I have to admit that I may be in the minority of gamers when I say that I liked Ryse: Son of Rome . I may also be one of the few who will say that I still have and play Ryse: Son of Rome. In fact, I am sure that I am one of the few who hopes that Microsoft and Crytek repairs their relationship so that hopefully we can see a sequel, if not let Sony take a crack at it.
For those unfamiliar with Ryse, this was a game that had been in development since 2006. It was initially supposed to be a Kinect title on the Xbox 360, but later in 2013, it was revealed to be an Xbox One launch exclusive. The game launched along with the Xbox one in late November (and later to PC) to mixed reviews. Ryse is an adventure hack and slash game revolving around a Roman general Marius as he attempts to avenge his family’s murder.
One of the biggest complaints about the game was the controls – especially when performing executions. Ryse attempted to go for the “300 look” when it came to doing them, and many were repetitive. For many, after playing games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, it felt like a step down. Another issue arose in the multiplayer portion. Since the load times were horrendously long, many players did not delve into it as much as Crytek and Microsoft expected. However, one could not deny that the game’s story and graphics were amazing. Even looking at it 3 years later, the game’s graphics (powered under CryEngine) still look amazing.
So, why should Ryse get a sequel? In a way, Ryse was trying to give Xbox gamers what Playstation gamers were getting in God of War. In a time when we are getting so many sequels and remasters, Ryse is a pretty good new IP for gamers needing a change from their yearly Call of Duty fix. Even though God of War has covered that ancient time period, God of War was more steeped in mythology than Ryse. Ancient Rome has never been quite covered gaming wise at the level that this game brings to it so that made me appreciate it even more.
Speaking of storytelling, a game like Ryse has room to grow. I would compare it with the very first Assassins Creed game. When it was released, it was ahead of its time visually and in its story telling as well, although it was painfully repetitive. Yet, over the years, Ubisoft refined the games and the controls. They also expanded the abilities of the characters throughout the series. Because ancient Rome is not a widely covered time period in gaming, just imagine what Crytek could do by expanding the narrative; such as covering Spartacus, or maybe Julius Caesar or even as they did with the original, come up with a new character and create a good story. It really doesn’t need to be as bombastic as God of War, since grounding the story makes it more plausible. The only thing that should be avoided, is yearly iterations leading to gaming burnout. Getting a game like this every 2 years would make it incredibly satisfying.
Another place where a Ryse sequel could expand would be with unlocks, character upgrades and new weapons. During the course of the original, your character remained largely the same – especially with the sword and shield. Just imagine a sequel having a character that could handle different types of weapon loadouts like spears and tridents. How nice would it be to also be able to improve armor and get different benefits from using different pieces of equipment throughout? Not only that, just imagine the different enemy types players could face. In the original, it seemed like gamers faced off with 3 or 4 different types of foes. In subsequent editions, however, the benefits we get could naturally be given to AI as well. Instead of fighting barbarians, for instance, we could fight against different soldier types. Better still, even with the multiplayer portion, think of all of the wonderful combinations that players could actually have in the gladiatorial arena. If done properly, gamers would be able to live out their fantasies that they have had since watching Gladiator or Spartacus (link to the shows).
Lastly, if any Ryse sequels could be made, just imagine all of the settings that could be used across the ancient world. We could see games set in Germania, perhaps battles in the Alps against Hannibal, or even bringing the Gauls to heel as the Roman Empire marched across the world. There are so many stories that could be told from the perspective of this game, that I think not making any sequels would be a missed opportunity.
In a world where so many games try to become the next Halo, Call of Duty, or Grand Theft Auto, Ryse is a unique game that gives gamers a look into a time period not well-trod. It wasn’t the most perfect 1st gen game for the Xbox One, but it was a great experience to be had. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should be able to get both the regular and Legendary edition at your local Gamestop for under 20 dollars. At least give it a try, knowing that it’s the first game and that it’s going to have a few faults similar to many other games that have followed the same path. Seeing as there is lots of room for improvement, it would be nice to see a new Ryse game rise up and do for the Xbox One what Halo did for the original Xbox.