They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and for the most part, that saying rings true for Immortals Fenyx Rising. It’s a charming game that borrows heavily from 2017’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I’ll fully admit that I may have prejudged it as merely being a generic clone of one of the best adventure games of this decade.
But like all media, what makes a title stand apart from the crowd is not what it borrows from other properties, but how it innovates on the source material and what new ideas it brings to the table. So when talking about Immortals Fenyx Rising, comparisons to Breath of the Wild are not simply inevitable; they are mandatory.
The story of Immortals Fenyx Rising takes place during the aftermath of a power struggle, as the Titan Typhon breaks free from his eons-long shackles and wreaks havoc on the pantheon of Greek Gods. He strips these legendary figures of their unique powers and throws the world into disarray.
The king of the Gods himself, Zeus, manages to escape a similar fate and approaches the Titan Prometheus for his help. From here, the two start a conversation that dictates the events of the game, as they begin to narrate the beginning of your adventure.
Your player character is introduced at this point as a shipwreck survivor known as Fenyx, who has been tasked with helping restore the powers of all the deposed Gods of Olympus and bring about an end to Typhon’s plans.
The plot is decent, if a bit predictable, but it provides some necessary context for why players should care about the events of the game. Similarly, Fenyx is a likable character, but they are mostly intended as an audience stand-in, and so they never truly develop a unique personality of their own.
Immortals Fenyx Rising forgoes many of the more serious politics and drama of traditional Greek mythology and instead ops for a more lighthearted and wholesome approach to this setting. It has a very humorous tone, with many jokes and gags intended for a younger audience, but with subtle innuendos that will appeal more to adults than kids.
A lot of of these jokes are genuinely funny, but the quality isn’t consistent all the way through, and you can expect more than your fair share of groans. Inconsistent writing is actually a recurring problem with Ubisoft games, and it’s a shame that this is the case here.
Regardless, a particular high point of the story is the banter between Prometheus and Zeus, as these two unreliable narrators bicker and influence features like enemy encounters. It’s a cool little mechanic that always keeps you guessing as to what they’ll throw your way next.
The large open world of Immortals Fenyx Rising is a beautiful landscape full of wondrous natural land formations, ancient buildings, and a plethora of hidden caves, tombs, and dungeons. Players are free to explore this whole map however they choose, with different quests serving as markers to guide them from area to area.
Also found all over the map are numerous optional objectives like combat encounters, time trails, and puzzles that can be completed for valuable resources that allow you to upgrade your abilities and gear. These aren’t always particularly challenging, but there is enough variety here to keep you engaged for a long time.
One step above these challenges are the Vaults of Tartarus, which are massive dungeons that require players to make use of all of their combat and puzzle-solving skills together. These are much more demanding, and as such, the rewards they hold are much more valuable to the player.
My biggest critique of the world of Immortals Fenyx Rising is how the game robs you of the sense of discovery and exploration that was so endearing in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Clouds initially hide each region in the game on the map, and players have to reach a high vantage point and scout the location to reveal it. They can then mark all of the various activities and other points of interest in their immediate vicinity for them to show up on their HUD.
I cannot stress how much of an undesirable mechanic this is in a game like Immortals Fenyx Rising. It sucks out all of the joys of discovery and instead creates a dynamic where you know exactly what you’re going to find behind each closed door and under every hidden ruins.
It’s not fun when every mystery in the game is reduced to merely another icon that you have to check off your list.
Gameplay And Combat
Immortals Fenyx Rising features a stamina meter that functions almost identically to the one in Breath of the Wild, and it is used in the game for both combat and traversal.
Climbing depletes stamina slowly but surely, and players have to learn proper management of this meter to climb most obstacles and structures in the game. The entire process is a small puzzle by itself, as players learn to properly scale up cliffsides, finding small footholds to rest in along the way.
And once you get to the top of any location, you can then use the Wings of Daedalus to soar through the skies and cover large distances. This is another core ability that consumes stamina, just like in Breath of the Wild. The game is not subtle about the features it borrows.
Combat is much more involved than in The Legend of Zelda, and here specifically, Immortals Fenyx Rising borrows more from the recent two Assassin’s Creed games than anything else.
You have a selection of light and heavy attacks at your disposal, on top of which are a series of unlockable dash, lift, and counter-attacks. You can even parry or dodge to slow downtime to get a few quick hits while your enemies are defenseless. You also have access to a few different upgrades that add additional moves to your already existing combos.
You can also choose to invest in your Godly Powers, which are a series of powerful magical abilities like a bed of spears that rises from the ground, or a gigantic hammer that slams into enemies and knocks them back. These are combat-oriented abilities, but some of them are also required to solve the various puzzles in the game.
For example, Herakles’s strength, which looks and functions almost identically to the Magnesis ability in Breath of the Wild. You require this to pick up items in the world in order to open up pathways or create platforms, but then it can also be used to throw large boulders at your enemies. You can also further upgrade it to launch yourself towards enemies or pull them to you.
And when you take all of these different mechanics together, what you get is a fast and fluid combat system that incentivizes the use of different skills and abilities to pull some super flashy and satisfying combos. It’s extremely rewarding thanks to a steady stream of upgrade paths, and it stayed consistently entertaining throughout my time with the game.
Graphics And Performance
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a visually stunning game that employs a vibrant color palette to distinguish each of the major regions in its world. It looks beautiful, with tons of details crammed into every nook and cranny of the world.
The lighting effects are gorgeous, even on last-gen, and the game is clearly working overtime to extract as much power as it possibly can out of the older consoles.
On the Xbox One, it maintains a consistent 30 FPS during open-world exploration, but there are some noticeable dips when you engage with large groups of enemies in combat. Encounters with one or two enemies do not affect this, but any group more populated than this is noticeable.
I also had a few crashes during my time with the game, but thankfully I never lost a significant amount of progress. This particular issue is concerning, but I am willing to chalk it up to me playing a pre-release build of the game.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a beautiful game that doesn’t shy away from its inspirations. It borrows heavily from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild while still introducing its own unique aspects.
The main story is occasionally entertaining, even if it is primarily aimed at a younger audience. Similarly, the core gameplay and the combat system are fluid and refined, with proper upgrade trees that keep it entertaining throughout the entire experience.
I do have a major issue with how this game handles exploration, though, because of how it robs you of the sense of wonder that is so necessary in games like these.
All of that being said, I can’t pretend that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy my time traversing this massive open world, regardless of its faults. Immortals Fenyx Rising should appeal to both Zelda fans and Ubisoft fans alike.
- Beautiful open world.
- Fast and fluid combat.
- Solid controls.
- Tons of optional side activities.
- Creative puzzles.
- Occasionally funny writing.
- The way Zeus and Prometheus’ banter sways the gameplay.
- The target audience is mainly kids.
- Scout mechanic robs players of a sense of exploration.
- Frame-rate dips when fighting large groups of enemies.