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It is a time of crisis. The Roman Empire is besieged by barbarian armies and is on the verge of collapse. In these troubled times, you command Roman soldier Marius Titus. When barbarians murder his family, he embarks on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that takes him on a brutal campaign to the shores of Britannia as he climbs the ranks of The Glory That Was Rome.

Ryse: Son of Rome is an Xbox One game developed by Crytek. Previously slated for an Xbox360 release, it was re-tooled into a launch title for the Xbox One, then later ported to PC.


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The tropes are:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: No, a scorpio could not shoot a bolt a second. Not to mention the copious amounts of Exploding Barrels all over the place. However, the aim here is fun, not accuracy.
  • Acrofatic: Give credit to Emperor Nero, he runs pretty fast for an obese ruler.
  • Action Girl: Boudica.
  • Action Politician: Leontius Titus, Marius' father, was a general in the army and a popular member of the senate. Popular enough that a jealous Nero arranged his murder to get rid of him.
  • Adaptational Villainy: There's no indication in Classical Mythology that the god Boreas/Aquilo hated civilization or schemed to destroy Rome.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Who knew that the Coliseum could transform its very foundation into a beachhead, a forest, and a marble platform in mere seconds? The big fancy elevator in Basilius's Den of Iniquity also counts.
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  • Aerith and Bob: On the one hand, you have ancient Roman names and Boudica herself. On the other hand, Boudica's father has the name Oswald, and at least one of the ancient Britons is called Keenan.
  • Alone with the Psycho: While Marius himself isn't a psycho, it becomes increasingly clear to Nero as the game reaches its climax that he's trapped himself in the room with the very man that has sworn to kill him.
  • Alternate History: The end implies that thanks to Marius' actions, the Roman Empire never fell, surviving to the modern ages, as in the final shot of Marius' Triumphal Memorial Column, one can see both a church and the intact Coliseum.
  • Ancient Grome: While the game has a Roman setting, there are Greek mythological figures instead of Roman ones. Damocles was a hypothetical character from a Greek moral tale, and Nemesis is a Greek goddess (although she does appear on Imperial coinage, such as her variant "Pax-Nemesis" [placated vengeance] shortly after Claudius become emperor.) And when observing the wickerman in Scotland, Vitallion makes reference to a "gateway to Hades" when he should really be saying Pluto.
    • Vitallion using a Greek term is not unlikely: most private teachers for the noble families were Greek AND Romans worshipped her as Nemesis themselves. Also, while Pluto is the Roman god of the underworld, "Hades" specifically is the name of the underworld itself (it was originally also the Greek deity, with the alternate name Pluton).
  • Ancient Rome: The setting.
  • Animal Motifs: Marius, Vitallion and Commodus wear customised suits of armor which are decorated in with a certain animal.
    • Marius's is a stylised Aquila (Roman eagle) that is emblazoned high on the front and back of his chest armour, arm and shin guards, and the individual bands are bordered golden to remind of the feathers of a golden eagle.
    • Vitallion's beast of choice is a lion, found relief-hammered in the same places as on Marius with the exception of his back, as well as on the attachment points for his sagum (cloak).
    • Commodus' golden armor bears a viper encircling his neck with bared fangs on the chest and is, unlike that of the two professional soldiers' (who both wear the famed Lorica segmentata, embodiment of the Roman Empire), a set of scale armor.
  • Arrows on Fire: Every arrow fired at you in the game during testudo formation movement is on fire.
    • Likely done for gameplay, as it allows seeing them when moving in a testudo. When Marius is moving alone, there's a 50/50 chance they're not on fire; instead, an "incoming" warning is displayed to either deflect or evade them.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Sherwood Forest seems to have been modelled on the forests of the American Pacific Northwest, thickly planted with fir trees, quite different from the oak wood it was historically. The famous Major Oak is depicted in-game, but it's hundreds of times larger than it is in real life.
  • Artistic License – History: Crytek themselves admitted they weren't aiming for historical accuracy. Hence why Nero is an old man with two grown sons,note  why Commodus (best known as the bad guy from Gladiator) is Nero's son,note  why the Colosseum already exists,note  and why Boudica sacks Rome with War Elephants.note 
    • The Romans did establish the city of York (and Ivar the Boneless refounded it as Jorvik, which in turn was simplified to York following the Norman conquest of England), but they would not have referred to it by that name; the Roman name for York was Eburacum.
