A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
RYSE: SON OF ROME follows the story of Marius Titus, a Roman soldier, who loves his country but eventually finds himself betrayed by those in power. After witnessing the murder of his family, he swears vengeance on those who did the deed, barbarians from Britannia. He journeys with the Roman army to wage war on those who live on the island, but when he gets there he realizes that his real enemy may be closer to home. The game's action is centered squarely on brutal but strategic melee combat with swords and shields, with special attention paid to gruesome executions carried out via a quick-time event system that requires players to copy on-screen button cues. There are also moments in larger battles in which players can command their troops, ordering them to various sections of the battlefield or grouping them to form a phalanx. Beyond the campaign lies a multiplayer arena mode, where players take on the roles of gladiators in the ring and fend off wave after wave of attackers.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. How do you think games on next-generation systems such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will affect the way violence is presented in games?
Families also can discuss sexuality in games. Are the few women in this game depicted fairly and honestly? What message might they send to any mature female gamers who play?
- Platforms: Xbox One
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
Social Studies: history
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: logic, strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Microsoft Studios
- Release date: November 22, 2013
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language
For kids who love action and history
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.