While we have seen Ubisoft sticking with their regular franchises for quite some time, Immortals Fenyx Rising is here to change that monotonous routine for the developer. Developed by Ubisoft Quebec, the developer behind Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Immortals Fenyx Rising might feature the same mythology as their previous project but it takes a more fantasy-heavy approach this time around with a unique art style and a more casual approach to action-adventure. This is our review of the PS4 and the PS5 version of Immortals Fenyx Rising in which we save some gods and kill some monsters from Tartaros.
The story of Immortals Fenyx Rising puts you in the shoes of Fenyx, a new demi-god who has been given the task of saving all of the Greek gods and return the world to its normal state after defeating the evil Titan Typhon. You start the game by creating your character and you can have a male or a female character. There is no limitation on your gender. You can easily change your gender at a later stage in the game as well and the dialogue is automatically adjusted to him or her according to your choice. The name Fenyx remains the same for both genders. The story begins with Typhon already victorious over the gods and you enter the world as a sea-wreck. You can say that it is similar to most titles where you start with nothing and then become the most powerful being in the game to take down the toughest of the bosses.
Later chosen by the gods, you start to collect as many gifts from gods as possible that help you in your journey. These include many of the iconic weapons and items from Greek mythology including Wings of Daidalos, Herakles’s Bracers, and many others. These items and other powers such as fragments of Zeus’s Lightning are acquired from special platforming sections in the pits of Tartaros. These sections become tougher and tougher as you unlock more and more powers and abilities and they use every last bit of your mettle to solve puzzles and reach the end. The world of Immortals Fenyx Rising is full of locations and places that are from Greek Mythology and are named after some of the most prominent gods. The story combines a little bit of humor along with a serious tone in a perfect balance which greatly suits the overall theme of the game.
While I do not generally discuss maps in detail in my reviews and normally I just integrate them with the game design but I think that the map of Immortals Fenyx Rising deserves its own mention in this review. It is also probably one of my favorite aspects of the game. Each region in the game is governed by a god who has been defeated by Typhon at the start of the game and we have to bring them back to their formal selves. There are four main regions each belong to a god namely Aphrodite, Ares, Hephaistos, and Athena. There are three more regions Clashing Rocks that serves as the tutorial area of the game and then there are Gates of Tartaros and King’s Peak which serve as story-related chapters and I will not be spoiling them in this review. Each of these regions is unique and represent their gods perfectly.
If you are a fan of Greek mythology, the map is a perfect playground for all of your Greek mythology fantasies. Throughout these regions, you will find different enemies, monsters, wildlife, characters, and a lot of references such as frozen titans climbing the King’s Peak and other cool references here and there. Since the game is developed by the same company, Ubisoft Quebec, that created Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and we saw plenty of cool references to Greek mythological creatures in that game. We have had four unique fights with such creatures including Medusa and Cyclops however it looks like they had a lot more ideas back then and in Immortals Fenyx Rising, they went all-out with them.
The map might seem smaller when compared to other modern Ubisoft titles however when you begin exploring each region and area, it is quite big and offers plenty of challenges and hidden secrets for you to find. You are not bound to play the story right away and the exploration is extremely rewarding in the game. Every nook and corner in the game will give you something if you are willing to risk and explore. While RPG mechanics are pretty subtle in the game, still you have to upgrade your gear, weapons and get more high-tier skills before you can tackle some of the bigger monsters in the game. However, if you play the game patiently and take your time with your enemies, you can even defeat some of the toughest of the enemies with your starting weapons.
Missions in Immortals Fenyx Rising vary in their nature. While your main goal always remains the same to get the best godlike powers and skills and use them to free up the gods and ultimately defeat Typhon, there are plenty of things that you can do in the game as well. The world of Immortals Fenyx Rising is extremely lively. As you explore around, you will come across plenty of monsters and enemies just roaming different areas. You can fight them and collect whatever they are guarding and move to the next location. However, the enemies respawn when you revisit these areas so you have to be careful with every approach. For exploring the big map, you can find and tame many mythical beasts in the game that will serve as your loyal stead and will greatly speed up your movement around the map.
