Category Archives: Xbox One

Xbox reviews, news and opinions

“In space, no-one can hear you review” Alien: Isolation Review

Alien_IsolationThe first time I saw the Alien properly I was hiding behind a desk. Before then I had merely heard mention of it and had also seen someone dragged into darkness. I wasn’t being hunted then, but as I crouched behind the desk, holding my breath, as the Xenomorph scanned the room looking for me, I realised that now I was the prey. So began a long game of very tense hide and seek.

If you’re a fan of survival horror and/or the Alien film starring Sigourney Weaver then you’re probably going to enjoy this game. Up until now fans of the Alien movie franchise have been treated to some distinctly average games which borrow or recreate the science fiction lore that has influenced the genre in a big way; the worst of all being Aliens: Colonial Marines released by Sega in 2013. Upon hearing of Alien: Isolation’s development I sincerely hoped that Sega would make up for the abortion that was A:CM and that we would be getting the Alien game that fans really wanted. I wanted to feel almost helpless against a perfect predator. I wanted to be able to use my brains rather than my brawn to escape with my life and I wanted to feel like I had been plonked directly into a Ridley Scott film.

Straight off the bat this game looks gorgeous on PC. The atmosphere, sights and sounds have been beautifully recreated and stay true to the original movie. From the “woosh” of automatic doors to the distinct warning alarms, everything in this game serves as a vehicle to transport me to the Sigourney Weaver epic. The tech in the game stays true to the 1979 vision of technological progress which adds to the feeling that the game you are playing is an extension of the movie.

The character models are very well done (they even sweat) although one minor complaint I have is that the speech sometimes doesn’t quite match up with mouth movements outside of cutscenes. During gameplay I felt like the flapping mouths of NPCs resembled a cod gasping for oxygen, but as most of the time you aren’t interacting with other characters this complaint is minimal.2014-10-06_00004

Although during gameplay you never want to see the Xenomorph, when you do have the unfortunate pleasure, it looks great. It will stomp around corridors or stealthily crawl through vents, saliva dripping from its jaws. Up close it is definitely the same Alien that gave me nightmares as an adolescent. The fact that the vast majority of your encounters with the Alien are unscripted means that you are never sure when you will see it. It is this fact, rather than jump scares, that creates the most tension and fear. Ryan McCaffery of IGN stated that the fact you move around the same areas for most of the game is a fault however I disagree. You may move through one section of the game without the Alien even being close, but the way you move and experience that same section with the Alien being present changes it in a big way. In fact, moving through the same environments a few times made me feel more trapped enhancing my fear throughout the game.

You play through the main campaign as Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, who has been designed with Sigourney Weaver in mind. Her main objective is to seek out her mother (following the events of the original Alien movie) and this is the driving force throughout much of the game. The story takes you to the space station Sevestopol which has clearly seen better days. You are not alone on the station. As well as the Alien there are other survivors and “Working Joes” (basic androids that have turned against their programming and will attack humans). As well as avoiding the alien, it is in your best interest to avoid the androids and other humans. The station is a very hostile environment and humans will shoot first and ask questions later as a matter of survival.  Just because combat is discouraged doesn’t mean you are unable to engage. Along your journey you can pick up tools, a gun or even bombs to use in combat however you should be smart about how you use them. Playing on the hardest difficulty, combat feels very realistic in that Amanda Ripley is a survivor, not a soldier, and as such her attacks are primal rather than effective; don’t expect to kill a Working Joe without hard work and taking more than a few hits yourself.

alien_isolation_01Combat against the Alien will result in death. Tools and guns have almost no effect on it, save perhaps making it more aggressive. Bombs and flamethrowers will only give you more time by scaring it away. Those seeking a FPS experience may not enjoy this but the feeling of vulnerability makes every encounter tense and heart racing. Instead of fighting you’ll find yourself trying to use the environment to your advantage, triggering alarms to draw enemies away or turning off air filtration systems to create a gaseous cover to hide your movements. You may die many times but when you survive an encounter the sense of relief is very rewarding. Remember: Running away is OK.

The save system adds to the suspense as it is designed in the old school principle of save points. It takes a short while to save your game and often save points are few and far between. The fact that you could be killed from behind while you’re saving your game makes timing and saving crucial elements of gameplay. The distinctive beep of the save points will become your best friend.

