When you think of ancient Rome images like the testudo formation, barbarian hordes, shiny swords, shield and pilum, fuzzy helmets, the Colosseum, galleons, backcountry forts and dirty internal politics come to mind. Thankfully Ryse: Son of Rome has them all. Unfortunately, it squeezes them into only 6 hours of gameplay which, as it turns out is about all it needs.
There's something less and less satisfying about performing the same few colour button combinations to finish off an enemy. Basically what it boils down to is a battle sequence much like the one in the Batman Arkham series (though Batman's is done better), followed by a 'finish him' Mortal Kombat style execution. Only the enemy dies either way, and if you press the right button at the right time you get more points. These points are used to increase your life bar, focus meter or allow you to carry more pila etc. Useful but not exciting upgrade.
That all being said, I had a LOT of fun playing as a Roman legionary come Centurion with a dash of gladiator thrown into the mix. Accompanying that the graphics are outstanding, with some exemplary lighting and textures; there is sufficient gore to keep even Dexter happy and when it all boils down to it, the plot explored some pretty exciting avenues. Love Romans, senseless destruction and admiring beautiful vistas across the Roman empire? Give this a shot.