Microsoft Responds To Our Criticisms Of Ryse

Last week I wrote about Crytek's new Xbox One exclusive Ryse. I had some real issues with the game's combat, particularly with the game's 'executions' which take the style of God of War's QTEs, but actually follow through regardless of whether the player presses the correct button or not. In response we were sent a "clarifying statement" regarding the combat in Ryse. It doesn't necessarily contradict anything I wrote in the article but in the interests of fairness I thought it best to post the comments in full.

The statement reads...

The combat system in ‘Ryse: Son of Rome’ is designed to be accessible to a wide variety of players and skill levels, but also extremely rewarding to gamers who take the time to learn and truly master it. While new players will be able to enjoy the game and pull off amazing-looking executions by pressing a basic combination of buttons, the full depth of the combat system can only be achieved by timing the execution prompts correctly, rewarding players with the choice to replenish health, collect gold or earn experience points, and unlocking more spectacular executions that aren’t otherwise accessible. Our E3 demo included eight unique executions – in the final game, there will be around 100.
On the hardest difficulty mode, button prompts will not appear during execution sequences, so players will have to memorize and carefully read Marius’s body movements to determine which buttons to press and when, adding additional layers of skill and strategy.
'Ryse: Son of Rome' was designed to be a visually breathtaking action-adventure experience, with a non-punitive combat system that's approachable to more casual players and extremely rewarding to more skilled players. We look forward to showing more of the depth and breadth of the game in the months leading up to launch.

I don't want to say too much in response -- I'm more than happy for people to make their own mind up with regards to Ryse -- but my issue was that the instantaneous, visual reward of getting something right is completely lost when players cannot fail. I was aware that gamers are provided some sort of (non visual) reward for getting the button prompt 'right' but is that enough? Does that make the game feel rewarding in that precise moment? That is my question and I still think it's a valuable one.


    Translated: We wanted a game that could be played by all soccer moms and your 80 year old grandmother.

    All jokes aside, it might not be that bad. You still get rewarded for getting it right. Kind of sucks that you can't fail though.

      I hate that. Why are games so soft these days? Oh you get a treat for getting it right, but it's okay if you screw up.

      No. If I screw up, kill me god dammit.

      If your game is good, I will want to try again if I die. If your game is bad, I won't have the incentive to try. I feel a lot of people just enjoy some games these days because they are just constant reward fests, and when you find yourself towards the end of a game without dying once or just dying accidentally a few times, it's a bit hard to quit, because the game just feeds your ego so much and hey, the story isn't bad.

      Through this, developers are getting away with SO much filler. So many enemies to fight without good reason. I think Fuse was the last straw for me with this: "Oh you think the game should be harder now? Here, have more mundane, mediocre enemies with shit AI. Cover based shooting guys; who said grind fests are just for MMOs?" We get games with 6 hours of gameplay stretched over 60.

      This is all personal opinion, but I feel it's valid. I just don't think games are hard enough today. Give me some god damn permadeath and stop treating me like the centre of the universe. Show me you take your game seriously and bring me into YOUR experience that you've worked hard on, instead of catering the experience for me like I'm some child who only responds to positive enforcement.

      Treat me like an alcoholic bogan mother treats her kid on the train to Port Adelaide.

      /end rant.

        I agree, HELL, I Agree the crap out of your rant!

        I love intense games, that keep me coming back for more. The only reason i played my xbox 360 over my ps3 for a time was because Bayonetta ran better on the 360, and yes ill say it: I liked bayonetta better than GoW because even the fricking quick time events challenged you. (no offense to God of War, it is still a lot of fun)

        Ryse Son of Rome looks like an interactive 300 rip off movie, not a video game.
        yes, games are challenges that require practice, i play piano as well as video games and "practice", "try again", "focus" etc are important words for me.

        i totally agree with "If your game is good, I will want to try again if I die. If your game is bad, I won't have the incentive to try". some of the greatest musical pieces i have ever played are NOT easy to play, but its that satisfaction of success as well as the journey. So enough with all the hand holding in games sure you companies can make casual games but use them as a stepping stone to guide consumers to a few new challenges, to excite them about more "hardcore" gaming. cause that is where the real fun is.

