Microsoft reflects on Ryse review scores: “Metacritic is a complicated topic”

Friday, 14th February 2014 10:45 GMT By Dave Cook

Ryse: Son of Rome’s middling review scores have been discussed by Microsoft Studios head Mike Ybarra, who suggests that despite the numbers, plenty of people still enjoyed Crytek’s skull-crushing Roman epic.

Crytek’s development crunch towards the end of Ryse development created a deal of controversy in the industry and served as the basis for my investigation into crunch-time culture. Read it for a harrowing, damning look at the way developers are crunched.

Speaking with MyXboxLive about the game’s critical reception, Ybarra said, “Metacritic is a complicated topic in our industry. At first, it was hard to see the numbers as they were lower than we wanted. That’s always hard on any game team that puts a lot of time and effort into a game.

“On the other hand, we did see a lot of gamers saying they loved the game. If you look on Amazon, we are rated 4 out of 5 stars by direct consumers. While there were certainly things we wished we could have gotten in the game and we understand the key criticism, we are proud of Ryse and think it is a fun experience for our audience.”

Elsewhere, Ybarra explaiend that Crytek’s priority with Ryse was to make it a visual show-piece for the new Xbox One console. “From the very first concept phase of Ryse, we knew making the game visually stunning was important,” he explained.

“It’s really a set of trade-offs that are made across a wide range of different topics from effects, resolution, scripted/dynamic instances, etc. that when added up brings together both the visual and emotional experience you want users to have.

“I think the point that gets lost a lot is that it’s all a game of trade-offs. Resolution alone is not the final determination regarding if a game looks great or not, it’s one of many different levers and it’s up to the game teams to decide what is best for their unique game experience.”

What did you think of Ryse: Son of Rome? Let us know below.

Via OXM.



  1. diego-rbb-93

    “Ybarra explaiend that Crytek’s priority with Ryse was to make it a visual show-piece for the new Xbox One console”.

    So you left all the gameplay mechanics out. Douchebag. For real. I mean, wtf did you expected? That your game would be acclaimed by all industry only because of stunning visuals settings? Even God Of War 3 suffered from some replayed mechanics but damn, it had it stronge base based in a good gameplay sistem.

    Something was left behind in Crytek after Crysis 2 development started.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. tezzer1985

    I completed Ryse, found it very boring and lacking real substance, neither less it was a beautiful looking game, interested to see what they do with a Ryse 2

    #2 11 months ago
  3. Panthro


    Yep, Crytek after Crysis 2 have just nosedived in my opinion.

    Crysis 1 = Awesome
    Far Cry 1 = Awesome
    Far Cry 2 = Playable but ultimately unoriginal as hell

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Panthro

    I meant Crysis 2 ^

    Damn edit button.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. Mike W

    Ryse’s repetitiveness and those God-awful quick time events killed it from being a decent game. The only good thing I have to say about it is that it’s indeed a gorgeous looking game and gives me hope what MS has in store for us this year.

    But staying on topic, it’s publisher’s own fault for feeding into metacritic’s bullshit system.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. Ge0force

    @Mike W Ryse has great graphics, but the gameplay is very boring, repetitive and uninspired. But since a lot of gamers bought the game anyway and some even liked it, you can expect more game with great graphics but no gameplay in this generation.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. azrael8577

    I liked the game. This is why I take reviews with a grain of salt because really they are just someone else’s opinion, not gospel. Some people found it repetitive, I didn’t. I got so into it that I caught myself saying the “fire volley” voice command as if I were Maximus from Gladiator.

    While I prefer frame rate, for the most part, over graphics, Ryse did put a smile on my face the 1st time I played it

    #7 11 months ago
  8. Doppleganger

    I will never take reviews serious again, as I borrowed Ryse off a friend and passed the game and still ended up buying it my self as I really loved the game.
    The only thing I found boring and repetitive is the online coop but the single player Im doing over again on legendary and I still love it!

    #8 11 months ago
  9. mistermogul

    “If you look on Amazon, we are rated 4 out of 5 stars by direct consumers.”

    Yes but if you look on Metacritic, they are rated 5.9 by direct consumers.

    If it had a Metacritic score of 90+ I’m sure they would be singing a different tune!

    #9 11 months ago
  10. bobnice

    I liked the game for sure. Sure the combat is repetitive, but so is every hack & slash game. The ending was pretty bad ass I have to say. All in all I would have given the game a 7.5 – 8.0 for a review, not the crap scores these journalists gave it. I actually own both next gen systems and own every game and have to say it’s the prettiest game out there with Killzone coming in a close 2nd. I would also rather play this than Killzone Shadow fall, that game is also repetitive but still fun to play.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. karma

    It still sounds like they think what they like, is something that everybody else SHOULD like too.

    Personally I never played it and I never will because I dont like the look of any of the trailers. Even if the gameplay was somehow amazing and not what it looked like, a QTE infused game that wanted to be movie, I would still never play it, simply because I have zero interest in the subject matter.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. kimikazio

    lol that’s because they cant pay metacritic to tell everybody the same lie “our game is awesome, buy it, and also buy some dlc”

    metacritic are user’s reviews. player’s free reviews. so those can be trusted, and not websites’ where M$ cames first with a bunch of dollars entitled: “tell everyone that our game is the best”.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. Ireland Michael

    Deflection of blame is the most unoriginal and lazy PR tactics in the book, but then, it’s not like they’re going to just outright admit that it’s a bad game.

    #13 11 months ago
  14. azrael8577

    @kimikazio User review scores are even more untrustworthy, look at how Call of Duty got dive bombed on Metacritic from user reviews and Battlefield 3 on Gamefly. If I want a game, nobody’s gonna talk me out of it. If I don’t want a game, nobody’s gonna talk me into it. I’ve played too many games that I like that got low review scores and hated on by gamers and watched too many “crap” movies that I enjoyed to take other people’s opinions as gospel.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. ddtd

    @karma – I wouldn’t say it was a QTE fest. You could play most of the game without doing the QTEs (I think some boss battles had mandatory events), and on the higher difficulties it was actually rather challenging, and the combat was thoughtful (not button mashing at all).

    Ryse’s problem was that it was so GOD DAMNED BORING.

    Seriously, it was ridiculous how static the gameplay was. After the first two chapters there was nothing new to do. No new abilities, no new weapons to use, no new enemy types to fight.

    The only reason I kept playing was because the story was okay enough to keep me interested, but by the end I was utterly exhausted from the rinse and repeat gameplay.

    I think part of this had to do with Crytek’s decision to keep the combat grounded in reality and as historically accurate as they could. Therefore, being a Roman soldier, it was just sword and board the whole game (with a very awkward and useless ranged attack thrown in).

    #15 11 months ago
  16. AbigailHolt29

    First time i trusted an online job add and managed to make 90$ in 5 hours… CashStoredcom

    #16 11 months ago
  17. Mr Sparkle

    @Panthro Crytek had nothing to do with Far Cry 2. Ubisoft published AND developed that one.

    #17 10 months ago
  18. Panthro

    @Mr Sparkle

    Which is why I commented underneath the post correcting myself to say I meant Crysis 2…

    #18 10 months ago
  19. dkpunk

    I’m with some of other guys here. I loved this game. I wrote it off after the reviews then came across it a month ago. Just beat it last night and I thought it was great. Gameplay can sometimes get a little boring but it’s fun no doubt. Of course the graphics are the best I’ve seen so far this gen. Just goes to show you can’t listen to the reviews.

    #19 10 months ago

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