    • The complete butchering of the Roman naming system is just as glaring: Both Marius and his father (who are both from the gens Tita, hence Titus; more correct would actually be Titia/Titius, as Titus is a given name, see Emperor Titus) never give their cognomen (which is why the XIV. calls him by his praenomen, his given name, which was considered completely inappropiate for people who were not close friends or family), and Commander-General Vitallion only ever gives the very same cognomen to the audience, which leads to never learning which family he is from or what his given name is (which oddly enough was not uncommon to refer to a Roman, especially an older one). The only person in-game that actually gives anything close to his full name is Nero at the very beginning.
    Nero: Defend your Emperor! I, Nero! Augustus! Germanicus! Command you! Defend your Emperor!
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Rule of Cool provides stunts like impaling an enemy in the gut with a sword, then lifting them (while holding the sword with only one hand, by the way) over the protagonist's head for a body slam.
  • Artistic License – Military: one of the key elements of Roman success on the battlefield was that its legionnaires moved in concert, with discipline. The maniple, consisting of 120 men, was the smallest tactical unit Rome fielded, and its soldiers never brawled one-on-one the way we see Marius doing... unless things have gone to hell in a handbasket. (Which, to be sure, they mostly have when Marius shows up, so perhaps this is a Justified Trope.)
    • Not to mention the use of Hwachas in Coliseum mode – a Korean artillery weapon developed in the 16th century that launches Rocket Arrows.
    • The Romans' shields are a fraction of the size they were in reality. Strangely, they're shown as being the correct size in the stylized cutscenes, so they were presumably downsized for gameplay reasons..
  • Asshole Victim: Basileus, Commodus, and Nero all die at Marius' hands, and no tears are shed for them.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Boudica, the Horned King, and even Commodus all put up boss-level fights against Marius. Marius himself is shown to be Asskicking Equals Authority, as his rapid promotion comes as he kills hundreds of dudes singlehandedly over the course of the game. Commander Vitallion is another good example.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The upper tier character unlocks are only available when the game is just about over, and they make little, if any, difference in the final sequences. They'll have little impact on finishing the game.
  • Bald of Awesome: King Oswald has receding hair, but he's a lot more moral than the Roman Emperor.
  • Bald of Evil: Emperor Nero doesn't have any hair, and he's the Big Bad of the game.
  • Badass Boast: What Marius says to Nero after beheading Commodus.
    Marius: I am Damocles! I am Vengeance! You. Are. Next!
    • Also, what he says to Commodus before confronting and killing him.
    Marius: You say you are protecting Rome. Who will protect you from me?
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Britannians fit this to a tee, complete with their Weapon of Choice being axes and being covered in copious amounts of tattoos and piercings. They also have unkempt beards, Barbarian Longhair, and Braids of Barbarism.
  • Bling of War: Commodus fights in the Coliseum in shiny golden armour. Then again, maybe that's why Marius kills him so effortlessly.
  • Brick Joke: The intro cutscene has a statue of Nero weeping blood, seemingly hinting at a supernatural twist to the story. There is indeed a supernatural element to the plot, but this is not one of them; the tears of blood do get explained later. The statue was designed by Basilius to be able to cry. He was originally planning to fill the head with wine. Marius killed him and replaced the wine with the blood flowing out of Basilius.
  • Bring News Back: The reason Marius pulls a You Shall Not Pass! in Chapter VI – Pax Romanaas after Commodus has murdered King Oswald they are about to lose Eboracum/York, he and Vitallion agree that the Senate needs to hear of this treachery. Ultimately, Marius urges his mentor to go, as he as a Legate (legion commander) is more likely to be listened to.
    • Unfortunately, it turns out that Nero and Aquilo have managed to either murder or threaten the entire senate into compliance (likely with more death threats), causing them to be not willing to do anything about Nero and his sons, much to Vitallion's bitterness.
  • The Caligula: Not just one, but three!
    • First there's Emperor Nero. A fat layabout who has driven Rome into ruin, has Marius' father killed out of petty jealously and giggles like an unhinged madman every few seconds.
    • And then there's his sons. Basilius is a skinnier version of his father, a hedonistic monster who touts his authority to do whatever he pleases. But even he looks favorable next to Commodus. A unhinged, bloodthirsty fool who assassinates the surrendering King Oswald, plays around in rigged gladitorial matches, and seems convinced he's actually immortal.