    I'll be honest and say that I haven't watched any footage of this game, but this statement kind of amused me:

    "On the hardest difficulty mode, button prompts will not appear during execution sequences, so players will have to memorize and carefully read Mariuss body movements to determine which buttons to press and when, adding additional layers of skill and strategy."

    Unless the dude is pulling the 'Y' pose from the YMCA dance, how am I to determine via body language which button I am supposed to press?

      A game where your character strikes a pose before attacking, telling you what button to press. That would be rad.

      At a guess, it'll be something like Y for head, X for arm, A for leg, or something, and so if you're swinging your sword, you'll hit X to make it swing better, or if you're kicking a guy in the nads, it'll be the A. Looking at the footage, I doubt you'll have any real control in how you kill guys, so it'll simply be responding to what your dude's doing.

      I'd still rather the first option.

      I assume it would be something fairly simple, such as:
      y - up, a - down, x - left, b - right.
      You would probably just need to follow the movement of the character, or dodge obvious slow-mo enemy attacks.

      Probably something like Infinity Blade where you parry/dodge depending on the enemy movement? Probably similar where the movement starts and slowdown to press the correct button and BAM dig the eyes out.

        That's what I was thinking, and it sounds like it might actually make the game worth playing (y'know, apart from being xbone exclusive).

        Except that it's kind of academic if there's not really any penalty for failure... 'Press X to continue' = The Entire Game seems a bit unsatisfying. There's probably some interesting psychology to study, there.

      I'm just wondering why developers think people like quick time events.

    I've watched a few videos of Ryse and its without doubt a nice looking game. I have the same issues as you though. Say it takes a full play through to master it, you've already seen everything it has to offer your not going to replay a so glemauer game for xp and coins.

    In the last gen it would have been a rental for me. I couldn't justify paying full price for a game ill play through once and look like I'd mastered it.

    The only thing worse than a QTE is a repetitive QTE. How is this a feature?
    Then again, can't knock it until I try it, but it might just have to be filed away with lots of the XBone news as "maybe I'm not the target demographic"

    Edit: On further reflection, maybe it's an attempt at mashing in the Guitar Hero style of gameplay. So it's more like God of War Hero?

      You know if they or someone else took that idea to its conclusion and developed a full combat game using the guitar controller and a constant rhythm mechanic I... probably wouldn't play it, but I'd think. Hm. That looks interesting.

    excuse my senile memory, but wasn't this supposed to be a 1:1 Kinect game @E3 2012? What happened?

    What is a reward if there is no punishment?

    This is almost like AFL "Well, close enough, you tried, have a point"

      Wow clearly you've never watched an AFL game or just don't understand the game. Kicking a point relieves the pressure on the defense and allows the other team to regroup and quite often the other team goes coast to coast and scores a goal. How you can compare the two is beyond me. Brainless NSW scum

    Do they mean that there are more spectacular strings that are achievable with correct button timing? Like some of King's throw chains in Tekken? Or did they just scramble this nonsense together to try and explain a clear flaw in their combat system?

      I think they meant that you can unlock a greater variety of kills the higher level your character is, and the easiest, fastest, perhaps only, way to get to those higher levels is with the bonus experience you get from hitting the correct buttons.

    No doubt if this was about a PS4 exclusive, it would have read a little more like "WOW! Playstation exclusive "Ryse" developers, take the time out to give a more in depth and detailed explanation of their combat system! Man, what a bunch of really awesome people! Thanks Playstation for being Playstation! Playstation."

    I don't think I've read a single positive article about the Xbox. Even though there is so much awesome there (Like the 3 O.S, and the instant game switching and multitasking). I'm getting both systems, but damn, it's like no one in the media wants to support the X1.

      Because they didn't get the balance of right and wrong correct. As it stands the stuff no one likes is bigger than what they do like.

      If anyone is at fault it's MS's marketers for not doing a very good job.

      I disagree. In fact, on initial reveal this was getting very positive press. The problems started once people started to play it.

      I don't know about you, or the assumptions you just made, but any opinion I have of this combat system is purely in relation to the game, not the system it happens to be on.

