Ryse: Son of Rome Morituri Pack
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2014-06-05 Xbox One Action M (Mature) Crytek / Microsoft Studios
Ryse: Son of Rome finished

I admit it, I haven't played Ryse in a while... not because I don't want to, but because the friends I play with haven't been available, and I really hate going at it with strangers. I tried my luck a few times on matchmaking, and the results weren't exactly fun. At Rank 250, I was paired with a Rank 8, so you can probably imagine how the lack of health regen gear affected that round. Still, we didn't do so bad and even with the lack of communication, the guy wasn't an idiot and gained at least 20 Ranks from that single Island round. After that, I was paired with someone closer to my rank for a round of "I don't care where you're going or what you're doing, I'm going this way anyway!". I pretty much spent my time looking for him so I could revive him.

It continued to go downhill, as I jumped onto yet another random match. Third time is the charm? Yeah... no. Here, the initial impression was of awe, with a loud and excited "Wow, this dude is rank 252!". I should have said "this dude is actually a girl", but abstained from speaking thanks to my past negative experiences upon such shocking revelation.

As soon as his health regen couldn't keep up with the health drain, this guy moved on to several complaints about lag, and shortly after, to accusing me of "stealing" his executions so I could do doubles. I was actually leaving guys up as executable for him, and he was just killing them instead of executing. He's apparently unaware that executing with Apollo as your god heals you more than just killing, especially if you get all the buttons right. He bitched some more for another minute or two, then quit. Sigh. Lesson learned from this particular round by listening to the conversation: this person had a friend over, started to show off, but failed miserably.

So, without my usual buddies, I just stopped playing for a while, but at least I was really happy that I got all my achievements and that crazy 30 minute challenge done.

On Thursday night, I got a message from the same friend who did the challenge with me, telling me a new Survival 30 minute challenge was coming up. Hooray! I quickly browsed Smart Glass on my phone to check for achievements and requirements, and found I barely slept that night with excitement. Yeah, really... go ahead, laugh it off.

It was a surprise to see two achievements automatically added even before I played the new content. Another set of five achievements came with Morituri, making the total go up an extra 250 points:
Trueblood (50) - Perform 1000 Executions in Multiplayer
Master of the Colosseum (50) - Reach Rank 200
A Walk in the Park (50) - Perform 30 Environmental Executions in Forbidden Forest
Mmmm, Beacon (50) - Complete Beacon
You Shall Put No Other Gods Before Me! (50) - Complete False Gods

This time around, you can also play as King Oswald, the latest skin to be added. Much like Glott, I feel he's out of place in the Colosseum, or at least, on the wrong side of the battle. It would be more appropriate for him to be fighting hordes of Centurions and Praetorian guards instead of barbarians. Not to mention that every time you taunt your enemies, the shouts will be heard in Marius' voice. Awkward, to say the least. I personally would have loved to have seen Vitallion as a skin instead, but my dreams have been crushed.

Morituri brings around three brand new solo maps, and I have to say, it felt super clumsy coming back to the game after this long pause, especially during executions, and it took me a couple of rounds to get back into it.

False Gods takes the familiar Egyptian theme and elements from previous maps while adding new goals. You must burn the false gods, destroy the catapults and desecrate the temple, which gets quite claustrophobic with all the barbarians, fire and spinning traps within enclosed walls. You can then have a nice long stroll through the rooftops, which makes it seem like the map is huge and you're fairly high up. Quite the different perspective up there!

Beacon has you infiltrating enemy territory at night. You must free the prisoners first, then hold your ground and defeat barbarians while you light up a beacon in order to call for reinforcements. Reinforcements do come, and with them you'll need to dodge the projectiles while dispatching the final horde. Not to sound like a home and garden show, but I really like the landscape, greenery and waterfalls in this map. It's also interesting to turn around and see part of it change into Roman buildings and statues, and see the soldiers gathering on the other side. Beacon is a challenging map because of its night time setting, since you can barely see anything in certain spots. Next time I'll put on the Commodus skin for contrast purposes, since while using Damocles I can't even see where I am in the shadows.

Revolution was slightly confusing the first time around, as I really had no idea where to go. Yes, I saw the markers, but the path was initially deceiving, and I kept trying to vault over things that weren't... "vaultable". Revolution takes place on Roman ruins, where you must release the engineers and defend the area as they rebuild the statues, the bridge and restore the empire to its former glory. I like how the map changes drastically by going from ruins to splendor and from night to day. The scorpio sequence while defending the bridge is also quite fun, but I'm not so good at it. Besides, letting the guys through and beating them up is more fun and earns me more Valor.

The previously existing Market and Garden maps from Arena have also been optimized and made available for Solo play, so hooray for all these new options! I'm really happy to have more grounds to play in on my own.

Survival counts with two new additions, Forbidden Forest and Sulfur River. Forbidden Forest has plenty to make your life hell: projectiles, archers and tons of explosive barrels that are close enough to each other to cause chain reactions. There are also pits and plenty of wall spikes for environmental executions, which is one of the new achievements. I did venture into this map while waiting for a friend to hop on. Twice. The first time it was blantantly obvious that the other person was going for the achievements, so he kept trying to push every barbarian towards the spikes in a narrow passage. Fortunately, I had the common sense to keep executing as much as possible to keep both of us alive, because the achievement will sooner or later be done. It got to the point where we could barely stand up and dodge the catapult blast areas anymore.

Sulfur River was the setting of the new Challenge (survive for 30 minutes), and honestly, I didn't expect it to be easy, so I was prepared to die a few times on close calls before getting it. After moments of panic because we could barely see what was going on in there in the middle of lava spurts from grids, rains of projectiles and crazy waves of barbarians, we found a "comfort zone" to work with and it went quite well. We thought it was game over at 28:00 but we made it, on our first attempt! I guess all the practice with the Island helped, as did health regen gear and revival potions equipped on both slots. Friendly advice: turn up the brightness on your TV and don't go dressed up as Damocles, I didn't even know where I was in those dark corners. At least using Focus with Apollo lights up the place nicely, even if temporarily!

I found that the major differences in the new maps were random bear traps on the ground, more opportunities for environmental kills, and more of the tougher barbarians. And as in previous content, new maps based on the new elements were also added to the Arena: Barbarians at the Gate, Wrath of Rome and Mars Triumphant. At least I think so, there are so many maps in the Arena now that I'm officially lost figuring out which ones belongs to what DLC.

I was expecting a Tier 7 to bring me new gear, but I guess I have some really high expectations. I have all this pile of gold and no more Tier 6 stuff to purchase! Maybe I should just buy all the lower Tiers now, but that seems pointless.

The Morituri Pack is now available on Xbox One for $8.99, and it's free for Season Pass holders. And with the final DLC released, the question is, now what? Are we really done? Will there be another Ryse in the future? Could we maybe have a prequel with Vitallion as the main character?

As for this Daughter of Rome... I will be playing on occasion and climbing the ranks at my own pace - the goal is 300 for now, and I'm almost there - and to find and witness all the easter eggs on my own. But what I'm really doing is trying to come to terms with the fact that this is it for content, and secretly hope there will be at least some random challenges every now and again to keep me busy.

So thank you Crytek and Ryse team for the 100+ hours of fun you've given me so far! Now excuse me while I go cry in a corner...

Learn more about Ryse: Son of Rome in our Mars' Chosen and Duel of Fates content packs, and meet the actor who plays Marius Titus in our interview with John Hopkins.

For more videos of Ryse: Son of Rome browse the playlist below: