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Rise Of The Ronin Review: Excellent Combat But Disappointing Storyline And Progression Elements

Team Ninja could have definitely done better.


  • Only excpetional part of the Game, as expected from Team Ninja for me was the combat.
  • Storylines are pretty average, graphics and performance seems underwhelming , whereas sound is still excellent.
  • With the release of Rise Of The Ronin, Team Ninja may not rush for another project soon considering the dissapointment of many players.

Just a year after Atelier Resleriana was released, Team Ninja launched another Role-Playing Game: Rise of the Ronin.

Many users, including me, highly anticipated the Rise of the Ronin, Team Ninja’s most awaited and expensive game, but it failed to meet expectations.

Don’t get me wrong; the Action RPG offers plenty, such as rich Japanese history, map exploration, and combat.

However, adding unnecessary elements makes the game underwhelming, including the high loots and unnecessary upgrades.

rise of the ronin review


Initial Release DateMarch 24, 2024
DeveloperTeam Ninja
PublisherSony Interactive Entertainment

Inspiration From Previous Projects

Team Ninja has taken loads of things from Nioh 1, Nioh 2, and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and worked on another Action-RPG.

While the game has plenty of flaws, it feels like Team Ninja’s Souls-like combat, but in a Vast Open World with almost the same map size as Ghost of Tsushima, 10.4 sq. miles.

As we all know, Team Ninja is quite famous for its chapters and parts rather than just quests and sub-quests. It offers three chapters in total.

You will get through a lot while exploring the Chapters with new medieval towns, NPCS, collectives, high-tier bosses, or normal enemies. For a few gamers, that is all they need; for others, it is not quite enough.

The RPG may confuse many players when it comes to the system; you will see tons of options and not necessarily know the mechanisms; well, it is a Team Ninja game, after all.

Rise of the Ronin captivates with skill trees, alliances, weaponry, Character bonds, and even the progression system.

Among all the mechanisms, one may be consequently better, but another will disappoint lots of players.

What’s An RPG Without A Great Combat?

Combat was my initial favorite part of Rise of Ronin, which is by far the top aspect of the game.

There are various weapons categories to choose from, from Katana to double-handed, ranged weapons to heavy weapons and swords, and even guns with different move sets.

The fighting feels quite realistic, the animations are great, and, most importantly, the move sets add the icing on the cake.

An additional feature: Swappable stance also unlocks as you progress through and level up fast, using Basic XP and Karma Points.

The Stance works great with Melee Weapons but works differently upon various Fugitives, depending upon the attack and defensive patterns.

For instance, using the double-handed sword may be a great option to face Mochisuke Kira, but it may also struggle against Gonza.

No matter what enemy you face, the sword exchange to back and forth is satisfying, especially when enemies are low on health.

Unlike many action RPG games, Team Ninja includes defensive options to block, roll, dodge, or deflect the attacks.

Rise of the Ronin battle
Rise of the Ronin offers different defensive options to tackle formidable foes.

Parrying or Simply deflecting the attacks will gradually weaken the enemy and penetrate them.

Due to the variety of enemies and combat, slashing the enemies with the Sword feels utterly satisfying, whether it be chopping the head off or destroying the armor.

However, the Action RPG is quite challenging to a certain extent, but you have to focus on building and exploring different areas, such as Miyozaki and Yokohama, for loot.

Progression And Difficulty

There’s a good balance of progression and difficulty, but it can be brutal sometimes, considering you must master the parity timing or even beast multiple Formidable Foes simultaneously.

Besides the standard combat, you can do tons of things to distract enemies, such as jumping over them, attacking them from a distance, or even opting for a stealth kill by creeping behind their back.

Simply pressing the Square makes the combo move, where each stance will have a charge move. Unfortunately, you must rely on sprinting attacks.

There’s a variety of Stances that unlock depending upon style type: Jin, Ten, and Chi. The latter actually has a Rock-paper-scissor system, with one bound to win against the other.

Picking the correct stance is vital, considering you will get a bonus key damage, easily obtainable when spamming the key or performing martial arts and draining enemy health with critical hits.

If you struggle to cope with the enemies (which is a possibility due to a rugged combat system), use the Special ability. It takes a split second or two, but it may not get the job done and does not even feel like the ultimate.

Karma To Build The Skill

Whether you hop over the enemy or kill an enemy from behind, you will always get a handful of rewards, the primary one being Karma Points.

