by Preston Dozsa
previewed on PC
Coming to a PC near you
If there’s one thing that Crytek is known for, it’s the high graphical quality of the games it releases. For years after its release, Crysis was routinely used as a benchmark for how powerful one's PC is. And no matter how you feel about its sequels, you cannot deny how good they look. Since the original Crysis however, Crytek has spent much of its time focusing on console games over its PC gaming roots. When Ryse: Son of Rome was announced as an Xbox One exclusive, many PC fans hoped that it would eventually be brought over, with some even starting a petition. Luckily for those fans, Crytek is bringing Ryse over to PC this fall. And even better news: Crytek is looking to push the envelope for PC graphical standards once again.
For those who are unfamiliar with the game, Ryse is a third-person hack and slash set in ancient Rome as it is assaulted by hordes of barbarians from the North. You play as Marius Titus, a Roman soldier whose journeys take him to Britain and Italy as he seeks revenge for the murder of his family. The game focuses on single one-on-one combat, though multiple enemies can be fought at the same time.
4K of glory
I played a brief snippet of gameplay from two of Ryse’s chapters on the highest graphical settings on a 4k resolution monitor. And let me tell you, it looks absolutely stunning. The sheer amount of detail packed into every texture, animation and object is a sight to behold. Flames flicker with individual embers floating in the air, marks and dents can be seen on each soldier's armor, and water has to be seen to be believed. It’s clear from the get go that Crytek has spent a long time working on how best to maximise current top of the line hardware. When the opening cutscene transitioned into the beginning of the first chapter, I was confused as to what the difference was. I was then told by a nearby Crytek developer that there was no difference at all, and that the cinematic was created using the in-game engine.
As for how the game plays on PC, Ryse plays pretty well all things considered. The mouse is used for the two major types of attacks, with the spacebar serving as the oft-forgotten block button (At least in my case). Controlling your character is easy, and I saw no animation or control problems moving around the map. Though be warned: Don’t stop and look at the scenery whilst Rome is burning behind you, because some sod will run up to you and plant his axe in your forehead. Of course, you can dish out plenty of pain yourself with the flashy execution moves that so dominated the discussion of Ryse during its original release. Upon weakening an enemy to a certain point, a short, optional quick time event is available that will allow you to hack off the limbs of the barbarian hordes you fight against or otherwise give those hordes the flashiest death you possibly can. While it is optional, it certainly adds to the style and flair that is the driving force behind Ryse. Even the camera is a great bonus as well, because even though it spins and zooms around a lot to showcase the intensity of the fights, it is still easy to tell what is going on around you at all times.
Ryses in Fall
When Ryse: Sone of Rome launches this fall, all copies of the PC edition will come with all of the DLC that was previously released for the Xbox One, including new modes and maps for multiplayer. I will warn those who have a lower end PC to stay away from Ryse, though not because they should not or cannot play it. Rather, the game deserves to be seen and played on the most modern machines available.