I'll keep it short, Ryse is a pretty game - one who's production values (visuals, set pieces, voice work and character acting) would be no less at home in a major summer blockbuster film. Aside from those positives however we have a game that just doesn't feel as epic as it wants us to believe it is. From the start of the game, to it's conclusion players will be performing the same 3 or so tasks over and over. You will fight a group of enemies, stop for a turret section or explore very linear environments with the occasional "boss" fight thrown in. Of the very small amount of gameplay Ryse asks of you, the combat is the definite star.
The combat in Ryse will feel very familiar to anyone who has played any of the batman Arkham games, though a little less free flowing. You have your basic attacks, heavy attacks and countering at your disposal. To mix it up a little the developers included a "fatality" system in which you must stagger your enemy to initiate a QTE event. These finishing moves are brutal and amazing to witness the first 10 or 15 times but somewhere along the way, somewhere near the 300th decapitation you really become numb to it all.
Players can also spend the experience gained from combat to level up certain characteristics, though I never really felt that this added a whole lot to the over all game. The aforementioned turret sections and boss battles however do not fair as well as the combat in Ryse, these sections feel more like a desperate attempt to pad the games length than a meaningful feature.
I will say however that besides the issues I have with the game, there is something of a decent beat-em-up here. The combat and the gorgeous visuals make for a solid rental at best, though I can't say I would recommend a full retail purchase of this title as I just do not feel there is enough meat on its bones. There is a decent framework here for a future attempt, though the game is going to need to have more than 1 polished mechanic.