Rise of the Ronin: Mixed Feelings on Action Game

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Fact Details
Title Rise of the Ronin
Genre Action, Adventure
Developer Team Ninja
Publisher Sony
Platforms PlayStation 5
Release Date 22nd March 2024
Setting Feudal Japan
Playable Character Ronin
Gameplay Features
  • Dynamic sword combat
  • Exploration of feudal Japan
  • Quests and missions
  • Character progression
  • Decision-making impacting story

Ambitious Fiction

Rise of the Ronin presents satisfying combat alongside an ambitious historical fiction narrative, though certain elements weigh it down.

Players control twin assassins seeking revenge in mid-19th century Japan. Customization offers robust character creation before missions to infiltrate the Black Ships and shape the nation's future. Actual missions, played solo or with friends, provide the best experiences - particularly the standalone variety allowing dynamic combat.

Game Dynamics

Few excel at action gameplay like Team Ninja, and Rise of the Ronin demonstrates their skill through flexible, balanced weapon styles featuring techniques like Ninja Gaiden's Izuna Drop. However, some weapons receive more depth than others. While the story explores thoughtful themes and features memorable moments, its scope risks dilution. At its best, Rise of the Ronin capitalizes on Team Ninja's strengths through thrilling combat set amid an intriguing period.



Rise of the Ronin's combat requires managing Ki through attacks and blocks to avoid being vulnerable. Choosing a style that counters opponents allows wearing down their Ki until staggered for critical hits dealing high damage. Additional weapons like bows and smoke bombs provide flexibility. Fights look and feel impactful, especially critical hits dismembering foes.

As with the genre, enemies are aggressive and lethal. Death means respawning minus karma at the last site, with vendetta against the killer. Rekilling restores karma, creating high-stakes duels. In some boss fights, success demands advanced techniques be learned from punishing patterns plus the unlocking off bonuses will help.

Countersparking deflects while staggering is key. The timing is small but rewards huge by staggering foes for punishment. It can deflect unblockables and block projectiles. Additional abilities and a grappling rope add complexity. Fights feel unfair initially but learning patterns enables mastery.

Character Growth

Character growth through a skill tree for primary stats rewards chosen playstyles. Side quests increase bonds for combat styles and rewards. Customizing a home and redoing missions prevents missing content. Thoughtful features aid understanding combat and story advancing non-linearly. Rise of the Ronin provides a polished Soulslike experience through its combat and systems.

In Rise of the Ronin, you can see your friends' characters exploring the world and challenge them to battles, which adds to the sense of an active world. The core combat and cooperative elements work well. However, the game is overwhelmed by an excessive amount of loot and side content.

Rise-of-the-Ronin gameplay

Side Quests

Enemies constantly drop mostly useless gear, resulting in hundreds of weapons and armor by the end of a few missions. While you can upgrade and dismantle items, it's not enough to offset the avalanche of pointless loot. Most items are just stat modifiers and don't meaningfully change gameplay.

Even optional side activities like finding cats and dogs or photography are undercut by focusing on loot rewards. This distracts from the fun main missions and combat. Managing excessive inventory pulls the player away from the best parts of the game.

While side content is optional, some objectives feel required to progress. The game would have benefited from fewer repetitive "cross off the map" tasks and more substantial additions like cooperative scaling and infiltration. An excess of maps and loot leaves the impression that checked boxes replaced a focused vision. Under the clutter is a good game, but an edited version could have stood out more among Soulslikes.

Final Thoughts

Rise of the Ronin successfully combines an engaging historical setting with challenging combat design reminiscent of Team Ninja's expertise. The inclusion of thoughtful role-playing elements further enhances both the solo and cooperative experiences. Minor details, like utilizing the grappling rope or landing from a glider onto a horse, add appreciated nuance. However, an overabundance of map markers, bloated progression systems, and excessive low-value loot accumulation detract from the experience. Managing non-critical interfaces and sorting through unwarranted items induces a desire for increased focus on core gameplay. At its best, Rise of the Ronin emphasizes its compelling combat through disciplined, rewarding encounters. But frequently, apparent internal conflicts between ambition and expectation undermine coherence, preventing full realization of its potential, even for the most skillful ronin.


Rating 7

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