Anyone who missed out on Ryse because of the reviews I honestly feel sorry for you. Ryse proves once again that video game reviewers are not the voice of the people. The moment the game started I was floored by the graphics. Stunning is a word that doesn't do it justice. From the sheen of light on a water soaked sword to the pores on the face of your main character, you are given a visual treat. I've never seen a more detailed console game EVER. The reviews called it a tech demo for the Xbox One. That. Is. So. Wrong. Yes, it demonstrates the power of the Xbox One (Out of the box that is), but at any given time you can be staring at something and marvelling at it's expert crafting. Lip Syncing is wonderful, and the facial expressions of characters is an absolute joy. Without spoiling the story, I felt for the characters. The raw emotion they give off with the voice acting and character design is seriously impressive. But that only gets a game so far, I know. The gameplay is the selling point. Is it as bad as the reviews say?
Well the phrase 'absolutely not' comes to mind. Yes, it's very much hack away at someone until you are ready to execute them. But there are different ways to fight. You can be a counter-attacker, a defender, or a brawler. There are various things you can upgrade such as health and awareness, but this system comes across as something you do just because it tells you to. I'm 3 hours in, and I've killed a LOT of barbarians. There are different things such as formations so you can charge archers, you can use giant crossbows in a turret sort of sequence, and my favourite, there are barrages. When your guys are in position you can actually use Kinect to call for an Archer volley or a catapult strike.
What combat gets right is something that Assassin's Creed could actually learn from. Defence Breaks and counter combos can be done at any time, rather than when your opponent tries to hit you. There is a certain awareness you have to have when you are fighting as well. You can be hit by arrows and by catapults if you aren't paying attention. Executing people is very easy because once you enter an execution sequence, you kill the guy. No matter what buttons you press, you'll take him down. In order to make this more fun, I've taken to dwindling each attacker's health to nothing, and then trying to use the execution sequence to kill them all at the same time. Watching you pull your sword out of a guy's head, taking the leg of another guy, impaling a third guy, stabbing the second guy again, removing the third guy's arm, then gutting him before turning your sword on the second guy for the last time with a centurion spine stab, is RIDICULOUSLY SATISFYING. There is still a lot more to see, but anyone who let Gamespot's 4/10 put them off this game, I have to say you are missing out on something pretty glorious.
Will I go back and play the campaign again when I'm done? Not likely, unless it's for a tougher difficulty. But once will be plenty to experience the absolute jaw-dropping cinematic values that you get with Ryse. If you enjoyed Chainsawing people in Gears of War, or curbstomping them, and you never got sick of it, then this game is absolutely for you.