respond

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