Immortals Fenyx Rising is Ubisoft’s much-advertised big fall release, combining Greek mythology with Assassin’s Creed and a sprinkling of humour. I have seen adverts for this game all over social media pushing it hard and with its bright colourful graphics optimised for Series X|S and a vibe similar to Assassin’s Creed what could go wrong.
You play as Fenyx, a seemingly humble shield bearer who has washed ashore only to find her brother and fellow soldiers have all been turned to stone. She discovers some artefacts that belong to Greek heroes and eventually ends up rescuing the Greek God Hermes. Hermes tells Fenyx about Typhon, the most powerful titan who has broken free and wants to merge Tartaros with the mortal realm and make a new world in his image. It is up to Fenyx to restore all the affected Gods to their original glory to stand a chance of defeating Typhon. In a cool way, the story is narrated as it is played out in real-time, with Prometheus explaining to Zeus that he should have more faith in mortals and how Fenyx is likely to be everyone’s saviour. Their ongoing commentary as you progress through the story is a big highlight as they bicker constantly, and Prometheus likes to remind Zeus of all of his bad deeds, which always made me smile.
This was the first game that I put my new Series X and TV through its paces with. My TV is capable of playing 4k in 120fps and so first impressions, this game looked bright, colourful and nicely detailed. IFR allows you to switch between performance and quality modes which I did and, to be fair, I didn’t notice that much of a change except maybe in combat. In quality mode, the combat does feel a tad slowed down compared to performance mode.
The gameplay itself will feel very familiar if you have played any of the Assassin’s Creed games before. The open-world environment, the climbing of scenery, the combat, and even the voice acting all give me that same Assassin’s Creed feeling. The tone feels very different though as this feels a bit more family-friendly with a strong leaning towards comedy. There is a strong puzzling element to it which is mainly what sets itself apart from the Assassin’s Creed games. But all the puzzles you play in this game seem to have a similar vibe. They lack instruction almost all the time and sometimes you can end up wandering around without a clue what to do. That is until you learn you usually have to do one of four things; Roll something, shoot something with an arrow, push/move a block onto a switch or climb something. Now, this is purely down to preference as some like to tackle puzzles with no help, and I don’t want my hand held, but just the minimum of direction would have saved me hours of wandering aimlessly for certain puzzles. Some of the puzzles are quite challenging and are quite enjoyable once you figure out what you are doing, but often there is a lot of carrying or rolling balls/blocks onto switches which starts to wear thin after a while.
The combat in IFR is handled pretty well but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Each enemy has a health and stun meter and the idea is reduced their health to zero – obviously. But going gung-ho at enemies will certainly be your undoing, at least early on anyway. You have to make use of the stun meter to take down bigger enemies and have a chance at bosses. Making use of the parry and dodge at right times is also something you will want to master as quickly as you can. As you progress you do get access to unlock other abilities and powers which improve your skill in battle. You can invest in your dodging ability so you can evade even in mid-air. You can invest in counterattacking if you have managed to master the parry to good effect. Or you can invest in the Godly powers on offer like Herakles strength, Apollo’s arrows, Hephaistos’s Hammer and phosphors attack. These different powers can be game changers in battle and if you can’t get to grips with dodging and parrying then investing in powers may work better for you. Unfortunately, there isn’t a large variety of enemies to face in the open world or they just don’t have enough about them that you would fight them any differently. The bosses do pose some variety and keep you on your toes.
There are a lot of opportunities to upgrade yourself in the game before you progress the story and I would advise anyone interested to do that first, so you build up your character a little. In a similar vein to eagle vision from Assassin’s Creed, you can stand on high areas and look around to highlight things in your nearby vicinity. These could be treasure chests, specific puzzles, specific challenges, ambrosia or Tartaros dungeons, amongst others. There is so much to find around you and all of it adds up in ways to upgrade your character. Collecting enough ambrosia allows you to increase your health. Completing Tartaros dungeons allows you to collect resources and Zeus’s lightning bolts to improve your stamina and other skills. Killing enemies, collecting fauna and bashing mineral veins are how you collect resources to upgrade your skills and Godly powers. You collect coins of Charon from completing challenges which you can also use to upgrade abilities. You can brew potions from the fauna you have collected to restore health or stamina, or you can brew two other potions that boost your attack or defence in battle which you will probably need when it comes to the boss fights.
The open world though is large and lush in its beauty and as there is a lot to discover, so you will need to make use of the tools at hand to make traversing the land easier and more fun. You are given the wings of Daidalos early on to help you fly/float in most areas and it allows you to run when grounded. But that uses stamina to keep flying with the wings as does swimming and climbing walls. It is important to look out for gear that improves stamina, complete puzzles to increase stamina or upgrade skills to improve your ability to traverse the large map. There is a flying dash skill, a swimming skill and wall leap skill you might want to aim for early on to help with your adventuring. But the most fun you will have in traversing the map is with one of the many mounts on offer with some of them even being legendary. They are not the easiest things to tame but they are very important to enjoy all areas of the map without it feeling slow and chore-like.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is an enjoyable family-friendly alternative to Assassin’s Creed. The story is enjoyable and if you know a bit about Greek mythology it’s pleasant to see they took the flaws and cruel sides of the Gods rather than glorifying them. The narrative between Zeus and Prometheus is amusing and is a great accompaniment as you progress through the story. There are plenty of different puzzles outside of the main story to keep you busy and makes traversing the open land more enjoyable. The game could have done with more variety in enemies and puzzles to keep the feeling of monotony at bay though.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.