  • Canis Latinicus: The Latin names for the execution methods are literally translated from English without any regard for grammar or idiom.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The members of the Legion show up exactly after Marius defeats General Glott.
  • Chained by Fashion: Basilius, Nero's son, wears fine purple robes held on by gold chains, to show that he's a Non-Action Guy Fashion-Victim Villain.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The fighting techniques Marius's father teaches him are perhaps the only way to justify him being a One-Man Army, considering that in Real Life, actual Roman warfare relied on staying in formation and fighting as a group, not as a lone wolf.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Marius can use various brutal means to defeat and dispatch the Britons he goes up against. Basilius encourages this in his gladiators for entertainment.
  • Cosmic Chess Game: What Marius' quest for vengeance (along with the various deaths along the way) was part of - Summer vs. the North Wind regarding the fate of Rome.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Despite being badly wounded and having fought multiple Praetorian Guards, Marius corners Nero on a balcony. He then pushes him off, impaling him on a giant sword of a statue in the throne room, nearly splitting him in half. Nero feels the pain for several more moments before he dies.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: When Glott, the Minotaur King, is first introduced via cutscene, he defeats Marius in seconds and sends him over a cliff. It's perfectly possible when you face him later in a boss fight to soundly defeat him without taking a scratch.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: On the PC version, the "counter" and "bash" buttons are reversed from what they are in the Batman: Arkham and Assassin's Creed series (not to mention pretty much every game based on that combat system, including Shadow of Mordor), leading you to frequently attempt to bash (and get smashed in the face with a barbarian axe) when you meant to counter if you're used to those games. To make it worse, the game doesn't allow for rebinding keys (you're limited to choosing from between either 2 default WASD or 1 default arrow keys configuration).
  • Darkest Africa: Or more like Darkest Britannia. The mission to save Commodus takes the Fourteenth Legion to a dark and scary land populated by barely literate savages who wear animal skulls & furs, speak a guttural harsh Black Speech, and kidnap people as human sacrifices for their gods.
  • Deadpan Snarker/Sarcasm Mode: Both Marius and Vitallion have a moment of it after the former has rescued the latter from being burnt alive in a Wickerman in Chapter V - The Heart of Darkness, and are confronted with Commodus' less-than-stellar attitude towards them.
    Commodus (stuck in a cage): Soldiers. Soldiers! (beat) Well, don't just stand there, you useless sows!?! Get me out of here! Get me out of here now!
    Marius: (turning his back on Commodus with Vitallion) I suppose that would be our glorious leader, General Commodus?
    Vitallion: Yes. The Emperor's son.
    Commodus (from the back): Get me out of here, you stupid fools! (Is being ignored) I command you!
    Vitallion: (smirks) Your victory, your honour, Centurion.
    Marius: (chuckles) At once, sir.
    • Nero himself is also pretty sarcastic when he's not being a hysterical coward.
    Marius: The Gods may watch us from afar, but they are forbidden from interfering in the affairs of mortals.
    Nero: Oh? And what great Oracle told you that, General?!
    Marius: (gives Nero a Death Glare) My father.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Marius holds up Commodus' head before his father as a warning.
    • He also instructs one of his subordinates to hang up Boudica's head to deter the barbarians.
  • Defector from Decadence: While there's no indication of it beforehand, the seventh act puts Marius back in Rome, tearing apart the imperial family... starting in a strip club. An ancient Roman strip club with a gladiatorial pit.
  • Demythification: While the supernatural is definitely present, the "minotaurs" in northern Britannia are actually merely wild men who wear bull skulls as helmets.
  • Deus ex Machina: Subverted. After Marius takes mortal wounds killing Nero, Summer, the goddess who has been shepherding him the entire game, shows up to do... nothing, except let him expire on the spot.
  • Dirty Coward: Commodus. Though he touts himself up as an unbeatable general and fighter, not only is he the first to run when the Britons besiege York (taking the best armored ship and pushing civilians out of his way as he runs), he also resorts to tons of dirty tricks in Marius's gladiator fight with him.
    • His father, Nero, certainly counts. The Emperor instantly flees from any kind of danger, calls for his guards the moment anyone might do him harm, and faces his assassin with utter panic and terror.
  • Dreadlock Warrior: The beastmen have massive dreadlocks.
