Rise of the Ronin Review

Developer: Team Ninja

Platforms: PS5

Genre: Action, adventure

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment


Rise of the Ronin is an open-world RPG game from Team Ninja set in 1863. The Shogunate’s rule and the West begin to arrive on the shores of Japan in massive ships. Chaos, fighting, war, and diseases ravage the world, and you take your character through this highly immersive world as you decide the fate of this place.

First impressions are really good. The character design and the game mechanics, of which there are many, are enjoyable to learn, and there is plenty to do in this vast world. Very early on, you are given choices that will affect the game and your playthrough; this decision and your actions will affect you as you progress. The game was slow early on, but it helped introduce the game and a few core characters and game mechanics. The game, in terms of design, reminds me of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but it is set in Japan and has some different mechanics regarding combat and the RPG elements (questioning and getting to know NPCs).


I have always loved Team Ninja’s take on precise combat and the accuracy you need when fighting opponents; the ability to parry/deflect is extremely useful but requires good timing and even better timing to get the perfect parry. The game is third-person, but in certain combat sections, you get that lower-down third-person view reminiscent of many Team Ninja games, giving a more immersive feel to every strike, block, and parry. There is a vast plethora of weapons and playstyles; from being a samurai to being a ninja, there are bows, handguns, and rifles. Each playstyle has different buffs depending on what you wear. All the weapons, choice of armour, and playstyle are massive plusses for the game, making you feel more affinity for your character. I loved the combat and found it thoroughly enjoyable. The variance in enemies and fighting styles means that you need to adjust for each enemy, and the boss fights are superb.


A deep and rich upgrading system allows you to allocate points for strength, intelligence, and dexterity. Again, what you allocate points will directly impact your character and their strengths and weaknesses. Lots of the combat allows you to forge alliances with characters who will help you in certain fights.


As it’s an open-world game, you also have tools like a glider and grappling hook to help you navigate this vastness. There is fast travel between areas, but you have a horse to ride through the wonderful Japanese countryside and have random encounters with NPCs. The game emphasises going from area to area and freeing it from tyranny, which helps build your reputation and partnerships with characters. You have a “bond” level, which describes how you are perceived by clans and whether they will be friendly or not. As you build friendships or enemies, you will make choices throughout the game to fight or backstab allies; the choice is yours. The RPG elements are also there; the voice acting is good: a massive range of questions you can ask NPCs and the ability to collect plants, herbs, and many valuable items for upgrading weapons and your character. Tons of side missions, training modes, and a heap of other fun events to keep you occupied.


The game supports three graphical modes. Graphics and ray-tracing are for higher resolution but are not guaranteed to maintain 60FPS. The performance mode is targeted at keeping 60FPS throughout your gameplay. I see the advantage of both; 60FPS gives a real intensity to battles and the combat of players and enemies, highlighting the quickness of sword combat. The game has some stunning scenery, so I can see the allure of the graphics and ray-tracing modes. There are some epic environments and lush places to visit in the game.


There is a co-op mode where you can join two other players whilst playing the primary game mission; you can play with friends or host a game for others to join. At the time of review, I found it difficult to find players to match with, but I will update once I do this. The co-op mode can include AI bots, which you get when you play the single version of the game, giving you a sense of what it will be like. I liked this companion mode.


Rise of the Ronin is a huge open-world game with great combat mechanics, a rich environment, and lots of gameplay elements. It also has fantastic character design and the ability to upgrade your playstyle to suit your needs. The combat and world design are excellent, supplemented with a great environment and intriguing story.

Overall: 8.5/10

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