‘Rise of the Ronin’ game review: Offers new combat depth but familiar challenge

Rise of the Ronin
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The gaming landscape, where the Soulsborne lineage, pioneered by FromSoftware, reigns supreme, sees an ambitious contender in Nioh from Team Ninja. Recognized for its intricate weapon specialization abilities and the addition of distinctive weapons such as the Kusarigama, Nioh carved a niche for itself with its intricate yet fluid fighting mechanics. In the shadow of Elden Ring‘s success, Team Ninja has boldly unveiled Rise of the Ronin, a game drenched in the cinematic artistry of Japan’s historical backdrop. It narrates the tale of a Blade Twin, who embarks on a daring mission to reclaim their imprisoned twin amid the politically tumultuous era of Edo Japan.

The clandestine ninja society known as The Veiled Edge readies the Blade Twins to become formidable covert fighters. Following a botched attempt on the life of Matthew Perry, a Westerner and naval officer, you step into the shoes of the surviving twin. Your quest leads you through the historical turmoil of the Edo era’s closing days, a period marked by the collision of Western influence against Japan’s traditional regime. Your journey will take you through pivotal locations such as Yokohama, Kyoto, and Edo, where Westernisation takes root right before your eyes.

Rise of the Ronin

Developer: Team Ninja

Publisher: Koei Tecmo

Price: ₹4999 on PlayStation 5

Despite Team Ninja’s clear love for alternative takes on historical Japan, Rise of the Ronin struggles to carve out a unique niche. Akin to Assassin’s Creed, the story becomes tangled and struggles to connect with its audience. Its open-world, while visually impressive in its portrayal of lush sceneries and bustling towns, like those seen in Ghost of Tsushima and The Witcher 3, often comes off as hollow when it comes to interactions that matter. The game’s variety of quests and faction choices appear to have little real consequence on the world around you.

The game’s redesigned combat, debuting the innovative Counterspark feature, stands as its central pillar. This fresh element allows for stunning counterattacks when perfectly timed, adding a new tactical layer to each skirmish. Team Ninja has further improved the weapon specializations with new fighting styles, inviting players to thoughtfully select combinations and strategies for quicker, more effective encounters. The game’s challenging edge, which will remind players of Sekiro, calls for an adept handle on aggression and timing to conquer its combat.

On the graphical front, Rise of the Ronin might not meet the high standards set by similar titles. The character animations could use more fluidity, and the game grapples with establishing a distinct visual identity. Nevertheless, those who hold the Nioh series close to heart and crave a deep samurai RPG will find much to delve into. Although it may test your patience, the game’s layered complexity and fighting system solidify its place in the action RPG realm.

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