  • Drop the Hammer: Some of the big beastmen and the Britannians who wear wolfskins wield massive hammers.
  • Dual Wielding: One of the enemy types is a barbarian warrior that uses dual swords. Boudica also uses a pair of massive machetes as her weapons.
  • Entitled Bastard: Commodus furiously shouts at Vitallion and Marius to get him out of the cage he's locked in, insulting them all the while. And then after they let him out, he pulls Marius' cape off his shoulders to shelter himself from the cold weather.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Basilius proves himself to be Roman!Joffrey with one of his introductory lines.
    Basilius: HOW DARE YOU!! (Calmly) How dare you. I am son of the emperor. And I DO. WHATEVER. I. CHOOSE.
  • Eye Scream: A Red Shirt allied soldier gets an arrow in the eye fairly early on in grisly detail.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Though his status as evil is debatable, King Oswald willingly cooperates with his Roman captors when his daughter's life is threatened.
    • Debatable with Basilius, since he orders Vitallion and his legion to rescue Commodus, when leaving Commodus, who was Basilus' brother, to die would have been advantageous to Basilius.
    • During the gladiator fights, Nero jokes with Aquilo that he doesn't really care if his son lives or dies, even calling him a "little shit", but when Marius actually succeeds in killing Commodus, Nero is clearly genuinely devastated.
  • Evil Redhead: Boudica would qualify as this to the Roman protagonists, but she's an Anti-Villain who's fighting to get rid of the Roman occupiers of Britannia and avenge her father's murder by Commodus, so you can see where she's coming from.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Basilius, when having a private chat with Marius, tells him that he's planning to fill the hollow head of a gigantic marble statue of Nero with "the finest white wine", so that the statue will weep to symbolize Nero's love for his empire. He then adds, "Though I suppose it could be made to weep anything, really." Marius asks him "Anything?" and Basilius nods. He then has an Oh, Crap! moment when Marius pulls out his sword and stabs Basilius to death, before catching his blood in a bronze tray and filling the statue's head with it.
  • Exploding Barrels: They're everywhere, and colored bright red to boot! Especially hilarious since Europe would not discover gunpowder for another thousand years.
    • Greek Fire or one of its variations was rumored to explode.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After being mortally wounded and under the mercy of Marius, Boudica just calmly tells him to get on with it. Marius does so, though albeit rather hesitantly.
  • Fanservice Extra: In Chapter 7, the night house is full with half naked girls.
  • Fat Bastard: Emperor Nero is a repugnant tyrant who happens to also be massively fat. His sons Basileus and Commodus are more Lean and Mean.
  • A Father to His Men: Marius and Commander Vitallion. Marius especially does not leave a man behind, and there are multiple times where he risks his own well-being to make sure his men make it out alive, such as twice at the siege of York. The first time he jumps into a wagon containing a scorpio to provide covering fire for a retreating legion, the second time is moments later when he pulls You Shall Not Pass! on the barbarian army as Vitallion and his legions evacuate on a ship. Vitallion, being of an older generation than most of his legion, tends to treat them like a class of unruly children he is very fond of.
  • Faux Affably Evil: When we first meet Basilius, he seems pretty chipper when greeting Vitallion, saying that if he'd arrived later, he'd had "missed all the fun". Then he gets on to discussing his brother's whereabouts with King Oswald, threatening to cut Boudica's face, and we see the monster he really is.
  • Field Promotion: Vitallion promotes Marius from an optio (junior officer) to centurion (and right-hand man) after the landing at Dover, because so many officers got killed during said battle, and he's proved his mettle as officer. Much later, after Vitallion dies, the soldiers address Marius as "general."
  • Foreshadowing: If you look quickly at the blade of the sword that a barbarian stabs Leontius to death with you can see an N on it. Where have you seen that before…?
    • Also, much earlier, in The Beginning, Marius answers to Nero's prayer to be safe in the vault "Oh, we will be safe here, my emperor. As safe as we can be." In chapter one, this simply seems to be the words of a battle-worn, experienced soldier, but after it is revealed that Marius is the "Damocles" that Nero fears…
  • For Want of a Nail: As implied by the ending, Marius' exploits prevents Rome from falling, like it did in real life, and allows the Roman Empire as it was to flourish into the modern day.
  • General Failure: Commodus. Captured by barbarians in Britannia, and Vitallion later says that he let the legions sit in Rome while Boudica invaded the empire with a massive army instead of trying to stop them, leaving Rome itself in danger.
