At gamescom today, Microsoft Studios and Crytek debuted Gladiator mode, the cooperative multiplayer experience in “Ryse: Son of Rome,” and offered an in-depth look at a myriad of never-before-seen features and refinements to the game’s combat system. First Look at “Ryse: Son of Rome” Multiplayer In Rome, the Coliseum was the heart and soul of the city; in “Ryse: Son of Rome,” it becomes the stage where you’ll forge your path to glory as a fearless gladiator. Take to the sands cooperatively with your friends and do battle against an ever-changing horde of enemies. According to Crytek, key features of the multiplayer experience include: Be Your Own Hero. “Ryse” offers a large variety of armor, weapons, shields, and consumables to customize your own unique gladiator. These items are earned through gold rewarded from victories in combat and impact your stats by improving your focus, XP, crowd reaction, and health. Consumables are elixirs that have a temporary effect, such as improving health or allowing instant kills. Dynamic Tile Sets. Inspired by the movable floor pieces used to re-create historic battles in the ancient Colosseum, “Ryse” uses dynamic “tile sets” of scenery to provide a continuous stream of unpredictable challenges. Scenery hidden in the hypogeum literally erupts from the floor, providing players with settings ranging from strongholds, to ruins, to naval battles. Custom Challenges and Arenas. “Ryse” allows you to create your own experiences by using the challenge editor to mix and match the maps and events into custom playlists. Each challenge has its own leaderboard and the more players who have played, the higher the reward at the end of the challenge. “Ryse” will feature 11 multiplayer maps at launch, plus an additional bonus map for those who purchase the Day One edition of the game. At gamescom, Crytek showcased the following: Courtyard is an open environment highlighting the dynamic nature of the Colosseum. With each wave new dangers are introduced to the Arena, from flaming pits, to deadly traps, to automated catapults. Stronghold shows off the ability to completely change the environment, re-creating a battle between Roman forces and the barbarian hordes in the distant pagan lands of Germania. More Details about the Combat System Alongside the first look at multiplayer, Crytek revealed more details about the combat system in “Ryse: Son of Rome” in a behind-the-scenes ViDoc. “Ryse” features a deep, multi-layered combat system that arms the player with a plethora of tools. Here are some of the highlights that fans can expect from the development team at Crytek: Attacks and Timing. The basis for all combat is a mastery of timing of attacks and blocks: the tighter the timing the better the player will perform. For example, a perfectly timed block will not only deflect an incoming attack but also throw the enemy wide open, making the counter attack much more effective. And the shield is not just for blocking; it can be just as potent as the sword if used correctly. Executions. When an enemy has been nearly defeated, an Execution can be enabled to finish them off. These are made up of a series of timed blows using either the sword or the shield, with associated rewards that can be assigned to different perks. There are three Execution Tiers; players must open up the higher level tiers to experience the most dramatic Executions. There are well over 100 different Executions in the game: some are location-sensitive, like dropping an enemy on a conveniently-placed spike or kicking them off a wall; and some are performed by executing multiple enemies at the same time. There are also special combo-Executions that can be performed in co-op mode. Perks. The Perk system lets the player decide which rewards they want from hitting the execution timing windows. They can choose between increased damage, XP, health and Focus. When Focus is sufficiently built up the player can trigger a large area effect that slows enemies. In Gladiator Mode, perks are assigned based on which god players choose at the beginning of the match, and players can receive benefit from their partner’s perk if they are nearby. Combo Counter & Execution Tiers. Each successful hit without taking damage increases the combo counter when the player crosses certain combo thresholds they move up an execution tier. Ranged Weapons. The basic ranged weapon is a pilum (javelin), but scorpios (huge crossbows) can also be encountered. Second Issue of “Ryse: Sword of Damocles” Now Available for Free In addition, the second issue of the Digital Graphic Novel, “Ryse: Sword of Damocles” was released, further exploring the tale of the Ancient Roman legend Damocles, Centurion of Rome, as he returns from the Underworld to exact revenge on those who betrayed him. Both issues of “Ryse: Sword of Damocles” are available for free at xbox.com/ryse/comic. Read them to unlock collectibles for “Ryse: Son of Rome” when it launches exclusively on Xbox One this November.