      Many of the games during Microsoft's conference looked pretty cool for their own reasons. But that has nothing to do with Microsoft or their platform; more so to do with the developers behind the games.
      In fact, the Xbox was mentioned ONCE in this article, referring to Ryse being an exclusive for the console. All of the criticisms and responses are in regards to Ryse, the game. Which so far is looking like your typical hack-n-slash with fail-safe QTEs. Again, this is on Crytek and their direction with the development on the game, and until your comment the thought of slandering the Xbox One in the comments section hadn't really crossed my mind, because the console's current standing with the public is hardly related to any faults this game might have.

      I don't like Quick Time Events, I like them even less when they aren't necessary.

      As for the XBone, Microsoft ticked a lot of the wrong boxes for me to like the thing. Online check ins, Kinect (although if this one works I'll remove it), 3 OS's, that's 3 times the resources of 1 OS for a start. Biometricly locking my games to me. So I can't put a game on for my nieces and nephews now?

      Instant game switching... not that big of a deal, it's nice but it doesn't outweigh the bad. Multitasking, again I want to be able to background download, I want cross game chat and I want parties what improvements are there over the 360? I know I'm not going to Skype somebody while playing a game or watching a movie.

      No Backwards compatibility means no reason to stick to Microsoft. As far as I'm concerned Sony are screwing us 33% ($100 Aus tax from MS, $150 from Sony) more but also offering a better product, with a worse controller. Don't think I'm a fanboy I love my 360 but they sure as hell made the XBone as unappealing as possible to me.

      I live 15 minutes from the Brisbane CBD, my ADSL connection fails when it rains, heck my phone line stops working when it rains. Telstra have fixed it, but the problem is an intermittent fault in the Copper line. They don't test it during the rain so they can't find it.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been removed.
      Please read our Community Guidelines for rules on leaving comments.

      Because they seriously haven't given much to support. The DRM, the always on Kinect; you've heard it a million times because it's just plain true that these features don't appeal to people.

      I wish the X1 was turning out to be something good, I'm sure the media does to, but the fact is that it just isn't to a lot of people. If you can't understand that then you might want to take a deep breath and try to; people see things differently to you sometimes.

      I commend Kotaku specifically for being unbiased to both systems, but they can only do that so much when MS are clearly making poor decisions about their new console.

    As someone who's fine with QTE in games, for me it's the visual reward that makes them enjoyable, and without that I'm not really sure I'm interested.

    Sounds like a setting that belongs only in the easiest difficulty level.

    The QTE turned me off this game during E3. The gameplay didn't grab my attention either - have sneaking suspicion this one is going to be a lengthy, repeated button mashing torturing experience. I didn't see anything during the gameplay that looked interesting or different than your typical hack'n slash.
    Announcing Metacritic score: 6.0/10

    What's the point or experience points or gold if you can't fail in your attacks?

      I think its more that you are successfully making a final attack, here is a chance to get extra loot/xp/etc... Still seems odd and painfully repetitive.

    It almost seems like a misinterpretation/misrepresentation of why the QTE is there.
    You've dealt enough damage to finish your foe - the execution has already been determined, thus you cannot lose in that respect, however for killing a bad dude you are presented with a "mini-game" with the prospect of a health/xp/whatever reward. That actually doesn't seem like a horrible idea in and of itself; still, its presentation in Ryse so far has left a lot to be desired.

      Actually sounds a lot like the mechanic in Metal Gear Revengeance. If you deal enough damage to an enemy to finish them, you go into a slow-mo cutting mode, and if you cut the right part then press the button prompt, you get full HP. If you miss the button prompt, or don't cut the right part, the enemy is still dead either way.

      no, I think the principle is that the executions get you a kill faster, surely. or there would be little point.

    Nothing is worse then a long boss fight to be present with an annoying QTE, then when you fail having to redo said boss fight 10 times because you keep messing it up. The new Lara Croft game had a few of these I found it the most frustrating part of the game.

    How about this: you hit the right button, you perform a brutal kill sequence. You miss the button, you still beat them, but you just bop them on the nose and they fall over.

      Heh. That would give me flashbacks to the horror of fucking up a fatality in Mortal Kombat 2, where it looks like your character has a seizure then slaps his enemy in the face.
      THE SHAME.

