Rise Of The Ronin Review – Exceptional Combat But Uninspired Game Design

Sekiro, Nioh, Assassin's Creed, Ghost of Tsushima - It has them all.

Rise Of The Ronin Review
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance


Despite its shortcomings, trust me when I say it: Ronin’s gameplay, bosses, and traversal mechanics keep you hooked until the end.


  • Satisfying Combat.
  • Great Art Direction.
  • Fun Traversal.
  • Amazing Boss Battles.


  • Bloated Open World.
  • Below Average Visuals.
  • Generic Game Design.

The Soulslike genre has gained much attention in recent years with successful releases of games like Lies of P. There were many other entries in this genre last year, and even if they were not as triumphant, their releases have made the market more competitive for such games. I was extremely hyped to get my hands on Rise of the Ronin, and I went into this game with many expectations for combat more than anything else, so I’ll give an in-depth analysis of gameplay in my review.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Team Ninja
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 22, 2024
  • Platforms: PS5
  • Game Length: 25-30 Hours [Normal Difficulty]
  • Time Played: 12 Hours

When perfectly recreating the combat provided in From Software’s acclaimed titles, I trust no studio other than Team Ninja to craft a satisfying gameplay experience.

Story And Setting

analysis of the game
The Story And Setting. (Image Captured by Us)

Rise of the Ronin’s story is much easier to follow than Team Ninja’s previous works, but it does not bolster a narrative that will blow your expectations out of the water. Its narrative revolves around Western culture’s effects on Japan’s Shogunate era during the mid-19th Century. It introduces its main characters, the Blade Twins, whose village is destroyed by the Shogunate.

Due to its historical Japanese setting, Rise of the Ronin is often compared to Ghost of Tsushima, which depicts its own version of the Samurai.

The twins receive protection from Bladesmith and are trained to become part of Veiled Edge, an organization whose sole purpose is to destroy Japan’s Shogunate. Your first mission ends up resulting in the loss of one of the twins, and the rest of Ronin’s story follows your journey to finding that twin.

During your journey, you will encounter people from different factions, and it is you who decides which ideology you’ll support, such as the Ronin.

Comparisons With Ghost of Tsushima

rise of the ronin review
Getting Introduced To Rise of the Ronin’s Open World. (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)

Due to its historical Japanese setting, Ronin is often compared to Ghost of Tsushima, which depicts its own version of Samurai. Such comparisons are generally valid, but I felt that Team Ninja went with a drastically different aesthetic in creating this title since Ronin’s setting depicts the effects of Western Culture on Japan.

The open world is huge and filled with major cities like Yokohama that you can explore. These cities are filled with architecture inspired by Western culture, and I was almost surprised when I entered Yokohama for the first time. It felt like I had transitioned from Japan to Britain, and the setting had completely changed.


analysis of the game
The Gameplay. (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)

Team Ninja has absolutely nailed the overall gameplay of Rise of the Ronin, and it heavily depends upon perfectly timed parries. Battles consist of fast-paced action combat with a bit of stealth in between. You can learn multiple stances for each weapon, and there are various weapon types.

Overall, Ronin’s gameplay is as close as you’ll get to something like Sekiro in pure satisfaction.

Rise of the Ronin is really accessible, and it even comes with difficulty options that cater to different types of players. It allows you to take NPCs with you on missions if you’ve established bonds with these NPCs. They don’t just act like summons; you can actively switch to them during combat. This adds more variety to gameplay since I could test out different weapons and styles of the characters with whom I had established bonds.

rise of the ronin review
Combat Styles For Weapons. (Image Captured by eXputer)

Boss battles are thankfully still tough, and Ronin rewards you for learning the movesets of each boss. I would remain stuck on some bosses for hours but wouldn’t stop playing because the combat was addictive. Every try that I took made me learn something that I didn’t know before, and then came a point when I was perfectly parrying every single move, kind of like dancing with a boss.

Styles can be changed mid-combat, and certain enemies are additionally weak to certain styles. An icon above each enemy turns blue when you’re using the correct style and red when you’re using the wrong style. Most attacks can be blocked, but certain with a red glow can be perfectly parried or dodged.

rise of the ronin review
The Skill Tree In Rise of the Ronin. (Image Captured by Us)

A skill tree is also available where you can utilize points to unlock new skills in four different types of stats. Ronin’s leveling-up system has also been simplified, and you essentially gain skill points after increasing a level, which can be used to unlock more skills that further deepen the combat.