But if you fail to beat the enemies, all your Karma points will be lost, but there’s a catch.

You can battle against the same fugitive after you respawn to seek revenge and even get your karma points back. Karma is convertible to skill tree points, but visiting the nearest Bonfire Flag(Save Point) is necessary.

Team Ninja has worked hard to apply the Souls-like system in Rise of the Ronin if we just glance at the Skill Tree.

The skill system seems too complex and overdone sometimes, but if you are a massive fan of Souls-like, you will find them pretty minimalistic and simplified

You can always choose what stats you want to upgrade: Strength, Dexterity, Charisma, and Intelligence.

Upgrading your specific skill should not be much of a deal as the game is pretty generous when you are in a main quest or bond mission; Bonfire will always be around the starting point.

You can use the Save Point to equip your inventory, prepare for the quests, or pick up allies.

Surprisingly, you can co-op with your friends and activate the mission under the Cooperative option on your Longhouse.

Graphics And Visuals

Graphics and Visualization is something you don’t expect from Team Ninja in the 2020s. The quality is quite disappointing, and it looks like a shadow of the past.

Maybe because the developers refused to launch the game on PC, and the gamers didn’t have quite the experience.

The texture’s colors do not look visibly appealing, weird lighting in a few instances, and low resolutions.

Nonetheless, some of the NPC interactions are good, the Dialogue is pretty engaging, and most importantly, it has a fantastic Day and Night cycle.

The NPC interactions are great, the dialogue options are fine, but most importantly, the Day and Night Cycle is amazing.

However, graphics are not everything in RPG; you have story progression, quests, and a whole world to explore, but it can kill the vibe as they are an integral part of games.

Nonetheless, one of the best aspects of graphics is its Alpha particles and geometrical effects, whether it be flower blossoms or snowflakes during exploration or combat.

Storyline Potrays Rich History Of Japan

From Japanese History: Boshin War, which takes you to the 1950s, resulting in the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Team Ninja’s RPG has it all.

As you progress through the story, you will see that it revolves around two children who suffered in the war and turned into assassins.

If you choose the storyline, you will be sent on spy missions, from keeping an eye on the American Black Ship to killing Matthew Perry, a colonist and the first boss on your journey.

Obviously, the game plot evolves, and you will be taken to Yokohama, the Metropolitan City featuring multiple subcultures amid rising tension from foreign countries, including the USA.

You will defy fate, join a bond, betray the factions, and meet various historical figures.

Ryoma Sakamoto and Kaisu Katsu rise of the ronin
Japanese historical figures Ryoma Sakamoto and Kaisu Katsu.

If you are a Gintama fan, the game should be on your checklist, which unfolds the history and the portrayed characters.

Companions And Bond Mission

While reaching out to the likes of Sakomato or Kaisu, you will always have traveling kits like grappling hooks and gliders to jump over the roof or cross the bridge.

Your traveling companion, horse, will also join you, but the instructions and designs are pretty awful.

Thankfully, riding the horse is a blessing in disguise as you don’t have to press the key continuously due to auto sprint mode.

Rise of the Ronin is all about exploring the unique characters you create to dive into the Dark Japanese era which is filled with quests and bond missions and involves lots of politics.

Thus, you must stay determined, build bonds for your advantage, and engage in their mission, even though some parts of the story are wacky, which may disappoint fellow RPG enthusiasts.

I felt that most of the story’s outcomes and choices did not even matter or have any consequences if I picked the other.

If you feel the other way around, there’s a story section to unlock to pick different outcomes.

Loots and Open World

The loot in Rise of The Ronin should be a painful experience, as it is filled with unnecessary stuff and has lots of rarity levels, which seem like random add-ons.

Some of the loots are underwhelming and have no advantage whether you equip it or not.

Thankfully, Rise of the Ronin does offer something out of the box: the Outfits reflect the Samurai Warriors.

When you are just trying to explore the open world, the icons on the map can also be annoying, which present a bunch of unnecessary options like Collection Rate, Regional items, and completion reward.

Too Much Checklists Kills The Fun

When you create an open world and provide many hints and markers, players feel incredibly bored due to the lack of exploration or findings they must do.

The actual fun of RPG lies where you try so hard to search for an item for hours and joys and finally get hands-on without any information, which rewards curiosity.

Moreover, when you complete or obtain a few items for that part of the map, the checklist keeps growing, which may be great for a few, but I don’t think most Team Ninja fans will digest it.

