Immortals Fenyx Rising review: jaw-droppingly beautiful - but feels like an opportunity missed
Legend of Zelda meets Assassin’s Creed in Ubisoft’s next gen power showcase release but how does it fare?
Although it is available on all formats, Immortals Fenyx Rising was one of the most anticipated launch titles for the next generation of consoles - and for good reason.
Footage of the game in the lead up to launch was breathtaking, and with Ubisoft Quebec behind it, hopes were high.
For those who may not have seen it yet, Immortals is an action-adventure video game played from a third person perspective. As touched on above, Ubisoft has been undeniably influenced by the brilliant genre-leading Zelda Breath of the Wild and there is clear crossover between that inspiration and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series.
Jaw-droppingly beautiful action
Players start off by customising the gender, voice and appearances of their titular character, Fenyx, using Aphrodite’s Beauty Chair. But the cool thing is that at any point you can come back and mix things up to your heart’s content.
As with Zelda and AC, Immortals is set in a large open world, consisting of seven distinct regions, each inspired by the various Greek gods. You are accompanied on your journey through the game by a bird named Phosphor, who helps you identify locations of interest in the map - sound familiar, AC fans?
You traverse the world quickly through climbing cliffs, riding on a mount, and flying using the wings of Daedalus. The difference here is the the full open world is accessible from the start of the game. And, as you explore, you encounter rifts which teleport you to the Vaults of Tartaros - a series of platforming challenges that require players to utilise both Fenyx's combat and traversal abilities. Sound familiar, Zelda fans?
There are the usual side missions and optional puzzles you would expect from an open-world game and the action is jaw-droppingly beautiful. There is no denying this is best enjoyed on the next gen consoles.
The enemies you encounter along the way are inspired by Greek mythology with everything from minotaurs to cyclopes. You are armed with two methods of melee attack - light attacks with a sword which are fast but do not deal as much damage, and heavy attacks with a hammer which are, you guessed it, slow but deal more damage.
You can also use bows and arrows but key to your success and survival is your in-game management of stamina - much like in BOTW. Progression is fun and rewarding as you unlock powerful godlike abilities such as Ares' spears which catapult enemies into the air. Weapons and armour can also be upgraded through crafting items found while exploring.
The big problem for Fenyx Rising is that - by borrowing so heavily from two industry-leading games - it is, in many ways, on a hiding to nothing. But it does a very good job living up to both in many respects. The side missions and collectible elements are fantastic, as well as richly rewarding and addictive.
The Vaults (think Shrines, Zelda fans) are great puzzles in their own right, while the combat mechanics are set at such a level that are easy to pick up and not too difficult to master.
The script goes for a comedic element which didn’t quite land for me personally, and I don’t feel it really sat well with the overall story arc.
For those who like a tough challenge, there is an argument to say Immortals is a touch easy from vanquishing enemies to the discovery of secrets and completion of missions.
If Zelda and AC’s combat is a challenge, this is anything but, as your foes are dispatched with consummate ease with every upgrade and advancement in special abilities.
A stunning world to explore
All in all, though, Immortals Fenyx Rising provides a stunning world to explore - preferably on the new generation of console - that is awash with the kind of charm usually reserved for Nintendo titles.
The mythological beasts, powers and satisfying battles coupled with plentiful customisation options make for an enthralling - if shorter and easier than expected - journey through the world the Golden Isles.
While the comedic tone wasn’t to my taste, some of the commentary from Zeus, Prometheus and other gods along the way is amusing.
Some elements feel like a bit of an opportunity missed and there is not a great deal in terms of originality in the game’s constructs. But, as far as first efforts go, this is right up there showing plenty of potential for a thriving series going forward.
On: All formats (Version reviewed: PS5)Rating: 7.5/10