Given the enormous success The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild It was, it was only a matter of time before other developers took inspiration from the modern Nintendo classic.
However, outside of the popular online-only program miHoYo Genshin Impact Since the beginning of this year, we haven’t really seen any BOTW “clones” for a player yet. That’s what makes Ubisoft Quebec’s Immortal Fenyx Rising so interesting.
In addition to incorporating the mechanical frames of BOTW, Immortals It also cleverly infuses them with an important Greek mythology-inspired backdrop and a few other nifty design tricks. The result is an experience that offers excellent vision BOTW and classic Greek myths, while standing out among Ubisoft’s own large set of open world games.
A wonderful world full of gods and monsters.
The greatest way that Immortals It differs from all those other games through its storytelling. The central premise of the game is pretty basic, with you playing as a soldier named Fenyx, who you can choose to be male or female, while being stranded on the fantastic Golden Island. Here, they must travel across the land to free the Greek gods and defeat the evil Titan Typhon, all in the hopes of saving their fellow travelers from turning to stone.
It’s a standard presumption of ‘saving the world’, to be sure, but Immortals He significantly elevates the narrative by framing it from the perspective of Prometheus, the god of fire, and Zeus, the god of thunder and king of Mount Olympus. This means that Fenyx’s earthly activities are accompanied by fun back-and-forth exchanges between Prometheus and Zeus. The former feverishly chronicles Fenyx’s exploits, while the latter is much more sardonic, leading the two to butt heads frequently, and quite comically.
It’s a lovely way to avoid the grandiosity that can accompany some Greek-inspired stories (looking at you before God of War entries) while developing Ubisoft Quebec’s spin on Greek mythology. To that end, the developer seems well aware that many people are familiar with these fables, so Immortals It takes iconic Greek gods like Ares and Aphrodite in wonderfully fun directions that cleverly subvert what you might expect of them.
The only real downsides to the story are that while the moment-by-moment writing is consistently entertaining, Typhon is a generic villain and Fenyx’s actual personal stakes on the journey are weak. His relationship with those for whom they are fighting to save hardly unfolds throughout history, making it difficult to feel involved in that aspect of his quest. Fortunately, Fenyx mainly makes up for it with an adorably brave and quirky personality.
Open world brilliance
Regarding its playability, Immortals shades much closer to BOTW. In fact, you will be forgiven for thinking it is a clone at first, with Immortals It also features endurance-based climbing mechanics, Magnesis-style obstacle manipulation (known here as ‘Force of Heracles’), sliding, mini-dungeons, and more. Yet it is the ways that Immortals takes these elements and builds on the most notable ones.
The most significant of them is combat. BOTWThe weakest aspect was its basic combat hampered by a fragile and insufferable weapon system. Thankfully, Immortals ditch this frustrating mechanic while keeping the only part of BOTWThe fights that worked quite well: the ‘Flurry Rush’ that slows down time in a timely evasion to land multiple hits. Further away, Characteristics of the immortals a surprisingly deep skill tree that unlocks new abilities, such as the option to use the strength of your Heracles to push yourself towards enemies (including those in the air) and launch items quickly.
There are even ‘divine powers’ like Hephaestus’s hammer that offers devastating area of effect damage, and Ares’s spear that launches enemies for aerial combos that shake things up even more. Additionally, you also get a fiery bird companion named Phosphor, who has his own useful abilities in combat. The only problem is Immortalsblocking option, which is delicate and difficult to see on an enemy’s body, but not enough to hamper the overall satisfying feel of combat.
Immortals it also impresses with the impressive Isla Dorada. On paper, an open-world environment populated primarily by monsters lacking cities or non-player characters outside of your mount could seem quite sterile and heartless. Yet instead of all that, Ubisoft Quebec has brilliantly filled the world with a diverse array of engaging activities. Materials needed to upgrade your gear can sometimes be found in the world, but it’s best to collect them by completing missions and solving puzzles that unlock chests. The stamina-increasing Ray of Zeus can only be acquired by completing well-designed Vaults of Tartarus, which look a lot like BOTWSanctuaries Fragments of lore related to the missing Hephaestus are found by completing ‘Constellation Challenges’ which require you to work through a series of interconnected puzzles in a small area. ‘Coins of Charon’ is rewarded for completing various challenges, including time-based navigation objectives.
