It's been 10 months since the release of Ryse on Xbox One - one of the most fascinating games of the next-gen launch period. Crytek's hack-and-slash title stood proud as one of the most technologically advanced - and utterly beautiful - games of that wonderful, chaotic period. While the technological prowess of the Microsoft console came under repeated fire at launch, Ryse demonstrated that Xbox One was a contender - that it could compete. There was just one problem - for all its technical sophistication, the extremely repetitive gameplay was a severe disappointment.
It's been tough at Crytek this year.
When it comes to advancing the state of real-time rendering technology, Crytek has long stood at the forefront of the industry. With its first console-exclusive title, Ryse ushers in both the next generation of consoles and the latest iteration of its advanced middleware, CryEngine. Yet, when it was revealed back in September that Ryse would operate at 900p, it stirred up controversy that would explode over the coming months. Crytek has maintained that the sub-native presentation was its choice rather than a hurdle in delivering the best combination of image quality and performance. So the question is, does Ryse succeed where other sub-1080p titles have failed?
Short, immensely repetitive, and only really playable in short bursts without boredom setting in - it's fair to say that Ryse: Son of Rome is far from the most thrilling offering available for Microsoft's new console. However, in terms of rendering technology, it can be argued that the CryEngine-powered title is one of the most visually impressive launch titles available. There are points - many of them - where this game is simply breathtaking, with an overall presentation that is very filmic in nature, making it stand apart from the pack.
With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One around the corner, and with performance tests of both Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 present and correct, the next generation console power debate is in full force - and there's an early frontrunner.
In our graphics cards tests, there's one game that's our go-to title when carrying out gameplay performance analysis: Crysis 3. Crytek's last game is a technological showcase: one of the very few games built with next-gen development in mind, and the best stress test for the latest AMD, Nvidia and Intel GPU technologies. With the next-gen console zero-hour approaching, we reached out to Crytek to talk tech - to discuss how their multi-platform engine was ported onto next-gen, what the company view was of the new Sony and Microsoft architecture, and of course to sneak in a few questions about Ryse.
Xbox One has a mammoth 23 games confirmed for release on day one in November, more than many expected - but there's a distinct lack of role-playing games available to play.
It's just as easy to bash Ryse, Crytek's hyper-real, ultra-violent Roman Empire brawler, as it is to shield bash one of its barbarian enemies with a press of the Y button.
Such is the fleeting nature of any experience with a video game at E3, the industry's annual get together in Los Angeles. Presentations are prepared so explosions pop out of giant screens, key pillars are memorised so press leave with the right message, and development teams tune demos so difficulty is near non-existent.
So, I always try to pull my punches when it comes to casting the hammer blow of judgement down on an E3 demo - particularly if that judgement is a negative one. But in Ryse's case, it's hard to.