Rise Of The Ronin Review

Rise Of The Ronin
Rise of the ronin review

Rise of the Ronin has risen from the depths as Team Ninja’s ambitious venture into the Bakumatsu period of Japan. At its core, the game seeks to immerse players in the transition of power, where ancient traditions clash with the onrush of modernization. With its unique setting and narrative ambition, Rise of the Ronin promises an experience that goes beyond mere combat, aiming to envelop players in a pivotal moment of Japanese history. Yet, as with any odyssey of such magnitude, the journey is as fraught with challenges as it is with moments of brilliance.

The gameplay, Rise of the Ronin presents an intricate selection of mechanics that demands both patience and perseverance from its players. The combat system, distinguished by a complex array of stances and enemy indicators, introduces a steep learning curve not commonly seen in contemporary titles like Ghosts of Tsushima. This complexity, while enriching for the combat experience, initially burdens players with an overwhelming number of tutorials and pop-ups. Such interruptions, often detailing even the most rudimentary of game mechanics, may detract from the game’s immersive potential in its early hours. Later in the game, you will see an indicator above an enemies head and completely forget what it means, there are an awful lot of things to keep track of.

Although there is a lot to take in at first, Rise of the Ronin does offer an impressive amount of gameplay elements to stop the experience feeling stale

The essence of combat in Rise of the Ronin is predicated on mastering the parry system, a task that proves to be both challenging and rewarding. Unlike other games that offer visual cues for parrying, Rise of the Ronin opts for a more unforgiving approach, requiring players to intimately learn and predict enemy attack patterns. This reliance on parrying, coupled with the relative ineffectiveness of the dodge mechanic, places a significant emphasis on precision and timing, crafting a combat experience that is both rigorous and gratifying for those who persevere.

However, Rise of the Ronin stumbles in its endeavor to breathe life into its depiction of a modernizing Japan. Cities and towns, which should be bustling hubs of activity and detail, often feel desolate and underdeveloped. The lackluster textures and sparse NPC populations undermine the game’s atmospheric ambitions, casting a shadow over its open-world aspirations and diminishing the overall sense of immersion.

rise of the ronin review
A brief smattering of NPCs selling things to a rather dead town square that lacks any sort of decoration to make it feel like anything more than the void urban areas we saw in early 3d adventure games

Voice acting within the game is a mixed bag, with varying levels of clarity and quality that can disrupt the narrative flow. This inconsistency, combined with occasional discrepancies in recording levels, makes subtitles a necessary aid for many players. Although the game’s audio design fares better, particularly through a high-quality sound system, the voice work’s shortcomings are a notable detraction from the overall experience.

Control mappings in Rise of the Ronin also present their own set of challenges, with certain choices, such as separate buttons for blocking and parrying, and the dual function of the dodge and sprint button. This introduces unnecessary complexity to gameplay. While these controls can be customized, their default settings may initially hinder player adaptability and comfort. The parry system takes time to master and it is made all the more challenging that an early parry doesn’t result in you just blocking. An early parry means you are gonna eat your enemies sword.

Rise of the Ronin is a game that, despite its rough edges, holds a certain allure for fans of Team Ninja’s work. The depth of its combat system and the historical richness of its setting are marred by issues in world-building, voice acting, and control design. Nevertheless, for those willing to navigate its complexities and embrace its challenges, Rise of the Ronin offers a unique and engaging experience, albeit one that may not cater to the expectations set by more accessible titles in the genre.


Rise of the Ronin presents a deep and complex combat system set against the backdrop of Japan's tumultuous Bakumatsu period, offering a unique blend of historical immersion and challenging gameplay. However, its ambitious mechanics are somewhat overshadowed by an overwhelming tutorial system, lifeless urban environments, and inconsistent voice acting. Despite these drawbacks, the game rewards players who persevere with a richly rewarding combat experience, especially through its intricate parry system.
  • Rich, complex combat system
  • Deep learning curve for combat enthusiasts
  • Unique historical setting (Bakumatsu period)
  • Rewarding mastery of parry system
  • Overwhelming number of tutorials and pop-ups
  • Cities and towns lack life and detail
  • Inconsistent voice acting quality
  • Uncomfortable control mappings
  • Dodge mechanic is largely ineffective