The Combat of Ryse: Son of Rome

By Marc Hollinshead, 5 years ago
What was once an Xbox 360 exclusive with first-person, Kinect-controlled combat, Ryse: Son of Rome has now become a third-person Xbox One exclusive that centres around handheld controller-play. Crytek, a developer who focus primarily on first-person games, have now moved into tricky territory with Ryse, so how have they managed to create a game that utilises fast-paced, flowing combat with a quick-moving camera that captures an enemy's dying expression? With these factors in mind, Crytek are hoping to "really push boundaries and take players somewhere new."

It's all about the Flow and Rhythm

The combat in Ryse has been created for immense enjoyment, challenge, rewards, and even to frustrate players a bit. It's all about the rhythm and flow when taking control of the lead man, Marius. Marius himself was never designed to be a brute on the battlefield who hacks his way through everyone he faces. Instead, he is a gladiatorial acrobat who makes precise and calculated blows with his sword and shield on each enemy. Crytek have set the combat up so that it flows with ease, and the player can annihilate wave after wave of enemies without even the tiniest scratch. Risk and reward is the aim here; push yourself for those huge rewards, or go too far and lose everything. If you can time your moves perfectly, then those rewards will increase.

There are no pre-determined combos in Ryse. Every move is available right off the bat and you can utilise those in any way you see fit. Crytek have given players the maximum potential of creativity so that they can jump straight into the game as a champion. Each push, perfect deflect, attack, and execution that is performed by the player will lessen the distance between Marius and the enemy, causing the killing to be faster and more efficient. Surrounded by five intimidating Barbarians? No problem. Once one is executed, the next in range is put into frame so that the player can seamlessly execute him with no break in the flow of combat. With this, new abilities, higher tiered executions and rewards are unlocked for the player in order to harness new power for Marius. If an enemy lands an attack on the player, the flow is broken. It's crucial to take an offensive stance rather than a defensive one.

The Camera is important too

Although the flow and rhythm of combat in Ryse is extremely important, the way in which the emotion and overall brutality are brought across are just as essential. Through the use of exceptional camera work, Crytek have been able to capture the emotion and life-or-death feel of both Marius and his enemies. The camera itself has to mirror the combat so that it can become a free-flowing element that adds immense realism and fully enhances the player's experience. For example, when Marius performs an execution on an enemy, the camera is able to frame both the savage nature of the sword and the anticipation in the enemy's face with what is about to be inflicted upon him. Then as Marius plunges the sword into the enemy, the camera moves through so that the player can experience every last millisecond of the battle. With Crytek's full performance capture technology and camera effects, everything from a terrified Barbarian to dirt shaking on the ground can be seen by the player.

Execution equals Reward

As mentioned previously, executing enemies is the key in Ryse's combat. With that in mind, the enemies themselves will be hungry for blood. Crytek made sure to stay clear of linear battles where enemies try to kill the player one-by-one, so they will work together in an attempt to slay the player. Through mastering the timing of an execution, you will be able to completely finish enemies and set them up for one of over a hundred different execution moves. The more executions that are performed, the more rewards that will be attained. These rewards can be managed and switched simply via the D-Pad in the midst of the fight. Depending on how successful you are with hitting the timing window, the size of reward per execution will differ. However, you will always receive something for your efforts. They are as follows (Crytek have also explained the idea behind Focus):

-Health: This one is self explanatory.
-XP: Unlock your path to upgrades a lot faster with this choice
-Focus: Build up focus at a higher rate and own your enemies outright.
-Damage Boost: Up your damage output and take out your enemies faster.

Another tool players will have in combat is Focus. By selecting Focus executions you’ll slowly build up the ability and can trigger it at any time. Too many enemies around you, need some breathing room, build up your “focus” and fire it off to slow everyone down. Be careful how you manage it though; it uniquely affects each enemy type for only a short period of time.
Emphasis is on the quality of enemies rather than creating masses of foes to go up against in Ryse . Marius will come across numerous types of enemies that each have unique ways of attacking. If you think you've figured the enemy out, try taunting them and watch as they become even more vicious and aggressive. Killing an enemy with an increased agro level will be beneficial towards your XP and score as well.

Mastering Mastery

You essentially choose how you play in Ryse. Mastery in the game is all about dealing with dynamically challenging enemies in a way that keeps the flow of combat going, and stylishly executing them one after the other. Both core and casual gamers alike will find the game very accessible and they will be able to hone their skills to their liking; whether that's cruising to Soldier status or climbing the ranks to Legendary status.

That's a ton of information to get our heads round! If you want to see all of what's been said in action, then take a look at this video.

Ryse: Son of Rome is set to launch with the Xbox One on November 22nd. We finally have a date!
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.