Dec 13 2021

Late Immortals Fenyx Rising Review

A love letter to a goddess out of my league. Whilst Fenyx (female avatar) may just be a figment of some writer’s imagination, she reminded me of a good friend of mine, whom under different circumstances, I would have asked out years ago. It was nice to feel close to her again.

Immortals Fenyx Rising is essentially Ubisoft’s love letter to Assassins Creed: Odyssey. Utilising Greek mythology within the fictional Golden Isle, you come up face to face with monsters of legend, Cyclops, Medusa, Griffins, Minotaurs, Harpies etc. You’re a mortal, on a rescue mission to save the mortal inhabitants of the world and the Gods from Typhon, a giant monster seeking revenge on the world that had imprisoned him under a mountain. The Gods you encounter, Ares, Aphrodite, Athena and Hephaistos are all diminished, transformed figures when you first come across them, having to seek their essences to restore them back to their bickering, self-centred selves, though hopefully now having learnt a lesson or two from Fenyx’s ability to unite all. Hermes is also along for the ride as he attempts to help you in your quest.

Throughout the entirety of the game, it’s essentially narrated behind the scenes by Prometheus, chained to a rock, as he tells your story in a future prose to the very easily distracted and ‘fantastic role model’ Zeus. The narration between Zeus and Prometheus is hilarious and helps to break up the monotonous gameplay at times with zingers and quirky twists on the hard truths concerning Zeus’ heinous past within Greek mythology.

Now an obvious comparison everybody has come to when reviewing this game is that it’s a clone of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and yep, it’s definitely Ubisoft’s take on this. Essentially trimming down on the NPCs and assassination skills from Odyssey, adding cel-shading and godly powers, and you have a doppelganger of BOTW. Now of course the stories told are different, as you explore the world any means possible, whether on foot, horse, climbing cliff sides or gliding, and I would say puzzles were a little different, with Immortals being more difficult (until BOTW DLC, but then Immortals DLC comes right back and raises the ante again), but they are very similar in many ways. Trials exist. Different biomes on the map to explore. Exploration equates to acquiring upgrades. Combat is amongst small groups of enemies, as you swing a sword or heavy weapon into their face (Zelda has the better system I preferred of weapon wear), slow down when falling whilst aiming with bow, dodging, blocking and parrying (again, Zelda wins on the Guardian laser parries, felt so bad-ass). In Immortals, I favoured spamming Ares Wrath, dealing huge amounts of stun to surrounding enemies, and finishing them with fly-bys from Phosphor, your ‘phoenix’ bird companion. Chickens/Roosters are still your sworn enemy.

As there’s only a small cast of characters in Immortals, fully voiced in comparisons to BOTW cast of NPCs, there’s not a lot of interactivity for receiving side quests, and for the most part, the side quests don’t reward Fenyx much other than a one liner from Zeus. So essentially, Fenyx him/herself has to carry the game, on their journey from mortal to ‘Deity’.

As I had chosen the female character model, essentially just due to the female being on the cover of the game, her English second language Greek accent fuelled by her bad jokes and fiery self-worth of wanting to be the Hero, was captivating and reminded me much as I sobbed in the review introduction of a good friend of mine. I couldn’t help but play the game with her much in mind, and so I cheered her on through her successes in the gameplay as I sat on the sidelines. I’ve just completed the New Gods DLC, and it was a nice, powerful ending to see Fenyx off. Hopefully that’s the last I’ll see of Fenyx, as I don’t know if my heart can take any more reminiscent jabs.

Now I say the DLC was Fenyx’s narrative ending, but who knows, as a comic book has actually been commissioned of Fenyx’s past, and there might still be enough mythology for Fenyx to explore, if she doesn’t create even more new legends of her own in another game, so it’s definitely worthy of a sequel. To be honest, I think the game should have always just gone with a female protagonist rather than having the option for a male, just as Kassandra’s story in AC: Odyssey is probably more captivating for the setting of Ancient Greece and her background as opposed to a male counterpart, and also how Balek’s story resonated well with Ancient Egypt and his background.

My biggest complaint of the game is the controller scheme, requiring Godly Powers to be activated by holding L1 and sprinting being assigned to Square, though square is also used for dodge and prevents you from being able to use the right stick to look around, and that I also prefer my L1 to be used for sprint, so I rearranged the buttons and set L3 to activate Godly Powers. Throughout the base game, this was perfectly fine, completing the 60 hour campaign like this, but all thrown into chaos in the New Gods DLC, as L3 is now used for a new teleportation power, with no option to customise this power’s assigned button, which meant I had to keep switching Godly Powers between L3 and L1 when I didn’t require transportation, as L3 really is the easier button to use. I even used my custom controller scheme when playing the game’s demo on my Nintendo Switch, which played perfectly fine, considering reduced graphics etc, just longer load times as expected. Also, with the New God DLC, the game crashed a few times whilst loading trials.

As the game has been released on the back end of the previous gen of consoles, though I played the PS5 version of the game, it didn’t utilise many new technologies of the PS5 other than the ability to switch between ray-tracing mode and performance mode, which of course I’m choosing the smoother 60fps experience over some shiny lights, and the triggers would rattle when charging an attack, beyond that, this game would play fine today on a PS4 (Pro) with its cel-shaded graphics.

Immortals Fenyx Rising has been a good time waster, I’ve enjoyed my playthrough on Hard difficulty. I’m currently playing through the last two DLC, with one of them played from a top down perspective, which I think helps give the game a difference to BOTW, making it more unique and an area of ‘experimental’ gameplay Ubisoft is not scared from exploring. I think the game has managed to catch a few gamers by surprise with it’s world and characters, being worth double what the used market currently thinks it’s valued at, so by all means, grab yourself a bargain and the DLC.

Lasstly, may the power of your love reach out to all, as mine reaches out to you.


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