Rise of the Ronin Review

Rise of the Ronin is a PS5 exclusive game from Team Ninja that takes you back to the Japan’s Bakumatsu era in 1863. It’s an interesting era because Japan was opening up to the Western influence which means you’ll get to experience not just swords and samurais, but gunpowder weapons as well.

You’ll start by creating your characters – and yes, that’s in plural. This is because you can later switch to your Blade Twin during combat so you can fully customise how they look. The character creation is pretty deep and detailed, and I truly enjoyed creating my characters (and probably spending too much time on this as well).

While the graphics of Rise of the Ronin don’t actually look that great compared to the more, recent, modern PS5 games, it’s the gameplay that matters, right?

Combat is pretty satisfying that offers you different dynamics and mechanics. You’ll die quite a lot, especially as you take time to understand the game’s combat mechanics during the first few hours. There are also times when boss fights can be frustrating and require some time to study the bosses’ moves. I was actually playing with the Dusk difficulty (the Normal difficulty of the game) so if you don’t have much time to play and just want to enjoy the game, you should switch to the Dawn difficulty – which is the Easy or Story mode. Thankfully, you can switch this while playing the game so everything is not all lost when you get stuck at something.

Speaking of combat mechanics, I’m honestly not a fan of the controls as it feels like the game throws too much at you. And at times, executing something requires a mental brain and series of clunky presses or holds. Take a break from the game for a week or a month, and I can assure you that you’ve already forgotten about all the controls and have to restart again from scratch.

But if you have invested in the game for some time and been playing for a while, you will eventually get all these and appreciate how much stuff you can do with the variety of weapons available for you to use. Not to mention that you can also switch to your Blade Twin at any time during combat.

Parrying (or Countersparks) plays a big role in the game, as well as depleting an enemy’s stamina or Ki.

Rise of the Ronin is an open world game so if you like to explore a big map within a game to check every corner, collect all the collectibles, and finish every side quests possible, you’ll like Rise of the Ronin. I’m not too much of a fan on this one, however. The quests feel too many and they are pretty repetitive and bland (go and kill someone, etc) – similar to the Assassins Creed series. While many games are following this tradition, I really like the way Cyberpunk 2077 does their side quests – each quest is unique and well-crafted.

Some quests increase your reputation to a certain faction and if you spend time to talk or give gifts to certain people, you will eventually even unlock upgrades and new moves. The side characters also have their own storyline and quests which makes it feel good to watch, listen, and spend time on these missions. You will be able to select on answers during a conversation as well.

Rise of the Ronin Review Conclusion

Rise of the Ronin is not the type of game where you can just turn on and play to enjoy. It requires dedication and investment to actually get immersed into the story, the era, and the characters in the game. The game also requires you to understand and get comfortable with the controls and combat system – which again, will take a while to get used to and remember naturally.

The graphics do look outdated compared to the modern game standards (or even a few years old games) but to most people, gameplay matters more. And the gameplay is satisfying once you master all the controls and understand what to do in a given combat situation. Boss fights require you to remember and observe their moves in order for you to win the match. At times, you may get frustrated with the difficulty of the combat but thankfully, you can always change the game’s difficulty setting so you’ll never have to feel frustrated at any point in the game. If you like the challenge of course, that’s a different story, as it may take you half an hour or more to defeat a boss. But when you do, it does feel very satisfying.

I just think that the game wants to do everything and it feels that it can be too much of everything. Being able to switch to a different character at any time like Genshin Impact? Check. Want an open world game with tons of side quests and things to check? Check. Want the players to be able to use any kinds of weapons of their choice? Check. Want a story with memorable characters and quests? Check. Want to allocate skill points so you’ll get better and better? Check. Want Co-Op? Check. Want to be able to go back in time and try a different path? Check. And more.

While it feels like there are nothing new to experience in Rise of the Ronin, it’s definitely a game that will appreciate your investment and commitment to playing the game and when you do, you will be rewarded with hours and hours of gameplay – enough to fill you in for weeks to come.

Disclosure: Rise of the Ronin review licence was supplied for reviewing

Rise of the Ronin Review


Rise of the Ronin offers a journey back to Japan’s Bakumatsu era, delivering challenging combat mechanics and a vast open world to explore, though its outdated graphics and repetitive quests may deter some players.

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