This creates a deeply compelling game loop where you are constantly rewarded for doing different activities, ensuring that you never found the world empty or boring. I especially appreciated how environmental puzzles forged a deeper connection between me and the world. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s creed Y watchdogs Series are an excellent medium for engaging in “virtual tourism” through meticulously crafted real-world settings, but my appreciation for them usually ends at that superficial level. In Immortals, I would constantly come across an islet, a small temple or a valley and examine every corner to find its secrets: a mini-boss or a puzzle here, a new quest or a funny comment from Zeus there, while immersing myself in the beautiful Old Woman . Greek decoration.
What makes this even better is the fact that Immortals feels manageable. In total, the game takes around 30 hours to complete the main story plus a large amount of secondary content, a perfect duration for an open-world game. And what is more, ImmortalsThe world is divided into multiple distinct Greek god-themed regions with their own considerable, but not overwhelming, amount of content. Usually, Immortals feels like a meaningful response to the criticism leveled at the latest Ubisoft Quebec game, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, who argued that the game was too bloated and overwhelming.
While enjoying it all Immortals‘optional missions, the vaults mentioned above are a particular highlight. Sure, the puzzles aren’t as well designed as the ones in BOTW, but I appreciated the nice change of pace they brought and the constant accumulation of difficulties over time. Some are standard combat arenas, but most are full of smart and intuitive challenges that require you to use your skills wisely. For example, a long dungeon made inventive use of Fenyx’s Force of Herakles ability to manipulate blocks allowing you to alternate their gravity by hitting them. This meant that I had to build my own platforms to cross long caverns and reach higher levels, which made me feel smart once I successfully cleared a path.
Unfortunately, Fenyx’s sliding mechanics are a bit clunky when it comes to precise turns, as it is primarily designed for fast travel in the world. This, in turn, makes some of the platform-specific sections feel more frustrating than they should. However, overall, most of the puzzles put minimal emphasis on Fenyx’s wings, and it’s better for them.
Two steps forward, one step back
The only area where Immortals feels like a significant step down from BOTW it is in its sense of discovery. In that game, they encouraged you to see any point on the map and head towards it. Without many signs, he was challenged to come up with his own way to get there, with the specific care required in laying out small platforms where he could stop to regain stamina as he climbed. In Immortals, all of this exploration is simplified by allowing you to mark points of interest when climbing statues to explore the area (it wouldn’t be a Ubisoft game without towers). On top of that, you can brew potions to restore stamina, and the world contains a vast supply of the materials needed to create them.
While you can certainly choose not to dabble in these mechanics, the fact that exploration is designed around them means that they are quite invaluable. This is especially true when considering the large number of enemies scattered throughout the world. Many are quite aggressive and continually pursue you for long periods, making it frustrating, if not impossible, to climb or enter certain areas without caring for them. I often found myself drinking stamina potions just so I could keep running or climbing and escaping from the flying enemies that were coming after me.
The biggest offender in this regard are the ‘Wraiths’. As you progress through the world, Typhon will have his powerful Wraith minions send waves of enemies at you. During this time, you basically have to survive for a period before the forces give in, after which Wraith’s hideout will be marked on the map so that you can fight them to permanently stop their attacks. While I imagine Ubisoft Quebec intended for the Wraiths to make the world feel more dynamic, they just turn out to be ridiculously tedious, as you have to drop what you’re doing to deal with them. I even came across a Wraith moments after entering the Athena region, which completely ruined the initial sense of wonder I might have had while immersing myself in the new surroundings.
Crossing the distance
It would be easy to miss Immortal Fenyx Rising. After all, its release falls a week early. Cyberpunk 2077and a few weeks after other open world games from Ubisoft Watch Dogs: Legion Y Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
That being said, Ubisoft Quebec has created something quite special here. While much of people’s attention is understandably directed towards their similarities to BOTW, the canadian developer has done a splendid job of making Immortals they feel different not only from Nintendo’s game, but also from other Ubisoft studios.
Leaving aside some exploration problems, Immortals is a must-have game thanks to its pleasant story setting, rock-solid combat, exceptional gameplay, and beautiful aesthetics. This isn’t just one of Ubisoft’s best open-world offerings, it’s one of the best games of 2020, period.
Immortal Fenyx Rising It will launch on December 3 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Google Stadia. A The free demo is available on Stadia until December 21.