Immortals Fenyx Rising Review
Whenever you start playing a new game, having another one constantly be referenced can be a huge distraction; especially when it’s Breath of the Wild. Stepping out of the shadow of one's inspiration is a monumental task and doesn’t always happen successfully. This year, Ubisoft put that to the test when they released Immortals: Fenyx Rising. How it worked out for them has really yet to be seen, but so far even though it’s got a long way to go, it looks like they’re onto something
If Immortals Fenyx Rising has anything its charm, and it has that in abundance. I constantly found myself saying aloud, “This feels like I’m playing a Dreamworks movie.” That sentiment begins from the intro cutscene through to the ending credits. The art direction, even in the darkest of areas, feels bright and fresh. It pairs well with the orchestral score that plays in the background. However, that sentiment is something I feel very literally. The music always felt like an afterthought, instead of the “soundtrack to my story” I would’ve wanted it to be. That’s not to say that my adventure was dull because it was anything but. Each time I opened up a new area, unlocked an ability, or found anything, I was greeted with a sense of whimsy and wonder. See, that’s one thing Immortals always gets right. It transports you to another world; escapism at its finest.
For the most part, Immortals ran smoothly no matter what mode I was in. In Fidelity Mode, the visuals are easily some of the best in 2020. It really showcases the vibrance of the world Ubisoft created. Even though this is the mode I preferred, Performance Mode, is just as enjoyable. While you’re not getting the same exact visual pop, you are getting that silky smooth framerate and it can’t be understated how good it feels. There aren’t ever enough enemies or visual effects on screen to really put anything to the test but the game does seem very well optimized. The Day 1 patch seemed to iron out most kinks that popped up while I was playing before launch. I am eager to see how future DLC are optimized in the future.
In my entire play-through, I think I only encountered a few T-posed enemies, collision-detection misses, and one game crash towards the later game. Aside from those, my experience was relatively unhindered by bugs or glitches.
The world of the Golden Isles is filled with story missions, side missions, puzzles, and other unique activities. First let me say, a game should never make its player base travel to a specific part of the map, especially in a 50+ hour game, just to upgrade their character. It is far from intuitive and, despite it giving the opportunity to speak to important NPC’s, it hurts the pacing. That said while there isn’t this magical harmony like that felt in other games of this ilk, its overall design works. Challenges built into the environment do have that natural guiding nature.f you ever get stumped, you feel like it’s your fault and not the games. Entering menus and navigating the world map is another story. Cycling between inventories and skill trees just feels clunky. None of that though is as frustrating as the map. It would be one thing if the map was pre-populated with points of interest, aside from a few discoverables, but nope. Immortals forces you to use this frustrating ability in-game called ‘farsight’ to mark things like chests, Ambrosia deposits, and Vaults of Tartarus. Then, only after you’ve marked them, can you go into the map and see where everything is. Once you’ve populated the map though, the frustrations don’t end. Other points of interest start to pop up on your map, but they offer no value to the game because they are just screenshots from other players. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to fast travel to the main upgrading area but couldn’t quite line up my cursor correctly because someone had uploaded a screenshot right on it. This is something that needs to be remedied in later patches because it did break my immersion quite often.
There is a bad guy aiming to destroy the world and remake it, but you are the only thing standing in its way. It’s not an entirely new concept but Immortals does it well. As soon as you leave the light-hearted title screen, you’re met with the game's main antagonist and the cries of its victims. Soon after, you're swept into 2D animated cutscenes that signal some sort of hope ahead. Indeed the game isn’t completely dire. While the story makes sense and guides you beat for beat, it does suffer tonely. For example, in the midst of a thoughtful conversation with a story mission NPC, the narrators kept interrupting with unnecessary additives. It was very reminiscent of the Muppets that crack jokes during performances, except less endearing. Multiple times, I found myself really wishing I could just turn the narration off. Whether you like it or not, the majority of the game and its plot points are narrated for you; riddled with their banter.
Even with the constant voices in your ear, Immortals is fun. Creating your own character from scratch and carving out your part in this world is genuinely a good time and shouldn’t be overlooked. Even though I would’ve liked a few more cosmetic options for my Fenyx, the customization of my armor and weapons is actually one of the main driving factors that contributed to so much of my enjoyment. Sometimes I wish it would’ve been a little less tedious at times, and that is a common theme in Immortals. I found myself enjoying most of my time in the Golden Isles, but some tasks and gameplay elements just really overstayed their welcome. That said, the completionist part of me will happily be going back to finish up optional tasks. Nothing ever seems too difficult or too out of reach which is helpful. It’s clear the audience for this game leans towards the younger side but doesn’t sacrifice what makes it fun for us oldies. Let it be known though, even if you want to throw it on the ‘Story’ difficulty so you can just enjoy the experience of Immortals, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be super easy. You still have to travel everywhere, solve plenty of puzzles and boss fights still propose a challenge. It isn’t ever insurmountable though, especially with its easy to learn the controls.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is far from perfect but it definitely is promising and a darn good time. With so many heavy titles and just a heavy year in general with 2020, its lighthearted nature was a great palate cleanser. It’s also worth noting that if you are deep into Greek mythology right now with other properties like Hades, Lore Olympus, or Blood of Zeus, then this is the perfect thing to add to that list. If you feel like you don’t feel like you have the time to sink into it, don’t worry. This game is also great to just grind out in the background while you do something else; not to downplay the narrative that Ubisoft worked hard on. All in all, if you are looking for a fun action RPG for any age then look no further than Immortals Fenyx Rising.
And that’s the Borderline Bottomline for Immortals Fenyx Rising.
Review Written by Asa GreenRiver