At the time of writing I haven’t been able to try out the DLC, I may write another review of that in the future. However, the main campaign alone is very rewarding and will delight Alien fans. The game is clearly made with the intention of sticking as close to the source material as possible and I couldn’t recommend it enough. While I still haven’t forgotten Aliens: Colonial Marines as some other reviewers have, I feel like I have finally got the Alien game I have always wanted. It is definitely worth your time.


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NHL 15 Rant

fans-get-their-man-bergeron-as-nhl-15-cover-athlete-1111565That’s right, I’m back; your eyes aren’t deceiving you. You’re asking “but…why Monkey? Why come back after so many months away?” I’ll tell you why: NHL 15.

Before the release of NHL 15, the developers and EA Sports were bombarded by complaints from the fan base because information was released about the content of the game on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. A list (which I am putting below) was compiled by the Operation Sports community and fans of the series started cancelling pre-orders and voicing their disgust. 


No GM Connected
No Online Team Play (when this is patched into the game later this year, it will use real NHL players and teams)
No EA Sports Hockey League
No EA Sports Arena
No Online Shootouts
No Live the Life
No Be A Legend
No Winter Classic
No tournaments or Battle for the Cup
No season mode (you can only play seasons in Be A GM, which is limited to NHL teams)
No NHL 94 Anniversary mode
No custom music support
No create-a-play designer
Cannot customize each team’s AI
No create-a-team
No way to edit individual players
Practice mode is now limited to one skater vs. an AI goalie

No custom camera option
No Action Tracker replay highlights
No Top 3 Stars at the end of games.

Yearly draft is fully automated by the CPU
Cannot play the AHL games for your chosen franchise
Players sent down to the minors do not accumulate any season stats
No fantasy draft option
No preseason games
Be A Pro

No option to sim ahead to the next shift
You only play in the NHL; you cannot play for minor league teams
The Memorial Cup tryout period is gone. You now begin by picking an NHL team, or by letting a random CPU team draft you.
No All-Star game
Ultimate Team

Cannot play against your friends
No tournaments
No mobile app1403557456-media

Before I bought the game this morning I was fully aware of this list of omissions but decided to buy the game anyway. I had skipped NHL 14 because after NHL 13 I was sick and tired of how stale the series had become. The commentary team had remained the same for years and gameplay was lacking. Goalies on player controlled teams were awful and the game just didn’t provide me with an authentic hockey experience. I bought NHL 15 because I wanted a hockey game on my PS4 and also because I play offline Be a GM more than any other mode.

After a few hours of playing I realised that on top of the omissions noted in the list, there were a couple more. I scored a hat trick with Bobby Ryan at the Canadian Tire Centre and yet no hats were thrown onto the ice (despite the commentator making reference to hats being thrown onto the ice). You can’t even edit a player’s gear, meaning that when I signed Brodeur he was resigned to wearing a boring, dull white helmet.

The game itself features unrealistic contact physics meaning that hitting once again this year is just bad. There is no other way of describing it.  Sometimes contact wouldn’t even register and other times a much smaller player would take out a larger player and fling them back a couple of feet. Does everyone remember the hilarious glitch from a couple of years ago where a player was flung into the stands by a hit? EA Sports made light of the incident but it’s not funny anymore. Already, after only a few hours of gameplay, I’ve seen players flung over other player’s heads only to land in a way that would surely result in major bone fractures. Goalies on player controlled teams were just as unreliable as ever and seemed to be fooled by every deke. The AI team doesn’t bother setting up plays in the offensive zone and “forechecking” is a concept seemingly alien to the players.

While the commentary and presentation are certainly new, it’s not “better”. The dialogue seems a little robotic and there is rarely conversation between the two announcers. It just seems like sentences strung together one after the other with no real flow, except for at the beginning of the games. Even then, the dialogue seems a little weird and suggests that the development team may have had grander ideas for NHL 15 than what has come to fruition. At the beginning of a game verses the Panthers, Eddie Olczyk makes reference to something happening in the media which sounded a little bit like an outburst. This never happened anywhere in the GM mode and left me very confused as to what he was talking about.

The worst part about the game is not anything listed above, but the crashes which result in lost games and anger from the player. I decided to write this rant after crashing for the fourth time, losing my game data. This needs to be fixed because the last thing EA needs right now is more problems with this game.

I knew I was getting a bare bones game but on top of visuals it seems like no significant improvements have been made, not just on last year, but on NHL 13. I still have the same complaints that I did two years ago.