  • Gladiator Games: Marius takes part in one such game in the Coliseum while disguised as Damocles in order to kill Commodus.
  • The Glory That Was Rome: Naturally.
  • God-Emperor: Zig-zagged. Commodus certainly declares himself a god in front of the Roman audience, but his father Nero is the current Emperor, not him, and Nero doesn't see himself as a god. And thanks to Marius, Commodus is never going to be Emperor anymore.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Nero's sons dress like this.
  • Gorn: Fountains of blood and lopped off limbs are everywhere. The sheer amount of gorn was actually the major draw of the advertising.
  • Grim Up North: Britannia is at the very northern reaches of the Roman empire, and it is definitely grim up there. Taken Up to Eleven with the northern lands that are beyond Hadrian's Wall, which is a Death World where savage beastmen abduct travelers in order to sacrifice them by burning them alive. Plus the villain of the game turns out to be the god of the north wind.
  • The Hero Dies: The Oracle predicted that [[spoiler:Damocles and Marius would slay each other. Her prediction comes to pass when Marius sustains mortals wounds while pursuing Nero before flinging himself and Nero over a railing. Nero is impaled on the sword of his own statue while Marius crashes on the ground far below. The goddess appears one last time and stays by Marius' side as he breathes his last.
  • Hate Sink: Two very big examples.
    • Commodus is easily one of the most despicable characters in the game. He is an Evil Overlord and a Dirty Coward whose corrupt and tyrannical leadership in Britannia leads to Oswald revolting against the Romans. After finding him when Glott has been killed and Vitallion has been saved, Commodus spews insults at the soldiers, angrily demands his release and doesn't even tell them thanks. This happens again when he murders Oswald right after he pledges fealty to Rome, even though Oswald was ready to accept peace. This leads to York being attacked by the Britons and the fall of the city while Commodus runs for his life and leaves everyone behind to save himself. In the Colosseum, Commodus claims the deeds of the XIV Legion as his own, glorifying himself as the greatest general in Roman history. While Marius , disguised as Damocles, fights in the arena, Commodus talks down to the other gladiators and insults them for trying to emulate him for deeds he did not accomplish. During his duel with Damocles, Commodus constantly boasts about his superiority, yet resorts to dirty and underhanded tricks to gain the upper hand. His death at Marius's hands was definitely satisfying to say the least.
    • Nero falls on this list too. His negligent rule of Rome has led to it falling into ruin and weakening the Empire while he enjoys a life of luxury and allowed his sons responsibilities that led to Rome falling apart. When Leontius insisted on returning the power of Rome to the people, Nero had him murdered, along with other people who supported him, so he could hold onto his power. When Marius returns to Rome, he learns that Nero had an entire street of people killed simply for his face being drawn on a horse's behind. When Rome is attacked by the Barbarian army, he doesn't care about them nor the fact that they're destroying his city; all he cares about is that Damocles is out to kill him. In the words of Marius Titus, his jealousy, vanity and arrogance caused so much needless death. His death of almost being split apart by a giant sword is definitely well-earned for this monster of an Emperor.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: It's a Hack and Slash video game about Emperors Nero and Commodus. You'd better believe that they're not going to be the heroes.
  • Hollywood Healing: Despite being exposed to poisonous gas in the Colosseum, Marius is suddenly right back to fighting at 100% health for the final phase of the boss fight.
  • Hookers and Blow: After the war in Britannia, Basilius spends most of his time partying it up at a nightclub with copious amounts of wine and plenty of strippers and prostitutes.
  • How We Got Here/In Medias Res/Once More, with Clarity!/This Is My Story: Chapter I, The Beginning, starts with General Marius racing over the bridge to Nero's palace, seemingly trying to protect the terrified emperor, who is less worried about the Barbarians laying siege to his city but "him", eventually bringing Nero to his safe room, a vault under his throne. On the way down there, it turns out Nero is worried about a mythical spirit called "Damocles" who seeks to kill him, to which Marius scoffs that "only men kill men". Then, in the Vault, when Nero asks about his name and background, Marius begins to retell his story how he became leader of the XIV. Legion and the general in charge of the defence of Rome. As his tale reveals the treachery of Nero and his sons to Marius' family, the Titae, his legion, the XIV., and ultimately, the entire Roman Empire with their selfish greed, it becomes clear that "Damocles" whom Nero fears is in fact Marius himself.
