Saving private Supermarius, return of the wicker man gladiator king - RYSE
WARNING: Snape kills Dumbledore and Marius kills a whole bunch of guys. Eat your food before the expiration date to avoid spoiling, and also don’t read this blog.
Just writing a shorter blog in between entries of my AC series, and Ryse is the next victim.
As I am a Roman history nut, I’ll be comparing it to its source material (Nero’s reign and Boudica’s revolt) a little, but the game’s story is 90% made-up for fun-factor, and that’s perfectly alright.
Saving private Supermarius, return of the wicker man gladiator king - RYSE
You’ll get a Ryse out of this blog, haha! Am I right guys? ...guys? ...guys? :(
A daring video game excursion into history, faithfully reconstructed from real Hollywood stereotypes and 20th Century anachronisms. -wetakebribes.com
Too much violence in a product which must, like all videogames, be meant exclusively for children. Marius is yum yum though. -Concerned mother hub.
Extensive character customization including the heights of 1st century gladiator fashion. -Vogue
The epic tale of Generic Roman™ who seeks revenge against barbarians broadly and their right arms in particular. -Satirists anonymous.
Young Roman thinks his sword isn’t big enough to kill emperor Nero, overcompensates. -Awfulplotsynopsis.com
10/10 steaming pile of Boudica’s elephant dung. -IGN
This game’s Rysing star was never brighter! -Puntasticpunnery
Fristi’s blog sucks, the review headlines are almost the same as in his Toro blog. -An anonymous critic who’d do well to shut the fuck up before I send Boudica’s elite squad of Briton elephants to trample his ass.
Meet Supermarius AKA Generic Roman™. His superpowers include slowing down enemies around him to a crawl, executing barbarians so stylishly that the other barbarians can’t help but stand around uselessly in admiration of his ass instead of backstabbing him in this obviously vulnerable moment, swimming in plate armour, only having a last name (which doesn’t even match that of his father), and having the strongest right arm in the Roman army (I wonder how) making him throw his pila far beyond their normal effective range.
Supermarius fights his way to and through the Imperial palace, cutting through the utterly useless hordes of barbarians who all dropped out from fighting school, as Rome is being invaded by Generic Barbarian Stereotype Army™. Because Supermarius wants to have a word with emperor Nero to utter his grievances about the current state of domestic and foreign policies.
Supermarius then decides he wants to try his hand at being narrator for most of the rest of the game, played as flashbacks during his conversation with emperor Nero.
In the magic land of Ten Years Ago™, Marius has just come home from finishing his legionary training and it is therefore obligatory for his father to train him all over again, because 5 minutes of sparring with dad accomplishes more than 4 months of Roman army training, apparently.
Marius’ family, along with all other political opponents of Nero, then conveniently gets murdered by a bunch of barbarians. Nobody puts 2 and 2 together and Marius decides to follow his dad’s friend Vitallion to go kill some barbarians in Britain.
Next, we’re landing in Britain and… it’s 6 June 1944 only everybody decided to wear Roman-era costumes. During Roman D-Day, the Britons raise a naval chain and the Roman galleys promptly decide to smash into each other like slapstick humor from some old cartoon movie or something.
In the first demonstration of his Supermarius-ness, Marius falls off a ship, swims to safety in metal armour, rallies the other shipwrecked Romans, and quasi-single-handedly takes out the chain towers. Then the Roman-era preconstruction of Omaha Beach can truly begin, complete with shellshock-inducing shore batteries.
In the next mission, our wise commander Vitallion instructs us to single-handedly invade the Briton headquarters and capture King Oswald and her daughter Boudica. Supermarius will get the job done.
Now it’s Jungle Warfare time, complete with boobytraps and hanging corpses, and then we fight our way through a Roman aqueduct and, finally, a cave. Because the King of the Britons lives in a cave. Okay. We capture Oswald and Boudica and with that Supermarius has single-handedly defeated the revolt.
But we still have to rescue the emperor’s son who is being held captive by a tribe further North who… I can only assume are meant to be the ancient Scots. Clearly the lead developer must have gotten some pretty bad food poisoning from eating haggis once and decided to artistically express this traumatic event by depicting Scotland as Spooky Horror Forest™ and turning the ancient Scots into ridiculous skull-wearing Neanderthals.
Meet Glott. Glott likes sacrificing Roman generals in enormous wickerman-burning rituals, drinking moonshine in the moonshine, long walks at the beach, and the occasional game of Mariusball. We thus find ourselves kicked off a cliff and separated from Vitallion, who is captured with the intent of being used as a human marshmallow.
Supermarius to the rescue! We regroup with some fellow Romans, kill Glott and save Vitallion and Commodus.
