Ryse Duel of Fates Review: Take up your sword

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Ryse Duel of Fates

Ryse: Son of Rome - Duel of Fates
Price: $8.99
System(s): Xbox One
Release Date:April 25,2014
Publisher (Developer): Microsoft(Crytek)
ESRB Rating: Mature for Violence/Gore

Ryse has been a controversial game for some. While it is certainly one of the prettiest games on Xbox One, many found its gameplay to be repetitive and simplistic. But, there are still plenty more people who found the story and setting engaging and the multiplayer fun. Those likely season pass holders have been waiting two months for Duel of Fates, the third of four promised packs for Ryse: Son of Rome.

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New maps invite you back into the arena.

Ryse‘s Duel of Fates is a perfect pack for achievement hunters, as you can crank out 200 gamerscore in about an hour. If you’ve already reached level 150, that one will have popped automatically. The Barbarous and Invictus maps are definite improvements over the Mars Pack’s maps, and even most of the ones found in the regular multiplayer lineup. There’s more of a narrative feel to the progression, and after 6 months of grinding the same arenas, a change of venue is quite refreshing.

Invictus is a full-on frontal assault that takes you to a damaged bridge, which can only be rebuilt with the blood of your enemy. On the other side is a final test of your bravery and skill as you take on dozens of enemies at once. Barbarous has players defending the streets of Rome against Barbarian invaders, including an underground sequence that links the two large venues.

The final Ryse Duel of Fates map is Island takes the promise of Survival mode, and fixes a bunch of the flaws in the original levels. It is a small piece of land surrounded by pits and water. Hordes of enemies pour out of hatches, while hails of unstoppable arrows rain down constantly on large swaths of the board. The wide open spaces present in the Mars pack were detrimental to both helping your partner, and keeping the kind of constant stabbing necessary to deal with the constant acceleration of your life drain. Island is essentially a circle with a peg in the middle, and enemies coming from all points of the compass. This is the single best level in the game for grinding XP, as it’s close quarters, and enemies are plentiful. Stay on the hatch juts and you’ll avoid the arrows and stay alive to rack up max points.

You can see how it works here in this video.

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A Fast Fun Experience

Ryse hasn’t gotten a fair shake in my opinion. While it’s certainly not the badass Kinect game promised all those years ago, it’s gorgeous, and fun to play. But like so many other near-launch next-gen titles in this, and generations before it, it’s short and a bit simplistic, likely only realizing its true potential in a sequel. Duel of Fates is a fun DLC, fast gamerscore, and worth re-installing the game for. Duel of Fates is available individually fir $8.99, or as a part of the $19.99 season pass on the Xbox One Store.

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