A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Although elements of Ryse: Son of Rome focus on history and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.
The plot centers on a series of vengeance killings. The game's purpose is to entertain via graphic, intense, and brutal combat.
Positive Role Models
The game's hero, although presented as an honorable man, spends much of his time on a quest for vengeance, his only purpose to kill those who betrayed him and his family in an effort to exact revenge. Even though he's a loyal soldier, his only actions of consequence involve violently killing his enemies.
Ease of Play
Demanding combat and quicky-time events that require players to press specific buttons on cue may take a while to get the hang of, but the game eases players into its tactical action fairly gently.
Violence & Scariness
The focus of this game is bloody, Roman-style melee combat. Players wield a sword and shield to kill hundreds of enemies in graphically depicted battles that involve impalement, beheadings, and frequent gushes of dark red blood. Slow-motion executions take place often, with the camera swinging around to provide more sensational angles of blades slicing through torsos, arms, and necks. Players can throw spears and wield a mounted crossbow.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
An orgy is shown late in the game in which players can see women with nearly naked breasts (only pasties cover their nipples) gyrating and grinding up against men. Sex is implied.
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Foul language appears only rarely, but there are a couple instances of the word "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Players can use real money to upgrade their hero rather earning upgrades via play.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ryse: Son of Rome is a grisly and decidedly mature action game in which players take on the role of a fierce Roman soldier who cuts his way through enemies with a sword, leaving a trail of blood and limbs behind him. Next-generation Xbox One graphics only intensify the violence, adding a level of visual realism to the gore and severed body parts that many players likely haven't seen before in a game. The hero, ostensibly a good and honorable man, spends much of the game on a quest for vengeance, vowing to be satisfied only by the deaths of those who wronged him and his family. Also, be aware that the game contains a Roman orgy sequence with topless women who grind against men.
Is It Any Good?
Ryse: Son of Rome may be brutal and bloody, but it's not just a series of simple button-mashing slaughters. It demands that players think about each button they push, choosing when to attack, dodge, block, or break an enemy's defense. Also, although the vicious executions may be intended first and foremost to thrill the game's adult players, they require a good deal of strategy as well since carrying out a successful execution results in a boost to Marius' health, damage, or experience collection rate. Players will need to choose which of these is most important just before striking the killing blow.
Still, although the combat is generally engaging for adult players, some parts of the experience leave room for improvement. The phalanx system is too simplistic to really satisfy, and sections in which players command an army are often just confusing. Plus, the co-op multiplayer mode lacks depth. But these aren't deal breakers. Ryse: Son of Rome is a well-crafted and thrilling historical action game that ought to prove satisfying for many of the grown-ups who play.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.