Insult to injury was a1403493488-mediadded to those in the community playing the game on the PS3 and 360 when it as revealed that the latest installment is pretty much a carbon copy of last years game, but with newer rosters and a new commentary team. Youtuber Domski made a really good video highlighting all the similarities (and no, it’s not fake):

EA Sports could have done a variety of things to make things better. For one, they could have delayed the release of the game. NHL 15 is clearly unfinished and the team should have been given more time to work on the title. The NHL season hasn’t even begun and I’m sure people would have waited a bit longer for the game if it meant getting an improved experience. FIFA doesn’t come out till the end of September when the big leagues like the BPL etc. have already started in real life, so NHL being delayed till the start of the hockey season wouldn’t have been that strange in my eyes.

They could also have reduced the price of the PS4 and Xbox One versions. I traded games in to get my copy but other people have paid upwards of $70 (CAD) for this game which is essentially a really good tech demo. The modes people love and play most often are not there such as EASHL and GM Connected. People are left wondering why when FIFA and Madden were able to get a complete next gen experience to fans when the new consoles were released, why the NHL development team has failed to produce similar results almost a year after?

If EA really didn’t waNHL-15-screennt to reduce the price they could at least answer their fans. I tweeted Sean Ramjagsingh, the producer of the series, numerous times leading up to the release of the game and I did not receive one reply. If you look on his twitter feed he only tweets positive things about the game (obviously because he wants the series to have a good image) but when the community is clearly outraged, it would look better for him to face his critics. I have seen the series stagnate and worsen in recent years and whether Mr. Ramjagsingh likes it or not, he is the face of the franchise. The Facebook page is similarly quiet, the wall being dominated by complaints from the community yet there is not a word in reply from the company. There is no dialogue and this is harmful to the series, especially as EA has such a bad reputation among the gaming community anyway.

As I write this the user Metacritic score for NHL 15 on PS4 is 3.1 and for Xbox One 2.4. Playstation 3 is even lower with a 0.8 and lower still for 360 users coming in at 0.7. The game should be seen as an embarrassment by the developers because it only looks worse when compared to the likes of Madden 15, FIFA 15 and (in my opinion) the current leader in the sports game market, NBA 2k.

If EA Sports don’t sit up and take note, things can only get worse for NHL 16.

Watch_Dogs Multiplayer Walkthrough

Today Ubisoft released a short video showcasing what players can expect from the upcoming Watch_Dogs multiplayer.  Obviously we can’t draw a huge amount from such a short video, but I do like what I see in this taster.  It’s a different multiplayer experience than anything I’ve played before so I’m looking forward to trying it out and seeing if it will be something I will be into.  Check the video out for yourselves below and let me know whether you’re excited for this game!

How to get the Mayan Outfit in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

Not only does thAC4_Mayan_outfite Mayan Outfit in AC4 look badass but it also deflects bullets which can be pretty useful during the game.  It’s not easy to get though and you need to have completed a certain amount of the game to be able to unlock it.  I unlocked it last night and it’s my favourite outfit in the game so far.

During DNA sequence 4, Mary Read tells Edward about the Mayan Stelae and asks him to solve the puzzle.  This gives you one of sixteen Mayan key stones.  The other 15 are located around the game, one of which is on the Island that you find the observatory on.  Here are the coordinates for all sixteen Mayan Stelae, good luck hunting them down!  After you’re done, head back to Tulum to get the outfit.

1. Great Inagua: Acquired during DNA Sequence 4: Memory 1

2. Cat Island: (734, 694)

3. Matanzas: (343, 642)

4. Cape Bonavista: (179, 593)

5. Tulum: (70, 405)

6. Pinos Isle: (334, 476)

7. Pinos Isle: (342, 478)

8. Tortuga: (876, 377)

9. Long Bay: (525, 253)

10. Isla Providencia: (502, 44)

11. Isla Providencia: (502, 44)

12. New Bone: (431, 116)

13. Misteriosa: (303, 199)

14. Misteriosa: (296, 196)

15. Santanillas: (217, 245)

16. Santanillas: (221, 242)

Upcoming games that I’m excited about: 2014 and beyond

One of the best things about being a gamer is the future.   As the game industry grows so does the potential of video games and while high def graphics and massive open worlds don’t always equal fantastic games, the future is certainly bright for video gaming.  Here are some of the games I am most excited about.  I’ve labeled which platform they are going to be available on in terms of my focus which is only PC, PS4 and Xbox One.   While some of these titles are coming out on last gen consoles, I haven’t noted this.  These titles are in no particular order but I’m going to start off with the game I am most excited about.

