Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Platforms: PC, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Release Date: December 3, 2020
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here $99.95 AUD – Available Here
Meddling with the affairs of Gods is always a dangerous game, especially for a mortal as even at the best of times the mortal realm just barely comes out on top, even in Greek mythology. After first being revealed back in 2019 under the name Gods and Monsters Ubisoft chose to go with Immortals Fenyx Rising as the name instead and has taken a number of aspects familiar with both the Assassin’s Creed games as well as a certain Nintendo release and combined them to create a more light-hearted open world action game that has came out of left-field as being perhaps one of their best attempts at a brand new open world game in years.
The Greek gods once reigned supreme over their realm but Typhon, a powerful monster, has broken free from its prison in Tartaros. Typhon is quick to seek revenge against the various gods as they either fall to his might or flee in terror as no one seems capable of putting up much of a fight against the powerful monstrosity with even Zeus seeking a way to hide from the creature. In an effort to find a way to put down Typhon for good, Zeus turns to the god of knowledge that everyone knows he adores so much, Prometheus. With Prometheus still chained up after giving fire to humanity, the pair serve as the narrators that tell the tale of Fenyx, an unproven soldier that has lived in the shadow of their brother their entire lives.
On their way home from a great battle the ship that Fenyx, her brother, and the rest of the battalion were on manages to sink allowing the survivors to wash up on the devastated Golden Isle. It doesn’t take long for Fenyx, who can be played as either a boy or a girl, to find out that something is incredibly wrong here as not only has every other survivor been turned to stone, their hero-esque brother has also suffered the same fate and strange monsters have begun appearing across the land. Armed with a powerful weapon passed down by the gods, Fenyx finds herself stepping out from her brother’s shadow and becoming more than just a warrior, instead transforming into just the type of hero that the Greek gods will need to save them even if it means facing some truths that these deific beings would rather not accept.
Immortals Fenyx Rising takes an interesting twist when it comes to narrative storytelling as players will find Prometheus narrating most of Fenyx’s journey with Zeus providing various quips and inserting his own little facts here and there to change things up, altering history only for Prometheus to have to reign him in in an effort to keep the story moving forward. This makes for amazing humor, especially if the player knows at least some basic knowledge about the Greek pantheon, as Zeus makes numerous fourth-wall breaking jokes and banters with Prometheus all while the player is exploring a newly found location, fighting a wave of enemies in a story mission, or interjecting on Fenyx’s own interactions with other gods.
Of course this style of humor may not be for everyone but it works very well here partially because Fenyx herself works as a fairly strong character in her own right. Her interactions with the various other gods such as Hermes, Aphrodite, and more as well as the plot of dealing with Typhon and the various aspects of the world are well written and create a solidly entertaining plot that, even if the player isn’t a fan of game’s comedic chops, is still worth enjoying in its own right and even better for those with a solid sense of humor.
In many ways Immortals Fenyx Rising feels like something of an introduction to Ubisoft’s general approach to their open world games as the entire first section that players explore as Fenyx serves as something of a tutorial for most of the game’s mechanics while the game as a whole feels like a more condensed open world with a number of various activities to tackle. Fenyx will initially start with the ability to climb nearly any vertical surface as long as she has enough stamina to do so, swim through bodies of water, glide or double jump with the help of some mythological wings, and much more as players progress throughout the game. Despite the fact that there is so much available at the player’s fingertips, especially since some challenges can be flat out defeated early simply by persistence or thinking outside the box, there is a certain lack of surprise to some challenges as players can immediately identify the locations of chests, puzzles, collectibles, and more simply by climbing atop large statues or mountains and revealing them on the map.
Some of the best parts of Immortals Fenyx Rising come in the form of the various puzzles that players will need to solve. These puzzles come in a variety of forms that can have some rather surprising solutions and, as mentioned before, there is some wriggle room to some puzzle solutions here and there. Puzzles can range from sliding block and weight based ones, timing ones, properly placing stars to mimic a constellation, arrow aiming, and far more that can rely on Fenyx’s maneuverability to solve. It is also nice to note that, given the game’s open nature, players are warned if they cannot currently solve a puzzle due to a missing story ability so they don’t beat their head against an impossible task.
Fenyx gains health from collecting ambrosia scattered throughout the world as well as stamina by absorbing Zeus’ lightning locked away in the best puzzles in the game, the Vaults of Tartaros. These vaults serve as challenging areas separated from the base world and can feature anything from a gauntlet of battles against Typhon’s minions, to jumping puzzles, to arrow timing puzzles, and more to really help make sure that these areas stand out as note only special but often some of the best examples of what Fenyx and her ever growing showcase of powers is capable of.
Battling against Typhon’s various minions and other twisted forces is handled quite smoothly as players can make use of light sword based attacks to deal quick damage, chip away at an enemy’s guard or send them into a stunned state by hitting them with heavy axe blows, fire at them with arrows including the aforementioned complete control arrow, and of course dodging and countering any incoming damage. This is only the start of things however as players can hold various pieces of debris to throw at foes or even grab at an enemy after certain points and some of the powers that Fenyx unlocks from the various gods that she meets really make her something of a steamroller when it comes to taking down even some of the more challenging fights.
This can lead to things being a bit too easy at times should the player find themselves gathering plenty of resources across the map and using them up at the Tower of the Gods. Here players can refine potions that replace using fruit or mushrooms to restore larger portions of health and stamina, use the aforementioned collectibles to provide permanent boosts, and of course strengthen Fenyx’s equipment. It is also worth noting that while the gear is a bit more simplistic in nature, players can choose to have their equipment look however they wish once it is obtained, meaning that players can play as a “fashion” soldier if they want to.
Visuals & Audio
The world of Immortals Fenyx Rising is quite varied with a number of bright and colorful regions that vary in small but noticeable ways and feature quite a large variety of wildlife and mountains that players can tame and scale should they please. The character models themselves are a bit on the rougher side as the art style doesn’t quite find the right line between cartoonish and realistic and although the monsters can be quite stunning at times, players will quickly find out that, outside of some more unique opponents, many of the foes they face within the first few hours will be repeated all the way until the end, making the flashy and fluid combat a bit disappointing in this regard as players will lack enough unique enemies to take down with it.
The English voice actors fore Zeus and Prometheus really pull their weight here as they provide most of the game’s narration and their delivery of the humor really pays off in that regard. The other voice actors are also handled quite well with Fenyx’s female voice actress really fitting the character quite well while the soundtrack fits the heroic style that the game wants to fit itself around though most background tracks fail to really stand out in any significant way.
Anyone spending time with Immortals Fenyx Rising will immediately know where it draws inspiration from and watered down various mechanics from these inspirations to create its own thing and shockingly, created a wonderfully humorous game with rewarding exploration that doesn’t overstay its welcome all while providing a solid mixture of combat and witty puzzles to keep players interested in exploring should they choose to see everything the game has to offer even if it is clear that Ubisoft may not have known just what type of hit they had on their hands here.
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.