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Rise of the Ronin

Rise of the Ronin
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Soulsborne genre, typically associated with FromSoftware, saw a formidable rival in Nioh, a creation of Team Ninja. Nioh brought to the table a detailed weapon-specialisation system and unique weapons like the Kusarigama, offering a challenging yet responsive combat system. With the advent of Elden Ring, it was only natural for Team Ninja to step into the genre with their creation, Rise of the Ronin. This game, inspired by cinematic masterpieces and set in a reimagined historical Japan, chronicles the journey of a Blade Twin on a mission to rescue their captive sibling amidst the chaos of the Edo period.

The Veiled Edge, a secretive ninja clan, trains Blade Twins, warrior siblings honed to be lethal assassins. After a failed assassination attempt on a Western intruder, naval officer Matthew Perry, you assume the role of the surviving twin, embarking on a quest to locate your captured sibling. The game is set in Japan during the final years of the Edo period, a time when the forced reopening of borders to outsiders brought a wave of Western influences that clashed with the traditional shogunate. As you explore Yokohama, Kyoto, and Edo, you witness the inevitable changes first-hand.

Rise of the Ronin

Developer: Team Ninja

Publisher: Koei Tecmo

Price: ₹4999 on PlayStation 5

While Team Ninja’s penchant for alternate historical settings is evident, Rise of the Ronin struggles to find its footing. Drawing more from Assassin’s Creed than expected, the narrative becomes convoluted, failing to resonate with players. The game’s open world, reminiscent of Ghost of Tsushima and The Witcher 3, offers stunning landscapes and vibrant towns, albeit lacking in meaningful interaction. Despite the multitude of quests and faction alignments, the impact on the world feels superficial.

Rise of the Ronin’s true strength lies in its revamped combat system, introducing the innovative Counterspark mechanic. This feature allows players to execute flashy counter moves with precise timing, adding a layer of depth to the battles. The game also brings back weapon specialisations, now with enhanced fighting styles, encouraging strategic pairing for swift victories. The game’s demanding nature, reminiscent of Sekiro, requires players to master its aggressive swordplay and timing-based mechanics.

Visually, Rise of the Ronin falls short compared to its contemporaries. Character animations feel stiff, and the game struggles to define its identity amidst its varied inspirations. However, for fans of the Nioh series seeking a substantial samurai RPG experience, Rise of the Ronin offers plenty to enjoy. Though it may require patience to fully appreciate, its depth and combat mechanics make it a worthwhile addition to the genre.

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