Your attacks and blocks utilize Ki, which is essentially your stamina. You can easily recover Ki after launching a combo using one of the most genius mechanics, Blade Spark. With the right timing, I could press R1 between combos to regain almost all of my Ki.

Each area on the map has been bloated with these icons and completion lists, which are just there to add extra hours to your gameplay time while getting nothing of value in return.

The grappling hook can also be used both during duels and stealth. Stealth is also fun but not as satisfying as Ronin’s action combat. The AI of enemies is also kind of dumb, and you can easily cheese your way through enemy hideouts by silently assassinating your foes. 

Overall, Ronin’s gameplay is as close as you’ll get to something like Sekiro in pure satisfaction. My only gripe with it is that the perfect parry is bound to Triangle instead of L1, but thankfully, you can rebind your controls, which spared me the challenge of inserting a new parry button in my muscle memory. 

Bloated And Generic Open World

rise of the ronin review
The Bloated Open World Map. (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)

Rise of the Ronin’s uninspired design of its open world, paired with below-average visuals, are its two biggest sins. Its open world is completely filled with these icons, each indicating a certain side activity, and there are five to six different types of side missions that you can take on.

The open world isn’t the only boring thing; it’s also the mission design, which includes both the main and side missions.

Each area on the map has been bloated with these icons and completion lists, which are just there to add extra hours to your gameplay time while getting nothing of value in return. This completely ruined my exploration since the activities were already marked on the map for me once I started exploring an area.

rise of the ronin review
Getting Around In The Open World Using The Glider. (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)

Ronin’s open world isn’t only boring; it’s also the mission design, which includes both main and side missions. Generally, you’re tasked with infiltrating a location, killing fodder enemies, and ending a mission on a boss. This formula can get old after a while, but thankfully, Ronin’s tight combat concentrates my mind on the gameplay.

Even though the open world is filled with boring and repetitive stuff, at least moving around this open world is not a hassle. Fast travel can be easily unlocked across multiple locations, and you can use the horse to get around on land. However, I had so much fun using the grappling hook and glider to move around big cities like Yokohama.

Visuals And Performance

analysis of the game
The Visuals And Performance. (Image Captured by eXputer)

Rise of the Ronin has received a lot of criticism for its outdated visuals. While its visuals feel outdated, the criticism completely ignores the beautiful art direction of this title.

Visuals are decent, but I feel like Team Ninja failed to deliver a next-gen graphical experience, which most people expected due to the Playstation exclusivity and the 70$ price tag.

Looking at the cherry blossom trees of Pleasure District sandwiched between the towers of Yokohama while you’re gliding is an experience that left me in awe. However, this beautiful art design would’ve given a much better result if its visuals had been refined.

As for the performance, Rise of the Ronin offers three different visual modes: Performance, Graphics, and Ray Tracing. In my testing, I didn’t see much difference in visual clarity in all three modes, so I used the Performance mode to get consistent 60FPS during the fast-paced action combat battles. While exploring big cities like Yokohama, there are general dips and negligible drops during the gameplay sections.


analysis of the game
The Verdict. (Image Captured by Us)

Even though Rise of the Ronin suffers from average visuals and generic game design, no sacrifices have been made in its gameplay department. If you’re the type of player who only judges gameplay in his games, this game is for you. Despite its shortcomings, trust me when I say it: Ronin’s gameplay, bosses, and traversal mechanics keep you hooked until the end.

This has been my Rise of the Ronin review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

This is box title
Get This Game
If you’re a fan of satisfying action combat and the historical Japanese setting.
Dont Get This Game
If you were expecting next-gen visual fidelity or creative open world design.
Do I Need To Get This Game
Yes, If you can overlook the visuals and the boring side content of this game, then the gameplay has a lot to offer in Rise of the Ronin.
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Haris Umer is a Guides Writer on eXputer who can be seen torturing himself by playing FromSoftware’s offering of Souls games. He speaks about games with overwhelming passion, which readers can spot in his guides. Haris has been avidly playing video games for 15+ years now. You can learn more about his gaming experience through his PSN and Steam profiles.

Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelors In Medicine And Surgery.

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