[Update: The reviews are in and Ryse sucks]
If you were hoping to get in some early thoughts of Ryse: Son of Rome before the game actually launched, think again. Other than the extremely polar hands-on previews out there praising and lamenting the game like critics and average users fighting over whether Pacific Rim was a good movie, you won't find any reviews of Ryse: Son of Rome rolling out with the rest of the Xbox One games that have been reviewed.
Dead Rising 3, Crimson Dragon and Killer Instinct are currently being reviewed up and down like Barack Obama's birth certificate. While it's already been noted that Dead Rising 3 offers a fair bit of fun at the expense of more frame stutter than a rickety old Pinto with a sputtering engine, the one game that's completely missing from the review line-up is Crytek's Ryse: Son of Rome.
The game's reviews are no where to be seen because the embargo from Microsoft is still in place for Ryse and it will stay in place up until Novemeber 21st, just a day before the Xbox One launches.
So how did it become apparent that Ryse's reviews are being delayed up until a day before the big Xbox One launch this weekend? Well, IGN rolled out a complete review itinerary for all things Xbox.
The only game that's embargoed later than Ryse is the multiplayer component of Zoo Tycoon, and that's very reasonable given that IGN notes that the multiplayer isn't available pre-launch, which means that the review would be incomplete if a mode isn't available for proper critique.
However, with Ryse there is no technical reason why the reviews are being withheld so late (or so close) for the launch of the Xbox One. This is especially troubling given that Ryse is supposed to be the Xbox One's definitive launch title; the Mario to Nintendo; the Killzone or Crash Bandicoot to PlayStation; the Virtua Fighter to Sega, and the Plumbers Don't Wear Ties to the 3DO.
Some gamers believe that Ryse has created such a rift in the scoring from major review publications that Microsoft is hoping to hold back a lot of the negative press until the day before the system launches, giving gamers very little time to do proper research on the title before heading out to buy the game. It also limits potential viral spread of negativity, given that whether the reviews are positive or negative by the time they pick up traction the Xbox One's massive launch event – and all the PR surrounding it – will likely overshadow any negative social media talk attached to Ryse.
Of course, there's always the possibility that the game is so awesome that it's just too much awesome to let reviewers get in on the action early, and Microsoft wants to withhold that awesome until a day before the system launches. However that scenario has never played out in real life and has never been applicable to any game release.
Staving off negative press for Ryse will only last so long, though. Given that GameInformer's preview was pretty scathing, the likelihood is that Microsoft is just trying to buy time before the Metacritic aggregate hammer drops hard and fast on Ryse. Heck, even the embargo wrangling Mirosoft used for Call of Duty: Ghosts didn't help too much amidst all the controversy over Resolutiongate.
Nevertheless, we'll find out how well Ryse turns out when the embargos lift for the game on November 21st.