Safely back in Roman territory, Commodus decides to kill the captive King Oswald. The Britons telepathically sense that their leader has been murdered and thus immediately commence the siege of York’s Deep or Yorkas Tirith or whatever epic movie siege they were trying to imitate here.
Supermarius shall fight on the walls, Supermarius shall fight on the streets, Supermarius shall fight in the courthouse which for no discernible reason is flanked with humongous Egyptian obelisks, Supermarius shall fight on a bridge after doing Manly Armholding Moment™ with Vitallion, Supermarius shall never surrender!
A group of Britons eventually decides to play some Mariusball and kicks him off a bridge. But mysterious goddess lady drops a dagger in his hand, allowing him to magically come back to life and (presumably) teleport all the way back to Rome.
Now finally realizing the emperor’s family was behind his family’s murder, he decides to take vengeance.
In a completely novel and unprecedented plot engine never seen before in any modern popular depiction of the Roman era, he decides to become a gladiator with a spiky face-covering helmet to exact revenge against the emperor of Rome, and ends up killing Commodus in the Colosseum.
But Boudica’s army, now trained in the art of elephant-riding by the powers of deus ex machina, is attacking Rome.
Vitallion engages Boudica in combat, who stabs him in the chest. Fortunately her attack fails because swords do not penetrate metal armour ...never mind he is wearing some kind of cardboard knock-off made in China and dies. That’s what you get for supporting foreign companies, I tell ya!
After a bunch of elephant-dodging shenanigans, it is Supermarius’ turn to fight Boudica.
Ryse now challenges you with not falling asleep during the most boring end boss fight of recent history, where Boudica will flail her twin swords around like a carnival artist for approximately half a minute after which Supermarius can manage to get exactly one hit in. Rinse and repeat until - Ding Dong! - the witch is gone and we’re back to where the game started.
Having finished his 3-hour Powerpoint presentation about his grievances, Supermarius now proceeds to not give a shit about being stabbed fatally over and over again by praetorian guards and kills Nero by impaling him on his own statue. Now that the plot is finished, Supermarius proceeds to bleed out and die as well.
Every. Single. Character. Is. Now. Dead. The developers REALLY didn’t want to have to make a sequel for this game.
Overall, Ryse is interesting.
If you take it as a historical game it is absolutely nonsensical and aggravating, but if you take it as a spoof/satire of WWII movie tropes transposed to the Roman era, then it is actually pretty hilarious.
Oh yeah, there were gods involved in the story as well, but that was kinda vague.
History and stuff
Yes, I can’t help myself. History section it is.
I mean, I could rant for ages about the legions being stationed in the wrong places (2nd Legion in Alexandria, my ass!), or the various Hollywood tropes like using catapults against moving targets or using flaming arrows against anything that’s not a thatch roof (neither of which was at all practical), or the fact that Roman catapults in real life would fire a projectile the size of a human head at most, or the fact that the Colosseum apparently imports Hwachas from 16th century Korea, or the fact that the Colosseum wasn’t even built yet in Nero’s time, or the ridiculous “barbarian” stereotypes, or…, or…, or...
Let’s just focus on the things that they did get right, okay?
The Roman “Lorica Segmentata” plate armour was light enough that swimming with it was probably somewhat possible as long as you weren’t encumbered with anything else (and Marius wasn’t). So, yay! One less thing to bitch about.
Dover and York were indeed Roman cities (then called Dubris and Eboracum respectively), although the Romans hadn’t actually expanded as far north as York yet by the time of Nero and Boudica.
Nero did have a giant statue made in his image. It was a bronze colossus comparable in size to the Statue of Liberty. After Nero died, they made some changes to the head to represent the sun god Sol instead. It was destroyed at an unknown point during the early Middle Ages, though the pedestal survived into the 20th Century. Needless to say, Nero didn’t end up being impaled on it.
The “wickerman burning” human sacrifice ritual done by Glott and his ridiculous minotaurbarians actually has a bit of historical basis. Julius Caesar wrote about this practice in the records of his (failed) expedition to Britain. Now, Julius Caesar may very well have made the wickerman burning stuff up to propagandize the supposed savagery of his Briton enemies, but at least it has some historical basis and it’s kind of neat that the game runs with it.
There is a legendary Greek figure called Damocles but his story has absolutely nothing to do with betrayal and revenge or anything like that.
The Scorpio is fairly like its real-life counterpart, as it was indeed a small anti-personnel ballista with very high accuracy that only needed one man to operate it. It was kind of like a fixed “sniper” type of weapon. The only thing is that the in-game rate of fire is 20-30 times faster than it was in real life.
Okay so, generic stuff out of the way, let’s talk a bit about Nero’s reign and Boudica’s revolt, which inspired the game’s story.
