Some of the reviews I have read lead me to belive that Ryse was just a hack and slash game. After putting some time in the game I found that you can absolutely button mash if you just want to get through the combat. That's not too sophisticated. HOWEVER, if you take the time to learn the combat mechanics, it has depth to it. And the reward system alows you to choose how your character will look, level up and carry out attacks. Not to mention this game is very stylistic and beautifully rendered.
Let's get this out of the way right now. Yes, it suffers from a bit of repetition that starts about half way through the game simply due to the combat, but everything else is stellar. The levels are different from act to act, the story is great, the combat is visceral and intense, the game is the best looking one I've seen so far and you really won't want to put it down before you beat it. It's like a cross between the movies King Arthur, Gladiator and 300... excellent.