With the console wars earning causalities quickly and both sides fire shots, Gamers are becoming more and more entrenched. With sigils in hand fan-boys of every colour continue to draw blood, HARK! From the smoke a phoenix RYSE-ES from the ashes! (See what I did there?)
RYSE: Son of Rome is a launch title for the Xbox One developed by Crytek and is pretty as fuck. Not only does RYSE seemingly capitalize on the ever growing Ancient Rome fetish but it’s the first title that shows progressive use of SmartGlass technology!
To find out more about the game, Justin Robey, Senior Producer from Microsoft – who’s working on the multiplayer and SmartGlass integration joined the show. Immediately you notice the high fidelity visuals on the accompanied tablet device, as Robey explains:
“It’s a strategy guide tailored for you….it can be as simple as showing your friends and their progress or as complicated as showing you every achievement, every secret…everything you want! You no longer have to go to Youtube, it’s here right for you, real-time as you play the game”
During the playthrough I was ushered to focus on the tablet three times, each of those instances involved a small hint bubble popping up and a video explaining how to earn a specific achievement. Once the video was complete you were returned to the static RYSE UI which included an ongoing timeline of the specific mission.
This provided the added benefit of informing me exactly how much longer before the mission ended, a much needed innovation that will finally improve the judicious use of bathroom breaks.
The complete laundry list of how integrated SmartGlass will be in the game seems to be growing every day as Robey explains:
“The same UI you have in the Xbox One experience is available on your tablet. You can set up multiplayer matches, sit on the bus and play with your executions, customize your gladiator, you can view leader boards, online hints for RYSE and then of course read community news and highlights as well- all without being connected to the box”
After completing the demo, Design Director PJ Esteves took the reigns and was able to explain more about the core RYSE experience.
“The basic idea behind the game is that story wise, you’re a legionnaire, your father was a general and you see your family murder before your eyes. So you go on this journey of revenge which is of course the classic Roman tale that will be taking you into the depths of Britannia and back into Rome”
While none of these narrative components are completely historical, the team at Crytek has done their research and is drawing from the innumerable Roman campaigns that led to the conceptualization of Total War stratagem. In terms of our hero- information is still slim. The one tidbit I was able to pry out of Crytek is that there are 15 hero level characters in RYSE that have had full performance capture. That means 15 of the most detailed faces and man asses we’ve every seen in a video game.
The game play of RYSE is visceral, violent and suspiciously full of magical floating buttons above enemy heads. Critics have called these “Quick Time Events” PJ says they’re wrong:
“We have something called executions. So once you wear a guy down you get this awesome combat kill. A lot of people see these button prompts and think it’s a QTE, but it’s actually this bonus you get from executions. If you don’t do anything you don’t get the bonus, but if you keep the rhythm going you’ll increase your modifier”