RYSE: SON OF ROME
“There’s nothing like sitting back and talking to your cows.”
Hang on, wrong Rusty Crowe quote.
“What we do in life,
echoes in eternity!” Yep, that’s better. Why are we quoting one of
New Zealand’s gruffest thespian exports? Aww come on, you can’t see
Ryse: Son of Rome is, more or less,
Gladiator the videogame. Hey, sounds cool to us! Upon
jamming it Xbone-wards – and eventually
following an interminable multi-gigabyte fucking update download -
we finally got in touch with our inner centurion. Hey, this is fun,
and it looks real purty!
Yes, that eye candy requirement for
a new console launch title’s well and truly catered for in Ryse
– and hey, the gameplay’s pretty bloody fun, too. Erm, at first. But
then, as you plunder through plentiful bouts of gwuesome swordicuffs
with webelling wascally wuffian barbarians, interspersed with a kind
of Roman equivalent of Days of Our Lives (historical
accuracy be damned!), something dawns. It’s the same thing over and
over and over and over again.
OK, so that may apply to
several games, but Ryse’s battle mechanic is shallow –
slash, dash, counter or disarm, with a quicktime final stabby-wabby
once you’ve rendered a foe sufficiently doolally. It really is
super-fun initially, but after hours where nothing really changes –
save for the odd arrow attack (incoming or outgoing) - it’s
difficult keeping enthusiasm bubbling.
By this time you’ve
also realised how completely on rails you are. If you don’t wish to
slam your prominent proboscis against invisible walls, you need to
find the wee bit of scenery that allows progression. Jump button?
Basically, Ryse: Son of Rome is the
21st century equivalent of Dragon’s Lair. It looks pretty,
but you’ve very little say in what’s going on.