It does not encourage players enough to spend a whole night searching for one item to complete the quest.

Nonetheless, stealth is something I looked at in Rise Of The Ronin, which covers a lot of content.

Another thing that Team Ninja solely focused on in the Multi-genre game: a collection loop/cycle.

When you view the marker, you will find Public Order, Edge Banner, Landmark Shrine, and Treasure Chest to engage the players.

Compared to the likes of Ghost of Tsushima, Rise of the Ronin is nowhere near its level, but there are a few things players can enjoy, even if the Visuals are not too great.

Audio System Is Truly Impeccable

Rise of the Ronin can offer tons of improvements compared to Team Ninja’s own Wo: Long Dynasty, from visuals to attention to detail, as it looks somewhat flat to me.

Nontheless, there are plenty of positives to take from After Combat in the Action RPG, i.e., the Audio System.

The music picks for every twist, and turn are impeccable, whether slashing enemies’ heads or riding a horse.

Even though combat and audio/music may not cover the flaws, the game should be fun if you don’t care much about graphics, as in Indie.

One aspect of Rise of the Ronin that genuinely stands out is the work developers have put into balancing the architectural design, from Treasure District to Churches, from wooden shops to mixed Flags.

Unlike Ghost of Tsushima, which took place in a similar setting but in a different period, it has less Japanese influence than this. It covers the vast culture of the Edo era and, surprisingly, even has an army from the West.

Rise Of The Ronin Performance

If you are a PC gaming enthusiast like me, you will consider Rise of the Ronin’s performance Satisfactory rather than overwhelming.

You will have multiple modes to choose from, including the Graphics mode, which is undoubtedly the best. It offers Resolution results of 2560x 1440p Temporal Anti-Aliasing(TAA), which is pretty much similar to Ray Tracing Mode apart from Reflections.

On the other hand, Frame Rate Mode offers around the Reconstruct 1080p without the Ray Tracing.

In the Frame Rate mode, your FPS will be capped at 60; thankfully, the other two modes offer an additional feature: Unlocked 60 FPS. Nonetheless, all three modes, Graphics, Ray Tracing, and Frame Rate, can run on 4k.

The Ray Tracing mode, set by default, can deliver a constant 50 to 60 FPS on your Playstation in any in-game circumstance, relatively even compared to Frame Rate Mode.

Although you can cap both modes at 30 FPS, it may struggle to deliver a consistent frame rate, unlike the uncapped option.

Character Creation And Origin

Rise of the Risin features a robust character creation setup. You can showcase your artistic skills by creating a Samurai character or even a Japanese Historical Figure.

Like Team Ninja’s other counterparts, Nioh and Wo Long, you will have much depth and freedom during customization.

Rise of the Ronin offers a separate Character Creation Menu and even has designated presets for picking a character of your preference.

rise of the ronin character creation

You have many characters to choose from (If you are unwilling to spend time on Customization), with broad race and two genders.

You can work on tiny details to give your characters a unique look by customizing Hair, Adding makeup, Maintaining body structure, and even randomizing the voice.

Jumping to Classes, Rise of the Ronin offers something out of the box, unlike other Action RPGs.

You will have six Blade Sharpening Origins to choose from: Killer, Breaker, Sapper, Seducer, Beginner, and Unsharpened, with an extra point for four stats.

All the origins don’t have much of a difference; instead of single-factor, which entirely depends on the class you pick: Strength for Killer, Dexterity For Breaker, Charm for Seducer, and Intellect for Sapper.

Anish Koirala
Anish Koirala
Meet Anish, a talented author in the gaming industry. With a passion for storytelling and a deep understanding of game mechanics, Anish weaves captivating narratives that immerse players in unforgettable worlds.


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Team Ninja always delivers games that are not at the peak of any genre but still have something unique and have their own identity. But Rise of the Ronin does feel like an old RPG game, with civilians moving and clearing the bases. If you are a Soulslike fan, you should be pretty satisfied with the combat by penetrating the souls or beheading the enemies like balloons. If you want a modern touch to the 1850s Japanese-themed game, you can even use pistols, ARs, and other different types of guns to slay enemies from a distance. The skill tree has excellent depth, but most stats or abilities feel meaningless when you unlock additional skills. Lastly, the combat is relatively quick, aggressive, and punchy, so if you dont move your console key faster, you will shed a lot of blood, especially when facing formidable foes.Rise Of The Ronin Review: Excellent Combat But Disappointing Storyline And Progression Elements