  • I Am Spartacus: In the second phase of the Commodus boss battle, he has five other pretenders dressed up in identical armor to throw at you. Doesn't save him, though.
  • Idiot Ball: The only possible reason why Marius would give Nero his dagger and trust him to honourably kill himself, considering he knows first-hand that Nero is a dishonorable coward. Sure enough, Nero ends up stabbing Marius with that dagger himself, though this does allow the Prophecy Twist to come into play.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Nero dies, on his own statue's sword.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: After receiving a stone to the head from a crowd of enraged Britons right after stabbing King Oswald to death in front of them, Commodus furiously screams that his men will return to Britannia and massacre every Briton, men, women and children, "and shit on your graves!" Commodus dies back in Rome before he can make good on his threats.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Marius bears a distinctive resemblance to his voice actor, John Hopkins. The same goes for Nero and his voice actor, Sebastian Abineri.
  • It's All About Me: Commodus, who takes all of the Fourteenth Legion's victories as his own, including capturing Oswald and storming the beaches of Dover, both of which the Fourteenth was responsible for. While he does march north to try and put down the rebellion, he's defeated and as you see once you rescue him, is put in a tiny cage, screaming insults at his very rescuers.
  • Javelin Thrower: The famous Roman pilum is Marius' only ranged attack. When commanding testudo formations, you can command your men to throw pila at the enemy.
  • Jerkass Gods: Aquilo, the god of the north wind and the Greater-Scope Villain who was trying to throw Rome into chaos under Nero's rule.
  • Jiggle Physics: Most of time, The goddess appears floating on the air or standing still, but in Chapter 7, we see her walking by foot, and her breasts get really bouncy. Really.
  • Karma Houdini: Aquilo faces no punishment for trying to throw Rome into chaos under Nero, other than being a Graceful Loser and bowing to Summer before he leaves Rome behind. Then again, since he's a god, it's not like Marius could kill him, and Marius was already dead by then.
  • Karmic Death: Commodus is killed and decapitated by Marius, whilst boasting throughout the entire fight that he is a God. For extra karma, the camera angle and messy decapitation mirrors that of the "Minotaur" chief Glott, whom Marius rescued him from to begin with.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Commodus orders the Britons to do this right after killing King Oswald in front of them. Instead, they start throwing stones at him.
  • Large Ham: The Colosseum announcer, big time.
  • Lazy Backup: One of the places in which the game's seams show through is in the behavior of friendly AI. Your One-Man Army status becomes an Enforced Trope because, whenever the barbarians see Marius, they'll disengage from whoever they used to be fighting and dogpile him in a Multi-Mook Melee. Meanwhile, the abandoned legionnaire will just stand there banging his gladius on his scutum and trying to look useful, instead of (say) applying a Finishing Move to the enemy's exposed posterium. This behavior looks particularly egregious in light of your own combat tactics, which revolve around applying Finishing Moves to exposed posteriae.
  • Lean and Mean: Basilius and Commodus are a lot thinner than their father, but no less evil.
  • Light Is Not Good: Apart from Commodus' golden armour, Aquilo, the god of the North Wind, appears as a man with white clothes and hair, and he's encouraging Nero's despotism to ensure that Roman civilization falls into chaos.
  • Machete Mayhem: Boudica carries two machetes.
  • The Man Behind the Man/Manipulative Bastard/Lou Cypher: All of the game's events are being manipulated by Aquilo, Nero's personal servant, who is really the god of the North Wind (best known in the modern day as Boreas), who is manipulating both Nero and the Britons to get Rome destroyed, because he really hates the idea of civilization.
    • On the good side, there's also an unnamed nature goddess, apparently listed as "Summer" (Aestas) in the credits and described as such in the Scrolls the player may collect, who helps Marius survive to rise to his endgame position as a general in order to save Rome from the decadence and corruption that threatens to bring it down from the inside. She may actually be Nemesis, the game is really vague concerning the gods and their motives.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
  • Marius Titus Is About To Stab You: The game's cover art.
  • Nintendo Hard: You can get by with sloppy blocking at the easiest difficulty, but if you do not have timed blocking down to a *science* playing the harder difficulty levels, you'll never beat the tougher opponents.
