Immortals: Fenyx Rising – previously known as Gods and Monsters – is a brand new IP from Ubisoft that was announced last year. The game was revamped and shown off to the world for the first time at Ubisoft’s digital conference, Ubisoft Forward. At first glance, this third-person, action adventure looks like the product of a one-night stand between Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Upon playing the game for the past few days now, I realised my initial thoughts were pretty accurate, but I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this game.
In Immortals, you play as Fenyx, a mortal who must save the Gods from the wrath of Typhon, an escaped Titan. Along with the entirety of the godly Greek pantheon, all of mankind has also been annihilated by Typhon and his minions, so there’s definitely a lot of motivation to go after the big bad guy. Immortals is aimed at younger gamers, but the humour in this game just did not vibe with me. God of Gods Zeus and Prometheus share this constant, annoying fourth-wall-breaking banter throughout the game and it’s just jarring. I get what the game was going for – and it could appeal to some, but it did not resonate with me at all. In fact, I wasn’t a fan of the voice acting and the plot in general, with the over-the-top theatrics and jokes that just did not land. Thankfully, Immortals’ gameplay is solid and offers an engaging experience no matter your age.
Immortals plays like an amalgamation of various act-adventure games from over the past decade. Apart from the obvious Zelda inspirations, the game borrows from franchises like God of War, Darksiders and Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed franchise. But this wasn’t an issue for me, because unlike some poor imitators, Immortals balances all these mechanics competently.
Immortals takes place in a massive world that’s broken up into different hubs. Each of these hubs is modelled after and inspired by a Greek God, so Ares’ domain is all war, death and destruction, while Aphrodite’s is beautiful and picturesque. And this massive game world takes place on one seamless island, so you can pretty much see and visit all the explorable areas from the get-go. Each hub boasts of a massive statue of its God, and upon scaling that statue, you can use that vantage point as a fas-travel location. Doing that will not only remove the fog of war from that hub, but it’ll highlight that area’s primary quest, as well as all the different things for you to collect or look for.
Between story-driven missions, you’ll spend a lot of your time exploring the vast game world in search for gear and materials that – as you guessed it, can be used to increase various attributes like health and stamina, or improve your gear. Stamina is an extremely important attribute in Immortals, because nearly every action, be it sprinting, climbing, or dodging enemy attacks consumes stamina. After the game’s intro/tutorial section, you’ll even gain access to a pair of wings that utilise stamina to glide all over the game world. You’ll be able to pluck various fruits across the game world that allow you to immediately replenish stamina, but if you want a bigger boost to your stamina or health, you’ll have to start crafting potions. Crafting potions, upgrading your gear and even improving your attributes can be done in the Hall of Heroes, the game’s version of a central hub. You can even undertake daily or weekly challenges from there to earn rare materials and items.
Fenyx begins his/her adventure with a sword, an axe and a bow. The sword deals fast hits, while the axe hits like a truck but is slower to wield. The bow is perfect for dealing with ranged enemies and is useful for solving puzzles as well. Using various materials found or earned in the game world, you’ll be able to upgrade your weapon archetype. I like this system because it didn’t force me to choose which sword to upgrade. I just upgraded damage across all swords, without having to make tough choices. This same principle is applied to armour as well. While the base weapons are solid enough, I would definitely recommend exploring the game world as you could come across pretty cool weapons with useful perks. Gear hounds will be pleased to know that that there are options for you to actually make some builds down the road.
Combat is an important part of the game, and it isn’t very punishing. Those proficient in action games will get by fine here on the normal difficulty. Off course, there will be tougher enemies across the game world that may offer a significant challenge, but you should approach them after you’ve tweaked your gear and attributes sufficiently. The game spends as much time in combat encounters as it does taking you through a gamut of puzzles. Puzzles start out simple, but can get devious, especially if you aren’t too used to these kinds of games. Thankfully, the checkpoint system is pretty lenient so even if you die upon missing a jump, your progress up to that point won’t get completely wiped out.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising has an uphill battle ahead of it. Not only will it have to find a way to get out of the shadows of games it draws inspiration from, but it’s being released very close to other Ubisoft open-world games and Cyberpunk 2077. I do hope this game survives though, because underneath the “inspiration”, there’s a solid action-adventure game here. Immortals is great at offering a genuine sense of adventure that made me want to explore every nook and corner. Add to that a bright and cheerful colour palette, robust combat mechanics and puzzles that are sure to make you think, and you have a satisfying new title that can appeal to gamers of all ages.