Ryse: Son of Rome's E3 show didn't do a terribly good job of conveying the game's subtleties, Crytek producer Michael Read has admitted. The build shown at the expo was very much work in progress, he told Siliconera in an interview - you can expect more elaborate, tactical brawling with less signposting once Ryse hits shelves.
We probed Microsoft Studios' James Goddard on the subject ourselves following Ryse's demo at the Xbox press event, and we're reassured to hear that it's a lot more complex than it looks. According to Read, many of the key combat mechanics are still being finalised, which is why Crytek brought an incomplete, purposefully dumbed-down version to the show.
For starters, you can hold buttons to charge up heavier versions of the standard attack and shield bash, and combine these to create knockback moves such as a shield bash followed by a kick. There won't be any button prompts when performing executions in the final build - you'll need to watch out for less obvious visual and audio cues in order to nail the timing.
It's impossible to fail an execution, but the better you time it, the more in-game boosts you'll unlock. Read shed light on an intriguing system that allows you to specify execution benefits via the D-pad before launching into the fray. If you're hurting, you might plump for health boosts, whereas if you're anxious to unlock new executions, you could prioritise XP. Button inputs will apparently correspond to limbs when performing executions - X is your right arm, for instance.
"What you're going to see in the final game, you're going to see various levels of difficulty from easy mode I think up to nightmare," Read explained. "I don't know if they have decided on that. But, what's going to change in there is the amount of the damage that enemies [are] going to do to you and how accurate that [you'll need to be] at blocking.
It'll take more than a few blows to trigger an execution state, depending on the foe. "Some of the higher archetype guys, I mean they are going to take a lot of hits. We are going to throw some stupid guys in there, where it's probably going to take two hits, especially early on in the game to get you used to the control system and how that all works. There's a lot we should have explained. We didn't do a good job of doing that."
Apparently, throwing in all the unpolished additional design elements would have resulted in an "awful experience", but Read does worry that "we simplified things a little bit too much" for the occasion. What's your mileage? Read more about the game's multiplayer unlocks and storyline here.