Get ready to embark on a journey through a pivotal moment in history with Team Ninja’s latest epic, Rise of the Ronin on PS5. Set against the backdrop of Japan’s Bakumatsu period, this action RPG invites you to carve your path in a nation teetering on the brink of monumental change. With the end of the Shogunate and the dawn of Western influence, Rise of the Ronin offers a rich tapestry of political intrigue and personal vendetta, where your decisions shape the course of history.

With its deep, satisfying combat system and the freedom to explore vast, beautifully rendered landscapes, Rise of the Ronin is a testament to Team Ninja’s prowess in creating combat-focused gameplay. Whether you’re gliding over rooftops, engaging in strategic battles, or forging alliances that will alter the fate of regions, Rise of the Ronin offers an adventure that’s as strategic as it is dynamic.

Rise of the Ronin Details

Platform(s): PlayStation 5
Developer(s): Team Ninja
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action role-playing
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)

A tale of choice and consequence

Rise of the Ronin transports you to a beautifully realized period of Japanese history, the Bakumatsu era. The game’s story skillfully blends the journey of the Blade Twins, characters you create, with the dramatic changes of a nation on the edge of a new era. As you make your way through the game’s rich storyline, you’re not just an onlooker but a shaper of history, aligning with factions and making choices that ripple through the game’s story.

Rise of the Ronin story’s strength is in its grounding in reality, eschewing the mythological for a more authentic experience. Historical figures and events are woven into the fabric of the game, providing a sense of immersion and educational depth. I really liked Team Ninja’s decision to allow players to influence the course of events in the game. I feel it really adds a layer of personal investment, making each playthrough uniquely tailored to the choices that you make.

However, there are a few nitpicks I have with the game’s story. While the story is engaging, I found that it can sometimes become convoluted, with a lot of characters and side plots that I found to be challenging to keep track of. And, for me, this led to moments where the main story felt lost amongst all the various side plots. Additionally, while I really enjoyed the character development, I feel that like myself some might find the massive number of relationships and alliances overwhelming. With so much going on, I feel this can lessen the impact of individual characters and their stories.

Rise of the Ronin

Engaging combat and strategic gameplay

Rise of the Ronin’s gameplay is a testament to Team Ninja’s expertise in crafting engaging action RPGs. The game offers a deep and satisfying combat system that really stood out for me. With a variety of weapons and styles to choose from, you can find your niche whether you prefer the swift strikes of dual blades or the heavy hits of an odachi. I also felt that Rise of the Ronin’s strategic depth was further enhanced by the Ki system, which requires you to manage your stamina carefully, adding a layer of tactical decision-making to every encounter.

The inclusion of a Bond system is another unique aspect that I really liked about Ronin’s gameplay. Building relationships with characters and regions not only rewards you with in-game benefits but also influences the story, making your journey feel personalized. Additionally, I liked the ability to switch between characters on the fly. This allows for dynamic combat scenarios and gave me the opportunity to experiment with different playstyles. Traversal mechanics, such as horseback riding, grappling, and gliding, really give you a sense of freedom and exploration into the game’s open-world setting. This encourages players to engage with the world around them and discover all that feudal Japan has to offer.

However, Rise of the Ronin’s gameplay does have a few things I think can be improved upon. I found the loot system overwhelming, with its constant influx of items that had little to no impact on gameplay. This led to my inventory being an absolute mess at times and I felt it detracted from my overall experience. Additionally, while the open-world design is impressive, there are some areas that felt empty or lacked the visual polish that you would expect from a modern day game.

Rise of the Ronin

A visual and auditory journey through Feudal Japan

Rise of the Ronin’s presentation is a mixed bag that offers both charm and areas that I felt need some polish. Visually, I felt that the game doesn’t quite hit the high bar set by other PS5 exclusives. However, it still manages to capture the essence of feudal Japan with its detailed environments. The bustling streets of Yokohama and the serene countryside are brought to life with a sense of authenticity that players will appreciate. While there are some areas that can feel a bit empty, I feel that the overall design of the Rise of the Ronin’s world is convincing and paints a beautiful picture of the era.

Overall, the game’s performance is generally smooth, with the option to choose between graphics modes to prioritize frame rate or visual detail. Personally, I found the performance mode to be a much more fluid experience, especially during the game’s intense combat sequences. Sound design in Rise of the Ronin is a strong point, with the clashing of swords and the ambient sounds of nature giving you a real sense of the game’s historical setting. And, the soundtrack is fitting, enhancing the drama of the narrative and the tension of battles.

Voice acting, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. While Team Ninja attempted to capture the tone of classic samurai films, some of the voice work, in my opinion, comes across as flat or overly dramatic. The character creator offers options for voice customization, but even then, your character’s voice can feel underwhelming. Despite this, I didn’t find that the voice acting took away from the game’s many strengths.

Rise of the Ronin

Rise of the Ronin offers a fresh perspective on a pivotal historical period that is both challenging and enjoyable

Rise of the Ronin stands as a bold step forward for Team Ninja, presenting a rich tapestry of feudal Japan that is as immersive as it is expansive. The game’s combat system is a high point, offering a depth and fluidity that will satisfy fans of strategic action RPGs. With a variety of weapons and styles, you can truly make the combat your own, and the Ki system adds a layer of tactical gameplay that rewards skillful play.

The game’s open-world design is another strong aspect, with vast areas to explore and a ton of side quests that add to the game’s longevity. The Bond system is an innovative feature that not only affects gameplay but also weaves into the narrative, providing a more personalized experience.

Rise of the Ronin offers an engaging blend of combat and immersive world-building, but the experience is weighed down by an overcomplicated loot system, which clutters your inventory with unnecessary items. While Rise of the Ronin’s graphics look good, they don’t quite deliver on what the PS5 is capable of. Moreover, the voice acting is hit-or-miss.

+ Immersive world-building and engaging side quests offer a rich and rewarding experience
+ One of Team Ninja’s best combat systems, offering depth and variety in its action RPG gameplay
+ A fresh perspective on a pivotal historical period, blending fictional and historical elements seamlessly

– The loot system can be overwhelming, often giving you excessive items that may feel unnecessary and burdensome
– The game’s visuals aren’t on par with other recent PS5 exclusive games


Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 3.5/5
Sound: 3.5/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5

Overall Rating 3.8/5 (76%)

Purchase Rise of the Ronin on PlayStation 5

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Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.


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