DestinyDestiny-Box-Art-Reveal – September 9, 2014 (PS4, Xbox One)

From the creators of Halo, Destiny looks to be one of the most promising games of 2014 and certainly the one I am looking forward to the most.  Featuring character creation, and an experience that resembles an MMO, you will explore multiple worlds once part of a great human civilization while fighting enemies using powers from various classes.

The Last of Us: Remastered – 2014 (PS4)

The PS3 version of The Last of Us became one of my favourite games of all time thanks to it’s story and characterization.  The remastered version will have full native 1080p support as well as more pixels and enhanced lighting and shadows.  The PS4 version will also be getting some gameplay enhancements although these are not known at this time.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

The latest installment of the popular Ubisoft franchise will thrust players into the midst of the French revolution.  Not much else is known about this game at this time.

world-of-warcraft-warlords-of-draenor-logo-1920x1080World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor – 2014 (PC)

I left WoW a few years ago but I still miss it from time to time.  The thought of going back in and grinding through the levels again really put me off, especially as I don’t have as much time to do that sort of thing as I used to.  The fact that with the release of the latest WoW expansion you can get a level 90 character boost makes me very interested in returning to Azeroth, and I don’t think I’m alone.

Deep Down – 2014 (PS4)

I am of the opinion that if you buy a console you should definitely make use of it’s exclusive content and Deep Down is no exception.  When it was revealed it intrigued a lot of people, including me, and I am interested to see what Capcom’s dungeon crawler will turn out to be like.

NHL 15 – 2014 (PS4, Xbox One)

In my opinion EA’s NHL franchise is one of the worst at the moment, mainly due to stale gameplay and presentation.  Compared to NBA 2k and FIFA, NHL is far behind and they really need to come onto current gen swinging.  Improved visuals, new commentary, and gameplay overhaul are musts for this series.

Halo_5Halo 5 – 2014/2015 (Xbox One)

The past few months have shown that the PS4 is selling better than the Xbox One right now.  Titanfall wasn’t really an effective weapon in the console war and inFAMOUS Second Son was a successful and popular title for Sony.  Master Chief could be “the One” to save the Xbox One.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – October 7, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Although gaining press for its similarities to the Assassin’s Creed franchise in terms of movement, Shadow of Mordor actually looks really promising and I am actually more excited for this title than I am for a new AC game.

Guns of Icarus Online – 2014 (PS4)

I loved playing this game on the PC and am really excited that it’s coming to PS4 so I can play it with friends who aren’t PC gamers.  Check out Total Biscuit and Angry Joe playing this game on YouTube to see for yourself how fun this game can be!

Alien_IsolationAlien: Isolation – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

After the huge disappointment and PR mess that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, fans of the Alien universe were worried they weren’t ever going to get a truly authentic Alien experience packaged in a good game that doesn’t just make use of the movie license.  So far Alien: Isolation promises just that, but the fans have been burnt before.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – 2014 (PC)

I recently reported that Sid Meier’s Beyond Earth was announced at Pax East 2014 and I couldn’t be more excited.  I am a huge fan of Sid Meier’s titles and while the developers have stated that this isn’t an Alpha Centauri remake, I live in hope that the title does echo that game in certain ways.

Evolve – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

As soon as I found out that this game was made by the creators of Left 4 Dead I started to get excited.  Add the fact it is sci-fi based (a genre I particularly love) and you have yourself one excited game blogger.


The Crew – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

I’m not a huge fan of racing games and haven’t really enjoyed one, except for the F1 series, since Need For Speed Underground.  That said, I’m really excited about The Crew.  I really like that it lets you play and race with friends in groups and I can’t wait to test it out.  For a racing game to have peaked my interest, it’s special.

Watch_Dogs – May 27, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

What was supposed to be a launch title, Watch_Dogs has a lot of promise and hype surrounding it but still has a question mark over its head.  Will it be worth the wait?  The fact that Ubisoft held the game back because it wasn’t ready is a good thing in my opinion.  Too often we see games being released in an unfit state.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – February, 2015 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Talking of games that have been held back, I was sad that The Witcher 3 was moved to next year but again, happy because I know that the game will be better for it.  Wild Hunt will be the last in The Witcher story and I am a big fan of the previous two games in the series, especially Assassin’s of Kings.  This game has a lot of promise and will hopefully be a Game of The Year  contender in 2015.


Batman: Arkham Knight – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Set to be the final game in Rocksteady’s Arkham series, Knight is shaping up to be a great game.  The studio is taking back control of the franchise after WB Montreal released the solid Arkham Origins. Rocksteady’s game is set after Arkham City and will allow players to drive the batmobile for the first time.  They have also created a brand new villain (pictured) but on first glance I swore it was Wrath (which would also be cool by the way).  I’m a big fan of the franchise and I am looking forward to the final installment.

