By the time you've seen that ending, though, you'll have unlocked the majority of Marius' upgrades, and there's nothing like enough substance to the gameplay to tempt you to run the campaign on another difficulty setting or to lure you into long-term engagement with the two-player arena mode. There's no brains, no muscle, no fibre beneath Ryse's extravagantly engineered good looks - this game rings loud but hollow. Crytek likes to contrast Marius' moral strength with the vanity and cruelty of Nero and his made-up sons, but Ryse feels like a product of their dying empire. It's just empty decadence.
It's all the more frustrating that Shadow Fall fails to establish that identity, because it gets so close in its early design and themes. It sets up an open-ended tactical shooter in a cynical world of sci-fi realpolitik - and then bottles it, taking the easy escape route of another suicide mission into empty spectacle. There's a lack of confidence here that contrasts starkly with Guerrilla's dazzling, sure-footed command of the new hardware. It's a game that any new PlayStation 4 owner will be proud to show off - but it won't be one they remember by the time PS5 rolls around.
It's tempting to write off subscription MMOs completely, but there are some signs of life in the sector: Final Fantasy 14 is doing quite well, and the forthcoming WildStar is in the final stages of a persuasive charm offensive with the MMO community. But there are only fleeting signs of life in The Elder Scrolls Online itself - and few of them have anything to do with The Elder Scrolls. Maybe this grand project sounded like a good idea in 2007, but now it feels like a leftover obligation: a game no-one really asked for, and a flawed premise from the start.
But in the white heat of the Strike playlists - or in Heroic mission runs with a friend, or in the unheralded arrival of a public event whilst tooling around in Patrol - Destiny blazes a clear trail through the middle of the desolate no man's land that, for years now, has segregated the bombastic emptiness of shooter campaigns from the frenetic slaughter of multiplayer. And it does so with a poise and depth that its few peers - games like the charming but scrappy Borderlands and Far Cry - cannot match; a poise and depth that will keep people playing it for years.
It's going to be a busy season for racing games, with sim hopeful Project Cars, ambitious online "CarPG" The Crew and the social score-attack of DriveClub all jostling for attention. Horizon 2 sets an intimidatingly high bar for those games to meet on every front, but in one aspect it seems unbeatable. I can't imagine any of them are going to feel this happy.
Perhaps aiming to satisfy a younger audience, Treasure Tracker prefers to drop in a colourful boss-fight or format-breaking set-piece than to push the puzzle designs as hard as they can go. Solving most of these levels is more a matter of following your nose than exercising your brain. Captain Toad also doesn't achieve as reliably perfect a synthesis of puzzle and platforming as Game Boy Donkey Kong did, occasionally failing to fully scratch either itch - though at other times it finds something truly original in the space between them. And there is always that moment when you load up a new level and spin it, beholding another perfect microcosm, made just for you. 18 years on from Super Mario 64, Nintendo's designers are still going further in their exploration of the third dimension than almost anyone else.
And as a game in its own right? You can't accuse it of being short on content, features or ideas, but it's hardly long on them either, and it's a shade overpriced for what it is. Perhaps worse, you can tell that Tipping Stars is a game made with care but without passion, a game that isn't its own raison d'�tre. Like the little clockwork Marios marching toward their goal, it's got purpose, but it's not the real, joyful thing.
If you make the effort, you'll find that Slightly Mad has built a motorsport game for the people, at once flexible and uncompromising: a single-minded hymn to the gritty thrills of the pit-lane and the back straight. There's room for improvement and we'll be watching future updates with keen interest, but these foundations are strong indeed.