      Hah, there's a particular page out of "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe" that follows this exact line of thinking, I'll see if I can find an image of it.

        That looked like an AWESOME comic. I think I only read a few pages of promotional preview or something, but what I read was great.

      Found it!

    sounds like they're just digging themselves a bigger hole.

    It's not the QTEs that I have issue with, it's the repeated break in the flow of combat. When will people learn that excessive slo-mo gets real old real fast? It's the gameplay equivalent of tripping over your own feet every couple of steps.

      Although I'm not at all interested in this game, I'm a sucker for slow motion action amd executions. The fight sequences in 300 are inexplicitly appealing to my tastes. Some people like that stuff. Having said that I kind of dislike Skyrim's executions cause they so awkwardly animated

    Mark of the Ninja had a much better QTE system, when stealth killing you are given a mouse click & movement prompt. If you get it you are given a very clean kill which causes no sound and gives you bonus exp. If you miss it you still get a kill (a different kil animation plays) but you make a noise during the execution (plus you get less exp).

    Why couldn't they make something similar to this in Ryse? You miss a QTE you get "sloppy" kill as opposed to a clean kill. It just seems like lazy programming / animation.

    "Haha xboners are idiots, their games you can just button mash and win".

    Crytek says it's a game difficulty setting and the game has normal playthrough methods ranging from easy button mashing through to super hard.

    "Oh well, QTE's suck anyway XBONERS ARE SO STUPID".

    It's like everyone stops suckling on the PS4 teet long enough to grab some air and shout some abuse at MS, it's already gotten old real quick.

      Most people are saying they don't like a 3rd party game. Our dislike of the XBone is for completely different reasons.

      I would dislike this game on PC, WiiU, PS4, 3DS, Vita, C64, Atari 2600 etc.

      Except this has nothing to do with the Xbox, and everything to do with the game.

      You know what's worse than constantly ragging on xbox? Trying to use that a shield for legitimate criticism of a game that's on it.

    On the hardest difficulty mode, button prompts will not appear during execution sequences, so players will have to memorize and carefully read Mariuss body movements to determine which buttons to press and when, adding additional layers of skill and strategy.

    Welcome to DRAGONS LAIR : 2013

      well shit when you put it like that I'm kind of interested... except in Dragons Lair, when you pressed the wrong button... traumatized a child.

    Look, if anyone's played Crysis 1, 2 & 3, it's obvious to them that Crytek have been gradually forgetting what makes games fun.

    They're not a game maker anymore, they're an engine designer. The sooner they work that out, the richer they will be.

    Crysis 3 was almost on rails, for all the freedom you had.

    Ugh I don't like it...

    Think it's been conveyed enough here already why.

    As long as they think they'll achieve something, I guess at some point if I get a chance I may try it but I can see the response from people are going to hurt the game a bit.

    Unless this game releases with a high rating and lots of chatter, I feel a majority will stay away from it that aren't that well informed. Right now it seems like a QTE cinematic experience which doesn't challenge the player but then they are removing that aspect so I am a bit conflicted...

    I get what they're saying since I played Chivalry and that was a timing game, reading body movements and smiling wickedly when someone swings and misses then you had the opportunity to strike (unless you're like me and get over excited then swing and miss as well).

    Maybe it be like that without the QTE's or maybe the game goes into slow mo...that be annoying...

    I do like that the clarification email was posted here out of fairness, though. It appeals to my sense of... well. Fairness. :P

    I'm sorry, but they really are QTE. And may I say, having them constantly takes out any fun to be had with them. I don't mind a QTE, as long as its very rare. In those instances, I enjoy the visual display because I haven't been over-exposed to them, and I don't mind the action mostly being taken out of my hands. When they're happening all the time, the visual display loses its enjoyment factor, and the game mostly being taken out of your hands is incredibly annoying.

    I would rather they had looked to the first ninja gaiden or even lotr: the two towers for inspiration. I want a hack and slash game with the precision and speed of ninja gaiden, and the flowing animations of assassin's creed

    Anyone else think that guy in the pic looks like he's about to take that sword up the arse?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now