- Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
- Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment SA
- Release Date: 03/12/2020
- Price: $59.99 / £59.99
- Review code provided by Ubisoft Entertainment SA
Introducing: Immortals Fenyx Rising PS5 Review
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We’ve all heard this saying for many years, but never has it been truer than when we first saw Gods and Monsters announced by Ubisoft. It was a truly interesting take on Greek mythology through the lens of Breath of the Wild. Sadly, a dispute between Ubisoft and Monster Energy led to a name change which left us with Immortals Fenyx Rising. I was never sold on this new name, and I still like to think of the title as Gods and Monsters, more fitting of the source material. Regardless of the naming conventions, the game is here and with it, many more hours of BOTW-like gameplay. Would Zeus approve of this title? Read on mortal, and you will see.
It Gives You Wings
The story of Fenyx begins with a shipwreck of a small Greek fleet. Fenyx, our unlikely hero, realizes something is terribly wrong! All his comrades, including his brother, were turned to stone. Searching desperately for answers, he meets an oracle, or someone who knew an oracle once. Thankfully, this “oracle” gives Fenyx a message that starts his journey to save his brother.
The story is narrated by Prometheus to Zeus, who has lost most of his power and is whinier than a pre-teen. This method of storytelling does add another layer to the game as it shows that not only were the humans turned to stone, but Typhon had escaped his prison of Tartaros and stole powers from the gods. I generally liked the voice actor of Prometheus, but Zeus, that was a different story.
Zeus felt like a man-child who has never been told no before. He was annoying to the point that I wanted to skip cutscenes with him in it. Sadly, this disdain for Zeus also permeated to the other gods as well. There were moments that shined though, such as Athena (all forms) and Hephaestus’s altered form, an ancient Greek C3PO. I shouldn’t blame it on the actors as it may have more to do with the writing. It felt too childish and angsty. I felt like I was watching a coming-of-age story for the gods, which is not how I like to view my Greek deities.
I’m Selling, If You’re Buying
As mentioned previously, Fenyx imitates Breath of the Wild in most of it’s gameplay and world. For a game as huge as BOTW, I knew the day would come when more companies would try to revolutionize the style or “perfect” it. Fenyx did not do that. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first let’s talk about what Fenyx did right. The combat in Immortals is quite fast and fresh. Weapons cannot break and there are only three main weapons in the game. This simplification allows the player to focus on upgrading the weapons without having to worry if their top-tier sword will break, leaving them in a pinch.
Weapon skins can be found throughout the island in treasure chests scattered everywhere! These skins offer perks for the weapons, such as more damage, health refills, etc. Having not to worry about weapons made the game feel a bit more streamlined, which I enjoyed. The same goes for helmets and armor. Their perks were more noticeable, and their designs even more interesting. I still kept the initial armor set as it had a permanent health boost built in.
Most of my praise of the gameplay ends there, as I found many issues in the quests and vaults. Vaults are Immortals’ version of shrines, and unlike shrines, require godly powers you might not have at the moment. This was quite frustrating. I found a stretch of vaults in the early hours of the game I could not complete. After I finally received all the godly powers, I didn’t return to find those vaults, it was not a priority to me.
To add insult to injury, I found the puzzles in the vaults to be more on the tedious side and not really enjoyable. Whether it was due to the physics of some of the pieces not behaving correctly or a jump being slightly out of reach, requiring me to have 100% accuracy. Furthermore, the visuals for the vaults became old quickly since it shared the same aesthetic from start to finish.
The main dungeons had the same flaws but were much longer. It didn’t feel like a Zelda dungeon, which I usually adore. It felt more like, “how much can we force the player to do before they lose interest completely”. The boss fights were a nice break, and again, this game could have benefited from more of them. Speaking of bosses, the legendary fights that appeared on the map were some of the more fun moments I had with this title.
A Face Only Narcissus Could Love
The art style in Immortals left me feeling torn. Half of the time, I thought it was beautifully done with some really slick animations. Hermes was a standout for the design, but many of the creatures and other gods just didn’t do it for me. I found the look to be very juvenile, but at the same time, young Athena worked so well. Maybe I was hoping for more grit and less sunshine and rainbows. In the same vein, the conversations felt extremely immature, but would cover risqué topics. Oh how the Greek gods enjoyed bestiality.
The music in Fenyx occupied the background, which wasn’t a bad thing. The music was calm, pretty, and at times, sweeping and intense. My only issue with orchestrated OSTs is that I tend to get them all mixed together. It’s not that it was bad (should you mention that this was not something you realized was there?) I listened to some of it while I was writing this review and it gelled with me. As I have already mentioned, I found most of the voice acting to be annoying at best. I must admit it may have more to do with the writing and how the characters were meant to be portrayed and not discrediting the actor’s talents.
The Midas Glitch
One minor annoyance that plagued my game during my thirty-hour run was on the map screen. When I would get near an icon, there was a 25% chance that the input would stop for five seconds. After that, I would be able to regain control, but it happened so frequently I assumed it had to be intentional. Why else would this happen so frequently, if it wasn’t supposed to tell me I needed to “stop playing so fast”. I jest, but this minor grievance turned into a major frustration. Those seconds add up, and if you are moving around the map pinpointing multiple locations, it can be quite tedious to sit and wait for the cursor to catch up.
I have never made the plunge into one of Ubisoft’s AAA games before and I came away with quite a different experience than I was expecting. I have played most of the Rayman games and have never had any complaints or issues with them. Being a completely different Ubisoft team could explain the differences in quality, and the fact that Immortals is a drastically different title. Regardless, I was able to find some enjoyment in Fenyx, but it could have been so much better if there were less story elements, more combat, and smarter puzzle design.
- Weapons don’t break
- The gods are insufferable
- Most puzzles aren’t fun
- Vaults are drab