It’s a wonderful time for people who like open world games. Thanks in large part to publisher Ubisoft releasing not one, not two, but three big titles in the popular genre in little over a month.
Next week, it’s Immortals Fenyx Rising’s turn. It’s a new franchise in Ubisoft’s stable, made by the team formerly responsible for fan favorite Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Like AC Odyssey, Immortals takes place in ancient Greece, but this time it’s more like a Saturday-morning cartoon version of the lands described in ancient greek mythology. You play as Fenyx, a young soldier who can either be male or female depending on the player’s choice in the opening sequence.
At the start of the game, Fenyx gets stranded on The Golden Isle, and is tasked with rescuing the Greek gods from the hands of Typhon, a monster looking for revenge after being banished to Tartarus.
Immortals Fenyx Rising’s is incredibly similar to the Assassin’s Creed games, with a bit of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild thrown in the mix. After a lengthy introduction to explain the combat and climbing mechanics, you’re thrown into the open world and you’re free to explore the huge island as you see fit.
The Golden Isle is littered with dungeons, challenges, collectables, and other stuff to collect. Like in Breath of the Wild, you climb up to a high point and take out your binoculars to scout points of interests you want to navigate to. And like in Breath of the Wild, you then jump, glide down, land, mount your horse, and make your way to your objective. Sometimes you’ll have to scale a cliff or a mountain, and like in Breath of the Wild you have to be careful not to run out of stamina while doing so.
The Breath of the Wild comparisons don’t end there; the challenge dungeons are extremely similar to BotW’s. Some of them are combat focussed, others have you dragging around big objects to complete puzzles, and some are more platform-heavy.
There are a ton of these dungeons scattered throughout the world and it’s obvious that Ubisoft Montreal put a lot of effort into crafting them as they are very elaborate, but I can’t say I enjoyed them much. I often found myself seeing the solution to a puzzle, but having to fight with the game’s fiddly controls in order to complete it.
The combat, on the other hand, feels a lot more satisfying. Immortals Fenyx Rising has a very active combat system that allows you to build up your damage as you string long combos together without getting hit. You can’t block, but you can dodge and parry, so you’ll be zipping around the battlefield, trying to get strikes in without getting hit.
Immortals Fenyx Rising might look like a kid’s game aesthetically, but it’s no slouch on the default difficulty setting. The combat is often punishing and simple button mashing won’t get you very far. You become more resilient as you upgrade your stats and unlock more moves, but the combat stays challenging as you face more powerful enemies. The fact that healing items are scarce, especially in combat areas, doesn’t help.
Overall, Immortals ranks somewhere in between the phenomenal Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the disappointing Watch Dogs Legion in the pantheon of 2020 open world Ubisoft games. It’s very derivative and frustrating in some parts, like the puzzle dungeons, but satisfying enough in others.
I had higher hopes for a new franchise made by the people behind the critically acclaimed Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but that’s not to say Immortals is bad per se. It’s decently enjoyable. It has its moments. I’m sure people who crave a big open world with a ton of (side) activities will not be disappointed. Personally though, I’d rather put some more time into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.