  • Not So Different: Marius invokes this with Boudica, seeing as both of their fathers were killed by Nero & and his corruption.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • What happens to Commodus, thanks to Marius disguised as the vengeful spirit of Damocles.
    • Also happens to Boudica.
  • Oop North: The Britons speak with Northern English accents. Except for the "minotaurs" north of the wall, who don't speak English at all.
  • Order Versus Chaos: What the entire game's plot boils down to, between "civilized" Rome and "barbaric" Britannia. Marius strongly believes that the Roman empire is a shining beacon of light in a lawless world and that if Rome falls, it will be The End of the World as We Know It. This is also the precise conflict between the gods: Aquilo wants to destroy Rome and its notion of civilization, while the goddess who aids Marius is attempting to preserve Rome.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Marius kills Nero's sons Basileus and Commodus before he kills their father.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Defied by Commodus. King Oswald was willing to make peace under terms of his people being treated better and as equals. Instead, Commodus stabs Oswald to death whilst feigning acceptance of his terms, which not only causes the Britons to retaliate, but causes York to fall and the Romans losing Britannia.
    • While marching a captured Oswald & Boudica through the British countryside, Vitallion sees the Praetorian Guard punishing Britons with public floggings and crucifixions and notes that this kind of harsh oppression will only make pacifying the region even harder.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Praetorian Guard in the game. They have fancier armor than the regular legionaries, but when Marius returns to Rome after making it home from Britannia they're acting like thugs towards the population and insult Marius during any fights that he has with them. They aren't even really that experienced, as Marius is able to carve through them without much of a fight, though one of them does last a few seconds against him during his escape from the Coliseum.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Marius when his father dies at the hands of the Britons at the start of the game.
    Marius: BASTARDS!!! YOU MURDERING BARBARIAN BASTARDS!!!
    • Commodus calls Marius a "fucking idiot" when ordering him to release him from his cage.
  • Prophecy Twist: An oracle, whom Marius meets after killing Basilius, states that Emperor Nero can only die by his own sword. It is assumed that he can only be killed by killing himself with his own sword or by taking said sword to do the deed, but it turns out that Nero falls from a great height after being pushed by Marius, and impaled by a marble sword held by a tall statue in the likeness of Nero.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Marius, when he reveals why he returned to Rome: To kill Nero.
    Marius: I became driven by one thought, one solitary desire: The desire for vengeance. Vengeance, against the Emperor Nero, who had my family butchered. Vengeance against his despicable sons, who betrayed. MY. LEGION!
    • Leontius, Marius' father, when he finds his wife and daughter's bodies left in the fountain by the barbarians.
    Leontius: No. NO! I'll kill. Every. Last. One of you!
    • Marius again, when presenting Nero with Commodus' head.
    Marius: I! AM! DAMOCLES! I! AM! VENGEANCE! YOU! ARE! NEXT!
  • The Queen's Latin: Every Roman character has an English accent. The majority of Britons speak with Northern English accents.
  • Rain of Arrows: Present for both the Romans and Britannians. The Roman side is triggered by using either the voice command or holding down a trigger. During testudo formations, your only attack is to throw a rain of pila at the enemy while you defend against their rain of arrows.
  • Rated M for Manly: As stated in the Gorn entry, the bloody executions were really played up in the game's advertising campaign.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Nero is openly scornful of his son Commodus when he's facing off against Damocles in the Colisseum, calling him a "little shit". He only shows concern when Damocles kills him and displays his head to the Emperor, desperately calling for his guards to kill Damocles, and that's as much out of fear for his own life as theirs.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Near the end of the game, Marius, who has been revealed to be Damocles, the Centurion out to kill the Emperor and his sons, gives this to Nero.
    Marius: "You had my family murdered. You have left Rome in ruins. Everything that has happened - all this needless death - your jealousy, your vanity and your arrogance has caused it all."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Commander Vitallion.
  • Redshirt Army: The Roman legionaries, though they manage to hold their own because they're Romans.
  • Revenant Zombie: The original Damocles qualifies as this. After his generals abandoned him to be killed by the enemy, he came back as a ghostly centurion in black armour to get revenge.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Marius's driving goal after his family is killed. He joins the expedition to Britannia to destroy as many barbarians as possible. The object of his revenge promptly switches after he realizes who really had his family killed.
  • Rousing Speech: Vitallion's speech to the soldiers after landing at Britannia and securing the beachhead.
