- Developer: Ubisoft
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Release Date: 3/12/2020
- Price: £49.99 / $59.99
- Review code provided by: Ubisoft
- Version reviewed: 1.0.4
Episode 24 – SNK Vs. Capcom: Match of the Millennium – Voices
Introducing: Immortals Fenyx Rising Switch Review
You know that you have created a classic when other games pick up your style and create something new. This is exactly what Immortals Fenyx Rising – known as Gods and Monsters during its development – does with the legacy of Breath of the Wild. Let’s have a close look at Greek mythology through the eyes of a shield bearer called Fenyx.
Typhon, of Titan fame, broke his chains. Angry about his imprisonment, he laid waste to the world by petrifying all humans, and enslaved the gods by separating their essences from their bodies. Only Zeus managed to escape the purge unscathed and seeks help from Prometheus. Prometheus, wanting freedom from his chains, barters with the mighty god and bets that a mere mortal will rid the world of Typhon.
This mortal is Fenyx, a shield bearer who wakes up shipwrecked on the Golden Isle after a storm. She – or he, if you so choose when you start the game- is both mankind’s and the gods’ only hope. She must reunite the gods with their essences, slay mythological beasts, solve riddles both on the Golden Isle and in the underworld known as Vaults of Tartaros, and in the end defeat the Titan Typhon. See, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Where is everything?
With a whole world to explore, a significant time of your gameplay will be spent doing exactly that. You receive quests from various gods or goddesses and go out fulfilling them. To do that, you climb up up a mountain or one of the huge statues on the island and look around using your Farsight ability. This way you can discover Vaults of Tartaros, different kinds of chests, Ambrosia, myth challenges, quest zones and much more.
After discovery, all of them will be marked on your map as well, making it very easy to locate them. Discovered elements also appear in your HUD (with approximate distance and height difference to your present location.) This makes navigating the Golden Isle easier for people like me, who tend to get lost in their own house. If your orientation sense is better, you can turn off the HUD completely, but risk doing something stupid because you’re missing some information which would normally be shown there. For example, you might end up throwing rocks to move a huge pearl around instead of just shoving it. This worked, but touching it would have been a lot quicker.
In the end, this personal decision of using the HUD or not boils down to two different ways to approach the same game. With HUD, your experience will be more that of a linear action-adventure. Without HUD, you will have a bigger focus on personal exploration if you so desire – but these are just the two extremes at the end of the pole. You can fine-tune your experience to your taste buds by configuring which elements of the HUD will be in use. I really appreciate this!
Immortals Fenyx Rising’s world is full of stuff to collect. And collect it you should, because you need it to strengthen your character. The Hall of the Gods, which acts as your home base, is the place to say farewell to all your picked-up resources.
The River Styx Cistern is the place to spend your Coins of Charon to unlock new godly powers or regular skills. All of them are useful, and by choosing the ones you want, you can fine-tune your character’s abilities to your preferred playstyle. Coins of Charon sometimes hide in chests or are handed out as rewards for completing myths challenges.
The Bench Of Zeus is the place to convert Zeus’ lightnings, found in Vaults of Tartaros, into stamina. Exchange an ever increasing number of lightnings for one more part of your stamina bar. The Kylix Of Athena offers a similar service for the Ambrosia found in the overworld and converts it into parts for your health bar.
Upgrade your weapons and armour at the Forge Of Hephaistos. You need the differently-coloured shards found in chests or on the Golden Isle for that. Blue shards are collected from slaying enemies, which are abundant on the isle, so there’s no chance you’ll run low on them.
Are you in need of potions (health, stamina, attack or defence)? Cook them up at the Cauldron Of Circe by using the plants you collected during your exploration. Upgrades to the potions are also available here, if you have enough amber.
Yo ho, yo ho, a questing life for me!
The quests you undertake usually come in two forms: Slay a special mythical enemy, or get a specified item. While undertaking the former quests you’ll learn quite a bit about Greek mythology, and it certainly helps your understanding of the game if you at least have a little knowledge about it before. If not, after playing the game you will end up with deeper insights through the constant commentary on your actions by Zeus and Prometheus. Their dialogue as well as your conversations with other gods can be cringey at times, but are nonetheless full of good-natured humour. They remove a lot of the original brutality of the myths.
Let’s have a look at the item obtaining quest variety. Items can be found in the overworld, usually in places marked as Quest Zones. Go there, solve a puzzle or myth challenge, loot the place, place the item where it needs to be and you’re done. Easy-peasy.
Most of the time, though, you will have to enter a Vault of Tartaros to get what you need. Here, tricky puzzles wait for you. Blocks might need to be placed on ground switches, lasers might block your way, wooden balls need to rolled to designated moving locations, or all of the above in a frustrating combination. Some of the vaults are pretty easy, some are hair-tearingly difficult. Sometimes it’s because of the puzzles, sometimes because of tricky platforming. It’s nice that all vaults show their difficulty when you enter, reaching from one to three bull heads, but the knowledge that you need to best the vaults to progress the story hovers over your head like Damocles’ sword. (Pun intended!)
Seeing is believing (and listening is, too)!
I’ve already hinted at it in my introduction: Immortals Fenyx Rising uses an art style similar to Breath of the Wild. It’s beautiful and detailed. Naturally, it doesn’t look as detailed on Switch as it does on other consoles, but it is in no way a stinker. We get crisp images both docked and handheld, and with gyro aiming available as well as the ability to play the game on the road, I’m very happy with the Switch version. I experienced no stutters or frame drops during my playtime, too.
The music is nice, and the fully-voiced conversations of the gods are pleasant to listen to. Sound effects are plenty, ranging from your footsteps on the ground to the satisfying smack when you land a fine hit on an enemy. Visually and aurally, the Golden Isle wonderfully comes to life.
A summer’s island without bugs?
It’s true! I didn’t encounter any bugs while playing! There is one annoying thing, however, but it is more a decision of game design than an actual glitch. Remember when I talked about Farsight which you use from a high vantage point to discover the secrets of the island? Well, it not only works high above, but also when you are on ground level. That’s OK, you might want to scrutinize every little detail. I totally get that. But then, it also works through mountains and buildings, uncovering everything that’s behind them. So, it’s more like x-ray vision than eagle-like sharp eyes. It’s strange and I can’t understand why Ubisoft decided to implement it like this.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a good game. And let me also add that in my personal opinion it is as good as the game it was inspired by. This is namely for two reasons: First, with its wide range of difficulty options, it is more accessible for players of any age or competence level. Second, there is no weapon breaking mechanic – which I utterly despise.
- Accessible difficulty options
- Huge open world
- Helpful & customisable HUD
- Weapons don’t break
- Weird Farsight design choice
- Some repetitive quests
- Difficulty spikes in vault