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E3 2013: Ryse: Son Of Rome hands-on

E3 2013

In video form this game was disconcerting. It was a technical marvel, but its actual gameplay appeared creatively bankrupt. QTEs were tossed about the screen liberally, followed up by the frequent close-up of a successful kill. Whatever fun the game might have been was lost in translation.


The demo opened up in the same manner as the video. Marius Titus was on board a ship on stormy waters declaring cliches to his men. Every man dies one death! Our enemies bleed blood! And then he led the charge off the side of the boat, just as it moved onto the beach.

“Played a lot like the recent Batman game”The initial jump into and out of the war was like D-Day translated into spartan form. Flaming arrows rained upon the beach in place of bullets. Fiery rocks were flung from catapults in place of cannons. Marius shuddered at the sight of his dying men and readied his sword.

The melee system turned out to be far different from what I had envisioned from watching it played. I had assumed that it was up to you to hack and slash your opponents until a highlighted button appeared above their head. This would then be followed by pressing the corresponding button and observing the violence that followed.

“Failure results in a clumsier kill”In truth it played a lot like the recent Batman games, but more viscerally so. The camera was closer up and Marius didn’t behave like a pinball as he moved between attacks. It was a balance between attacking and countering.

And the QTEs, well, they were nowhere near as bad as I thought. For one, the game does not require a successful button press when prompted. Failure results in a clumsier kill and no experience bonus. Also, you’re not pushed towards damaging each enemy until they’re weak enough to be killed individually. Group kills are fully possible, but certainly more dangerous.


The fighting is fast and fluid as Marius moves from one oe to the next. While it certainly does borrow ideas from other games, it’s far from creatively bankrupt. The world that he occupies is just as brutal as it is beautiful, making for a shining example of what a next-gen title can bring to the table.

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2011.

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