With the exception of Forza 5, Crytek's third-person hack 'n' slash Ryse: Son of Rome is the Xbox One launch title that genuinely screams "next-gen".
The expansive world, jaw-dropping visuals and sound has to be experienced to believe.
Add to that a campaign story that sucks you in like a quality TV drama, and you have the makings of a first-class next-gen title.
All that's needed for the perfect gaming portrayal of Roman gladiatorial times is thoughtful, rich and meaningful gameplay, but the nature of the hack 'n' slash genre is one of repetitiveness, and Ryse is no exception.
The combat is exciting, and sometimes quite overwhelming, and the brutal, no-holds-barred finishing moves are the icing on the very bloody cake. In the heat of battle, a small skull will appear over the head of an enemy that you can perform a finishing move on. Pressing RT will hone you in on that enemy who will soon glow yellow or blue, prompting a timed button press of Y or X respectively.
Ryse is a very long game and apart from sparse diversions from sword swinging, it's a case of wash, rinse and repeat from go to woe. There is welcome respite in the co-op 2 player gladiator mode in which you and a friend can band together to defeat waves of enemies and complete various objectives.
As you do so, you level up and unlock more armour and weapons for your battle-weary gladiator.
Ryse is a great game, but not one for too many extended sessions.
Review courtesy of Fatso Games Club
Ryse: Son of Rome From: Crytek For: Xbox One