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Rise of the Ronin Review



 

Developer: Team Ninja

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Reviewed on: PS5

Also available on: PS5 exclusive

Release: 22nd March 2024

Rating: MA15+

Price: $109

 

Rise of the Ronin offers a captivating blend of immersive storytelling and intense action gameplay. Developed as a PS5 exclusive it transports players to a feudal Japan, immersing them in a fastidious designed world filled with samurai honour, political intrigue and intense combat. As a Ronin, players are to embark on a quest for redemption, navigating a wonderfully crafted landscape filled with moral dilemmas from the get go.



From the moment you step into the world of Rise of the Ronin, the art style and visual fidelity are immediately striking. Powered by the PS5’s advanced hardware capabilities, the game showcases stunningly realistic environments, highly detailed character models and extremely smooth animations. In a similar vein to Ghosts of Tsushima, every blade of grass blowing in the wind tells a story, every raindrop glistens in the moonlight and every swing of your sword feels meaningful and impactful. While on the surface it may seem slightly similar to Ghost of Tsushima that's where the similarities start and also, kind of end. At its core Rise of the Ronin offers a seamless fusion of combat with an ever so slightly more measured approach rather than an all out hack and slash. Devastating combos, perfectly timed parries and dodges offer a satisfying blend of precision, timing and strategy. Each encounter feels quite dynamic with the enemy AI posing a formidable challenge that rewards skill over aggression.



Aside from the combat, the exploration is equally compelling, the vast open-world ripe for the picking. From hidden temples to treacherous mountains there's something to discover just about everywhere. Every corner of the map hides secrets to uncover or challenges to overcome. The world itself feels very much alive, the dynamic and ever changing weather, the bustling NPC activity really adds a sense of immersion to your gameplay. The story itself is probably a standout of Rise of the Ronin and something I wasn't expecting. Don't get me wrong I expected a lore rich backstory as true in all feudal Japanese games. But what I wasn't expecting was the depth in which this would unfold. Sony has a reputation for delivering quality dialogue and cutscenes in just about all its exclusives and this one does not disappoint. The cast of characters are very interesting, each with their own motivations, flaws and each adds something to the already excellent narrative. The narrative itself  is very well paced, delivering an array of twists and turns that truly keep you gripped and at times on the edge of your seat. Player choices carry significant weight and consequences, influencing the outcome of certain events. Every decision feels meaningful adding a layer of depth to the overall narrative of the game.


Feudal Japan is the perfect backdrop to incredible music, it usually doesn't disappoint. So it is no surprise that the sound design and music here is absolutely incredible. From the clashing of swords to the rustling of the leaves in the wind, each and every sound is carefully crafted to enhance the already impressive sense of immersion. The music itself, blends traditional japanese with a modern orchestra and truly is both heart wrenching and extremely peaceful at times. Overall the music perfectly captures the emotion and spirit of feudal Japan.



Overall, Rise of the Ronin stands as yet another example of what a Playstation exclusive embodies. An excellently written and delivered through a combination of immersive dialogue and impressive cutscenes. It looks incredible, it's engaging, and if you're willing to work at it, it's as rewarding as it is unforgiving. Whether you're a fan of action games in general, A+ storytelling or just Japanese history, Rise of the Ronin is a must play for anyone with a PS5. There is a level of difficulty if you only usually play on easy, but nothing too tortuous. Do yourself a favour, give Rise of the Ronin a go.




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