    Vitallion: "Rome is Civilization! Rome is Order! Rome is POWER! And out here...WE. ARE. ROME!"
    • There's also Marius's speech to his fellow legionaries just before they storm the beach.
    Marius: Attention lads! A brave man tastes death once. Cowards, a thousand times over! Now we have already spilled barbarian blood, and we know they bleed as we do. (turns away from them.) Ready! (Legionaries start pounding their shields with their swords, yelling HA! with each strike) On me! Move!
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Marius's father was a general; there was no way to achieve that in Ancient Rome without being, effectively, nobility. Yet Marius is able to carve through hordes of enemy warriors and, in act VII, even forge his own armor.
  • Scenery Porn: It IS a Crytek game after all but even by their standards the amount of environmental eye candy is amazing. Special mention goes to the Colosseum.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: In the boss fight against Commodus, the real Commodus during the second phase will always turn out to be the last guy standing.
  • Shield Bash: Everyone who has a shield in this game uses them to attack just as frequently as they do to defend.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The portly men with the Braids of Barbarism and nipple piercings. The Praetorians and some of the beastmen also use shields.
  • Shown Their Work: Some players have wondered why Marius can't retrieve his thrown spears from enemy corpses. The answer is that, originally, the barbarians had the exact same question, and figured out quickly that the answer was, "no reason at all," much to Roman dismay. Thus the development of the pilum, a spear made deliberately to bend and deform on impact, so that it can only be thrown once. And Now You Know.
  • Siege Engines: The Romans make frequent use of the scorpio, a very large crossbow, as well as boiling oil in pots. Catapults are also present for both sides, and the Britannians employ siege towers during the assault on York.
  • Sliding Scale of Divine Intervention: Aestas/Nemesis keeps to a Class 2, only offering vague advice and just a little bit of nudging in the right direction for Marius. Aquilo, however, is a Class 4, taking human form and directly manipulating events to his advantage. In the end, though, Aestas's dialogue implies that Aquilo has broken some kind of celestial rule, and when Marius triumphs, Aquilo leaves without a word, conceding defeat with a bow of the head.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Marius's mother and sister appear for less than 30 seconds before being promptly murdered by barbarians. Actually, scratch that; only his mother appears and says something. The only time we see his sister is as a corpse on top of her mother's body. His father lasts a little longer before he bites it too, though his death is more important to the plot.
  • Stupid Evil: Commodus, who causes the Romans to be driven from Britannia when he murders Oswald in front of hundreds of Britons, causing a massive riot and a barbarian army to storm York. He and his Praetorians then steal the most well-armored ship in the harbor to flee, abandoning the Fourteenth to its fate and pushing any civilians out of the way as they run.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Leontius, after receiving a lethal stabbing at the hands of a Briton, shoves his own sword into that Briton's body, making sure the Briton dies before he does.
    • Marius, at the end, body-slams both himself and Nero off a cliff. This is probably in service of Rule of Drama, as Marius was already bleeding out at the time and would have died regardless.
  • This Cannot Be!: Commodus has this expression on his face after Marius lethally stabs him, right after openly declaring himself an immortal god to Marius' face.
  • Title Drop: The goddess tells an unconscious Marius "Rise up, son of Rome" after he gets thrown off a cliff by the King of the North.
  • Tyrannicide: Marius ends up killing Nero by rushing him off a balcony, causing him to be impaled on a statue's sword.
  • Undying Loyalty: The men of the 14th Legion practically worship the ground Marius walks on. After seeing the lengths he is willing to go to for them, it's quite understandable.
  • Villainous Valour: While Commodus is a preening buffoon who boasts of victories others won and resorts to cheating very quickly, he does turn out to have legitimate combat skills and puts up a good and long fight against Marius.
  • War Elephants: Boudica brings many of these to Rome when she seeks to avenge her father.
  • War Is Hell: The battles are pretty gruesome and cruel for both sides. Made worse considering the government in Rome is lazy, decadent, corrupt and care very little about their troops.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The only reason why the game is called Ryse. Then again, this is Crytek, so it's not unexpected.
  • You All Look Familiar: There are only a handful of enemy character models. Get used to seeing their familiar faces a LOT.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Marius pulls this off during the siege of York, staying behind to fight off the barbarian army by himself to buy time for Vitallion and the rest of the Romans to evacuate.

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