Microsoft’s Xbox one reveal wasn’t the most celebrated event around, even if there were a few head turning moments. Much of the focus was on the DRM, daily activation, potential privacy concerns, and all the other issues we talked about for weeks after. However with regards to the games themselves, Ryse: Son of Rome, while pretty, took a bashing for the huge, quick time event, button hints that would appear over the heads of enemies you were fighting. This looked set to be a huge immersion killer and made the game seem far too easy, so Crytek have made it all a bit more subtle.
“The QTE thing, yeah, we totally get it,” said design director PJ Esteves while speaking with Eurogamer. “Coming out of E3 we were like, we put all this damn time into the facial animation and what do you see? An X button.”
They wanted to keep the quick time system – understandably, it’s pretty late in the day for an overhaul – for the executions, but making it more subtle was certainly in order. To achieve that goal, instead of a big button hint appearing, now the enemies flash briefly with an outline that’s linked to the colour of the button you need to press.
The effect, showcased in the trailer below, is certainly more subtle, but I can’t help find the camera angles a bit distracting. It’s impressive and very movie like how they swoosh around and zoom in and out, but this is a game, not a movie.[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA88bWXUo_o’]
The game does look very pretty and has a mixture of combat styles. A bit of God of War, a bit of Batman. It’s better for sure so it’s nice to see Crytek listening to fans, but you can’t help but wonder why they didn’t realise this in the first place.
“We went to Andy Serkis and The Imaginarium. We worked with some of the best performance capture people and all you saw was this X icon,” Esteves explained. “Our cinematics director was like, you’re killing me man!”
When did he say this though? Before the Xbox One reveal event? If so, why wasn’t he listened to?
Another mechanic that has irked gamers is the no-fail aspect of quick-time executions. Even if you miss the timing, it’ll still happen and you’ll get some reward based on your character’s chosen attributes; maybe you’ll gain a health boost or your damage will go up temporarily. There will be levels to this, so if you get the timing spot on you’ll get more of a reward, but even pressing nothing will net you a small gain.
However to make combat more dynamic, Esteves also said that the AI has been improved. They apparently now mob the player, surrounding him and attacking as a unit. “When you’re doing something for E3 trying to get our message straight, maybe we dumbed down the AI a little too much, but when people play it now, they’ll say, holy crap, these guys are surrounding me. When they surround you, there are behaviours and attack patterns where they’re trying to work together, which is a new dynamic in this sort of crowd control combat game.”
Ryse: Son of Rome is set for release along with the Xbox One, sometime in November.
KitGuru Says: This is certainly a big improvement over what we saw at the unveiling of the Xbox One, but it still doesn’t look as good as other group combat games like Batman Arkham City and certainly not as dynamic as the combat system in something like Dark Souls – though not every game needs to be as unforgiving as that one.