Nero never lived to be an old and grey man like in the game. He ruled from his 16th to his death at age 30. He had only one child, a daughter, who died as an infant during the 4th month of her life. Really, aside from being both narcissists, he has little in common with the ‘Nero’ from the game.
Boudica’s revolt did however really happen during his reign, and it was a bloody mess. At this point, the Romans had only occupied southern Britain for less than 2 decades.
One of the tribes of Britain, the Iceni, were at this time allies, yes, allies of Rome. Well, on paper.
Their king lacked a male heir, so he decides to leave the Iceni to be ruled jointly by the Romans and his daughters after his death. So what happens? As soon as the old fella keels over, the Romans just waltz in and outright annex the bunch. Then they go on to rape the king’s daughters and flog his wife for good measure.
That king’s wife’s name was Boudica, and she was not happy.
She goes on to muster an impressive force of Britons, and destroys several Roman towns, including Roman London, massacring her way through an estimated 70.000 to 80.000 civilians and nearly wiping out a Roman legion in the process.
The Romans at this point are panicking, and are considering withdrawal from Britain altogether.
Still, the Roman governor manages to rally a good amount of the remaining Roman forces in the area and, though massively outnumbered, decides to do battle.
The Britons happily prepare to slaughter this puny Roman army. They arrange a line of wagons on their side of the battlefield from which their families can spectate and cheer them on as they crush the remaining Roman resistance.
This turned out to be a huge, huge mistake.
The Romans, being better equipped and trained, manage to repel the initial Briton attack. The Britons, attempting to withdraw from the initial assault, now find their way blocked by the wagons and their retreat turns into a desperate scramble of a massive Briton mob trying to work their way past an obstacle.
The Britons had trapped themselves.
The Romans go on to butcher the disorganized Briton army by the thousands, including the spectating women, children, and even the pack animals. Boudicca escaped, but either killed herself or died of disease shortly afterwards. So much for the revolt.
So suffice to say it was a mess for everyone involved. While the details have likely been exaggerated, it was evidently a dumb, senseless spectacle of bloodshed that the Romans brought upon themselves.
King Oswald is entirely made-up (maybe a reference to a later medieval king with that name), as is Glott. The rebellion never spread to mainland Europe and certainly never reached Rome itself.
As for Nero, his in-game representation has so little to do with him that I don’t want to get much into his life and the batshit things he is supposed to have done, many of which were likely slander or exaggerations propagated by the subsequent emperors who overthrew him.
I’ll talk about his death, since that’s relevant to the game. His tax policies sparked the revolts of several Roman governors, and the legions under their command. Some fighting later, popular support switches to the revolt, of which the leader has already declared himself to be the new emperor.
The Praetorian Guard abandons Nero, who, after a good bit of panicking, tried to flee, then tried to find a random gladiator to kill him, then tried to kill himself, but didn’t have the nerve and got his secretary to do the deed for him.
The following year is known as the “Year of the Four Emperors” in which one pretender after the other seizes Rome and kills the previous emperor in the process. The 4th one, Vespasian, restores stability and founds the Flavian dynasty. Oh and he’s also the guy who (together with his son) will build the Colosseum, which segues nicely to:
The colosseum obviously didn’t have some highly sophisticated tile-based map grid mechanism that could pull entire pyramids out of an infinite void like it does in the game, nor could it summon weather conditions such as rains or sandstorms at will, but there was some pretty fancy stuff.
During the early days it could be flooded (though we’re not sure how it was made to be waterproof) and apparently there were some reenactments of naval battles.
There is historical basis for the “maps” within the colosseum and how they might change between rounds. Games in the Colosseum could indeed feature movable plants and buildings as part of the stage.
Reenacting battles in the colosseum was a thing and the mockery of defeated enemies of Rome was one of the functions of the games.
The combat system of RYSE is fun enough but, man, playing the same maps over and over to get to level 200 for the final achievement is a grind!
Which is why I’m kind of surprised they didn’t decide to mix things up a little by taking a cue from history and having different gladiator classes to play as, or something.
Because, yes, real-life gladiator games were class based!
Caestus fighters, who were equipped with no armour and only a big ass combat glove, a single punch of which could knock out an opponent.
Hoplomachus, armed with a spear and a small shield.
Secutors and Murmillos, those would be like the current one in-game, with a sword and a large rectangular shield. The only difference between the two was the type of helmet.
The Retiarius, uses a trident and a net to try to catch enemies and then stab them.
The Thraex, armed with a curved sword and a small shield.
Just to name a few...
That could have been a cool addition to breathe some more life into multiplayer, as it kinda needs it, at least for us achievement hunters. Oh well.
I guess that’s all I have to say on RYSE. Fun game but kinda bonkers, hehe.
Posted by Fristi61
on 12 November 17 at 12:42
| Last edited on 12 November 17 at 17:08