Mad Max – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Ok, I know there are a ton of post-apocalyptic games out there but Mad Max is a pretty bad ass license (if you haven’t seen the movies, go watch them…now…I can wait) and I am excited to see how this game turns out.

Lords of the Fallen – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Comparisons to Dark Souls aside, this game looks very promising.  Just read what the game is about and I dare you to not get excited: “a challenging Action RPG set in a medieval fantasy world ruled by a Fallen God.  Fight against the formidable Lords and Generals that command a demonic army, Lords of the Fallen rewards skill and persistence among dedicated Action RPG fans.”


Tom Clancy’s The Division – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Not a huge amount is known about the latest Clancy title except that it looks awesome and will be multiplayer.  A pandemic has swept across New York City and sleeper agents from “The Division” have been activated to “prevent the fall of society”.

Kingdom Under Fire II – 2014 (PC, PS4)

This game will combine RTS, RPG and MMO elements set in a fantasy world.  Players will control a hero who acts sort of like a general, commanding troops in battle.  It looks really promising but western gamers will have to wait till the game has been released in Asia before getting their hands on it.

Star Citizen – 2014 (PC)

I first heard about this game on Kickstarter and, like many other people, was impressed by its promise.  It could potentially be the best space flight game ever made, enabling players to do jobs such as smuggler or bounty hunter in a sandbox environment.  A lot of people believe in this title, as referenced by the amount of donations Chris Roberts received.


Dragon Age: Inquisition – 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

I personally preferred Dragon Age Origins to II but I liked both titles a lot so Inquisition is definitely on my radar.  The developers have promised that a players decisions will have a big impact on the story which really appeals to me.  It’s going to be set in Thedas, the same as the previous titles but the world will be larger.

Galactic Civilizations 3 – 2014 (PC)

This game has been released in Alpha on Steam but I’m not really into buying games that are in this state so I won’t comment on that.  What I will say is, I’m looking forward to the full release of this title.  A sci-fi 4X strategy game? What’s not to like about that?

Uncharted 4 – TBA (PS4)

The Uncharted franchise is a good reason to pick up a Playstation 3.  The characters and writing are both solid and fans of the series have every right to be chomping at the bit for a new title.  Very little is known about this game so far but I will keep my eyes open and ear to the ground for any news relating to it.


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – 2015 (PS4, Xbox One)

While I don’t agree with charging $30 for a short prologue, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes did show that The Phantom Pain, which is the full game following on from Zeroes, will be something to sit up and take notice of.  Metal Gear Solid is one of the best franchises in gaming and any MGS release is worth playing.

Wolfenstein: The New Order – May 20, 2014 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

As well as being a gamer geek I am also a huge history nerd.  In fact, my first University degree was in history so I am naturally drawn to anything in gaming that I can relate to.  Wolfenstein: The New Order is set in the 1960’s but in an alternate history where the Third Reich managed to win World War II.  I can’t wait to see how MachineGames and Bethesda have created this world and I will try and review this title for the blog when it comes out next month.

Let me know in the comments if there are any games that you think I should add to this list!




Top 10 players on FIFA 14 career mode

Are you on the lookout for a star player on your FIFA 14 career mode and have the cash to spend?  Then here are the top 10 players on FIFA 14.

Bastian-Schweinsteiger210. Bastian Schweinsteiger

Club: Bayern Munich

Position:  CM

Rating: 88

arjen-robben-goal-ytoomili9. Arjen Robben

Club: Bayern Munich

Position: RM

Rating: 88


8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Club: PSG

Position: ST

Rating: 89


7. Xavi

Club: Barcelona

Position: CM

Rating: 89
6. Robin Van Persie

Club: Manchester United

Position: ST

Rating: 89

5. Andrés Iniesta

Club: Barcelona

Position: CM

Rating: 89

4. Falcao

Club: Monaco

Position: ST

Rating: 90

3. Franck Ribéry

Club: Bayern Munich

Position: LM

Rating: 90

2. Christiano Ronaldo

Club: Real Madrid

Position: LW

Rating: 92

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates a goal
1. Lionel Messi

Club: Barcelona

Position: CF

Rating: 94

Ryse: Son of Quicktime Events – Xbox One Quick Review

ryse_son_of_rome_by_vgwallpapers-d69gvu1The barbarian horde was rushing towards me, I shouted to my archers (who were taking my voice commands via the Kinect) “fire volley!” As soon as I had finished the command the sky turned dark with arrows and the advancing barbarian force was no more.  I thought to myself “this is pretty cool” but then I’d remembered that this was the fourth time I’d done this exact thing in Ryse: Son of Rome.  That kind of deja vu is something that you will find occuring over and over again as you play through this Xbox One release title.

