Ryse: Son of Rome, like Project Spark and Titanfall, is part of Microsoft’s push to find the next HALO: a new IP and flagship game that will carry the Xbox One to success. While the presentation of Ryse was too focused on the gory, quicktime event executions, the game seems to be Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s God of War series. It promises to be a smooth, fast, hack and slash while providing visceral, though completely optional, cinematic moments. Supposedly button masher friendly, it does reward players who precisely time their blocks, parries and counter-attacks with health regeneration, extra XP, or other boosts unlocked by the player. Ryse,which will also utilize the Kinect, will be used to give squad commands, and the Xbox SmartGlass technology to provide a more interactive, community experience with hints from friends and strategy guides.
However, for this game to be what HALO was for the first Xbox, the game will have to have a compelling story and universe for the player to be immersed in, as well as robust multiplayer mechanics. So far, the gameplay appears to be fairly basic. Although its presentation is flashy, and offers co-op as a multiplayer option, Ryse will have to impress players with much more than just bells and whistles if it is to provide them with a memorable gaming experience.
This article originally appeared in Comix Asylum Magazine, Issue 3 (August 2013).