I was not kind to Ryse: Son of Rome coming out of Gamescom. Nothing I had seen of the game, nor the limited hands-on time I'd had with it, had given me much of a sense of excitement. Here was what looked like a QTE-stuffed slaughterfest with a rather basic combat system and a heavy emphasis on being cinematic -- an adjective that nearly always makes me groan.
That being said, I admitted towards the end of my rather ranty video that I'd probably end up playing it anyway because I'm a sucker for hack and slash titles, I love the setting, and the genre is so poorly represented much of the time that anything looking even remotely interesting deserves some kind of recognition.
And then I got hands-on with the singleplayer earlier in the week.
The preview is coming next week, and I won't be doing a full u-turn, but I will say this: I had fun. It's a game that I now rather want to play, in the same way that Viking: Battle For Asgard was a game that I wanted to play, and then greatly enjoyed. That doesn't mean Ryse is a good game, I can't make that assessment yet and my hands-on time answered precious few of my many questions, but it does mean that for certain fans of a certain subgenre, it's going to hold some appeal.
Of course, it helps that I had the chance to chat extensively with the design team. It's clear that the team have taken inspiration more from Rocksteady's Batman series than the God of War; the cinematography -- that is to say the manipulation of the camera to frame the action -- is simply superb; and I dig on the setting and the time period, even if the story does take a few historical liberties in terms of accuracy.
But we'll get to all of that. In the interim, here's my interview with design director Patrick Esteves, and he can tell you about the game in his own words.