2Ryse: Son of Rome, developed by Crytek, was one of the Xbox One launch titles that caught my attention as soon as I saw the first trailer.  I love anything historical and have played many games which focus on the Roman period.  I had high hopes for this next gen imagining and couldn’t wait to get started as soon as I put the disc into my Xbox One.  Unfortunately, waiting was exactly what was in store.

Ryse is the first game I have played on the Xbox One, and I have had just over a months experience with the Playstation 4 and I can honestly say that Ryse is the game that has taken the longest to install, beating any game on the PS4 by about 20 minutes.  For a couple of minutes after you put the disc in the console, the installation counter on the screen will sit at 0%.  I started to wonder if there was something wrong with my system until I searched forums and found this was happening to everyone.  After about 5-7 minutes a notification popped up to tell me that the “play while install” function was ready and I decided to take advantage of it.  This, however, only took me as far as the game’s menus where a further installation bar was waiting for me.  After another 15 minutes Ryse was finally ready to play.  This, for me, is far too long.

3As mentioned Ryse is set during the time of the Roman Empire, however it is not historically accurate, in fact I think Gladiator would score higher in this department and that is saying something.  That said the visuals are great and the Roman armour does look cool.  You take the role of Marius Titus, a Roman soldier who is destined for greatness.  As far as main characters go he is pretty likable but then again he doesn’t have enough dimensions to really do anything to make you love him or hate him.  He simply is and you don’t really mind playing as him but then you won’t remember him for years to come either.  The combat is not much more than slightly sophisticated button mashing. X slashes with your sword, Y knocks the enemy with your shield, A blocks an attack and B is roll.  You use these in different combinations depending on which enemy you are fighting, and in varying sequences.  For instance, you can’t just spam the X button, you need to throw in a Y every so often so your attacks keep landing.  This doesn’t change througout the entire game and combat gets repetative very quickly.  Combined with these basic attacks are “execution moves” which are essenatially quick time events you can put into action once you have landed enough basic hits on an enemy.  To successfully complete execution moves you have to press X or Y (depending on whether the enemy flashes blue or yellow) in order to kill him using a fancy move or two.  These can be chained so you can execute two enemies at once.  Pulling of successful executions will grant you extra XP, health, focus (which is used to slow time down during combat) or damage; you select which one you want to gain extra in by pressing up, down, left or right during gameplay.  The first few exectution moves will have you roaring with glee as you kick an enemy to the ground or cut off one or more of their limbs however they quickly get repetative too. Quicktime events are a big part of this game so if you hate them, you may want to think about giving Ryse a miss.

MariusOccasionally you will take command of a small force to move through a ravine or assault a wall.  In these circumstances the buttons change so that A forms a testudo formation while the right trigger orders your men to throw pilas.  As with the other combat, the first couple of times this mechanic is used you get pretty excited, however once you release that this will be rinsed and repeated throught the game it becomes less of a novelty.  As I mentioned at the start of the review, spoken orders can also be given using the kinect. I was able to command my archers to fire or my foot soldiers to move ahead vocally without, I am pleased to say, any problems.  The kinect heard me every time and I am exctied to see what other games can do with this feature.The story in Ryse is ok.  It has its fair share of power crazy Royal family and doubting generals and was actually better and more engaging than that to be found in the PS4 launch title, Killzone Shadow Fall.  The writing in some parts leaves a little to be desired however I feel this critique comes as a consequence of personal pickiness.  If you can forgive certain dialogue contradictions you will probably disagree with this particular complaint.

Ryse’s multiplayer puts you into the gladiatorial arena where you can either fight solo or as a duo through varying waves of enemies.  You can upgrade your gladiators armour to improve your experience.  It’s a nice idea and is well done, however I doubt I will spend as much time on it as I do the multiplayer on Battlefield 4 or Killzone SF.

All in all Ryse: Son of Rome delivers a next gen experience in terms of graphics and kinect functionality however the combat mechanics, historical accuracy and repetative missions left me feeling dissapointed.  If this game is on a bargain sale, you should definitely think about picking it up.

Verdict: 5.5/10