Initially announced as Gods and Monsters at E3 in 2019, Immortals Fenyx Rising is a third-person action-adventure game made by development team Ubisoft Quebec, the same team that brought us Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It is set in a world of Greek Mythology and the story played through is one that is being relayed between the two Greek gods, Prometheus and Zeus. The player controls Fenyx, a mortal set upon a quest of taking down Typhon, a Titan of Greek mythology who was cast into the underworld by Zeus. Typhon has escaped and wreaks vengeance on the other gods by stripping them of their powers and godly essence. It is up to the player to retrieve them and fight back.
The story begins with Zeus requesting Prometheus’ assistance to take down Typhon, however, Prometheus counter-offers with a wager that, through his foresight, a mere mortal can take down the wrath of Typhon and so he would avoid any responsibility. They always bicker between one another, with Zeus often losing interest in the story and interrupting with his own elements to keep it entertaining, like inserting an enemy of choice that the player then has to defeat. The humour is often eye-roll inducing, and not everyone’s taste; it is jovial fun that lightens the mood on what could otherwise be a darker story.
After the basis for the story is explained, the player enters a character creation screen. The customisation is not wide-ranging, with limited options for hairstyle, facial features and skin tone, limiting the player’s options for any true customisation. Not the worst character creation I have ever seen, but not the best by a long shot. Once a character is selected the player is then dropped on to an island, a prologue that acts as a tutorial where the player will learn the basics of traversing the world and combat. Stamina is drained when climbing, running, and gliding far distances with the wings the player receives early in game.
Combat is equal part button-mashing, equal part timing, dependent on the enemy. There are three main attacks; a light attack with the sword, a heavy attack with the axe and a ranged shot with a bow, with some special attacks, known as Godly Powers, that deplete part of the player’s stamina bar when performed. Some enemy attacks can be parried and when timed correctly it sends the enemy into a stunned state where they are unable to move, while other attacks need to be dodged and if timed correctly, time momentarily slows, giving the player an advantage in battle.
There are a nice variety of enemies on the island, from small sword wielding adversaries that can be a breeze to cut down, to gargantuan beasts with considerable health bars and mischievous flying foes. Although a lot of their attacks are not too dissimilar from each other and so while combat is enjoyable, there are not many variables that the player must learn and the combat can become quite easy with some character upgrades. Enemies can be avoided for the most part if they are unessential to the progression of the story, but can be worth fighting as they drop gems that go towards upgrading gear.
Puzzles play a big part of Immortals and there are several types to become accustomed to. From pressure plates that can only be activated by certain weight or by the player themselves, time trials tracking from point A to B, sliding picture puzzles and an arrow shooting exhibition to just name a few. These puzzles are numerous across the regions and each give a reward at the end, whether it be a chest, or an item used to upgrade the player’s abilities and skills. These puzzles are never too difficult to solve, but always feel very time consuming, so for a lot of my playthrough I preferred to simply avoid them unless it was a smaller task.
Immortals finds a happy medium between small and excessive when it comes to its map size and exploration is rewarded with the materials used to upgrade and restore the many stats and items that the player has, including: –
- Weapons and armour
- Health, stamina, attack and defence potions
- Skills and Godly Powers
Immortals can be completed without these upgrades but with a vibrant world free to explore it is well worth side-tracking a bit from the main quest line, plus with a large number of activities to be completed in-game, as well as a New Game Plus option upon completion, the replayability value is high. There are a nice number of different weapons and armour to be unlocked that each give a different stat bonus and the great thing is, if the player likes the statistics of a particular item but not so much the appearance, the player has the freedom of changing to a different items aesthetics while keeping the same statistics of the preferred one.
Ubisoft Quebec have managed to make Immortals a game that is full of beauty and while it has a cartoon feel to it, nothing looks out of place and a surprising attention to detail has gone in to development which can be seen by the intricacies on some of the world’s items and structures. The world itself is vibrant and full of personality and with plenty of structures and mountains to be scaled; some of the viewpoints can look spectacular. The vaults that can be entered take the player to a completely different world, set under a sky with a purple/bluish hue, full of stars. The combat also looks great, with bright streaks and sparks when a blade is swung, sometimes swallowing the player’s entire screen.
Sticking to the cartoon style of Immortals, the voice acting does not take itself too seriously for the most part and it suits the story and humour well, while keeping it all entertaining. The combat sounds great, with different enemies letting out their own war cries and grunts, while the player’s attacks that make contact give that subtle sound of slicing flesh. When flying around at high altitudes the sound of wind passing the player is always present and when breaking boulders, the broken pile forms itself with a crumbling sound. Music is really only used as a filler throughout gameplay, changing from peaceful to aggressive when engaging in combat, which keeps the player engrossed in the world around them more so.
Although combat is a prevalent part of Immortals, the game is not grotesquely violent and there should not be any issues playing while any children are around. The enemies in the world can be somewhat disturbing however, so each child’s reaction to gameplay will differ but there is no harm simply exploring the world and completing some puzzles if the player has any young one’s around, as there are often not too many enemies involved with them. Pausing is simple enough if need be, as the player can pause anywhere, and resume without difficulty.