Apart from the main quests, you can also complete many different side quests in the game for various rewards. Like I mentioned above, Immortals Fenyx Rising is extremely generous and the more you complete side activities and challenges in the game, the more powerful you will become for the main story missions of the game. Exploration will also help you find some of the best gear which includes your helmet, light and heavy weapon, bow, and armor. You can find these in different legendary chests that are completely hidden out of sight, located behind locked doors that require a little bit of puzzle-solving or platforming to unlock, or are guarded by extremely powerful enemies. However, these are completely worth the risk and worth of the savior of gods. You will also jump down into the depths of Tartaros and complete different challenges to get Zeus’s lighting or better gear. These challenges will require a combination of all of your acquired gear and abilities in order for you to complete them. You will also find some familiar Assassin’s Creed mechanics in the game such as the map reveal which requires you to climb on top of the gods’ statues. Apart from this, many other familiar mechanics are also hiding here and there.
This brings us to the next section of the review which is combat and gameplay. Immortals Fenyx Rising is not a hardcore RPG but is more of an action game with some subtle RPG mechanics hiding here and there. You have two main weapons and a bow equipped as your primary offense arsenal. You have your sword which is used for light and quick attacks, then you also have your Axe which serves as the much meatier heavy blows that can even topple the heaviest of the enemies in the game. For ranged combat, you have your bow which comes with rechargeable arrows. After firing an arrow, your bow will have a replacement in around 7-9 seconds. Apart from this, you can equip two different armor pieces and a final slot equips our wings. Wings allow you to glide around and jump higher.
Apart from your weapons, since you are the champion of the gods, you also have plenty of other tricks up your sleeve as well which include skills and godlike powers. Some skills are unlocked with story progression however some of the skills require you to purchase them. The godlike powers include powerful moves like Athena’s Dash, Ares’s Wrath, and more. These powerful moves and abilities are game-changers and will greatly assist you in your fight against the minions of Typhon. Some of these are support abilities as well but you can use them in both ways such as the Herakles’s Strength which allows you to pick up and move around heavy objects. Apart from puzzle-solving, you can use this ability to throw huge rocks at enemies as well.
The gameplay of Immortals Fenyx Rising is pretty much like most Assassin’s Creed titles. It combines all mechanics such as climbing, stealth, and powerful melee combat. For climbing, I can easily say that the game resembles The Legend of Zelda; Breath of the Wild because if you see a mountain, you can climb it as long as you have the stamina. There are some advanced mechanics as well such as a perfect dodge that will allow you to slow downtime and get back in quickly for some free hits or parrying the enemy attacks and then delivering a powerful counterattack for some serious damage. At the start of the game, I did found the weapons to be a little underwhelming but after investing a few hours, I had a pretty decent set and I was not having a hard time defeating even the hardest of the enemies in the game. The enemies come in all shapes and sizes as well.
Apart from normal animals, just as bears and pigs, you will also find their Tartarus variants which have a distinct red glow in them. They are also tougher to defeat. Key points will have you fighting mini-bosses and even main bosses in the game which range from Gorgons to Minotaurs to Cyclops. These enemies are also found roaming around or defending particular areas in the game where they appear in groups of different enemies making fights pretty tough. Sometimes, you also get some reinforcements in the form of Greek soldiers as well however these instances are not very common and you will be doing most of the fighting in the game alone. Coming back to the RPG mechanics of the title, you will be picking up a lot of items from the world as well which will include useful ingredients that must be cooked before use or simply eaten after picking them up. Ingredients such as Pomegranates and Blue Mushrooms can be eaten for some quick health and stamina as well but if you find a Cauldron of Circe, you can whip up some potions as well. Other ingredients and resources in the game are used in a similar fashion as well.
Your main hub in Immortals Fenyx Rising is the Hall of the Gods where you have access to everything that you need for all of your needs. Greek god, Hermes is also available here right from the start of the game who serves as a guide for the narrative and sets your direction straight for what you have to do in order to free the gods. At the Hall of the Gods, you can upgrade your weapons, purchase new skills, and upgrade them. You can also upgrade your potions, create new ones, and even change your gender and other visual options here. In all of the game, this is perhaps the safest of the zones as according to Hermes, he stole Typhon’s eye that looked at this section, and hence Typhon cannot see them now.
To challenge your combat and gameplay skills, the gods also have a challenge list or Hermes’s Heroic Tasks Board for you where you can take on some daily or weekly challenges and complete them in time to earn some premium currency which is later used to purchase some cool visual customizations from Hermes. This is where the in-game Microtransactions come into play. Items available at Hermes can be purchased with the currency called Elektrum which can be earned by completing Heroic tasks, daily and weekly challenges but the game also comes with a premium store that has some visual customization items which require Immortals Credits which have to be purchased with real-life money. However, this is something that you can completely ignore if you are not too worried about visual skins.
Coming to the technical aspect of Immortals Fenyx Rising, we tested the game on both a PS4 Pro console and the new PS5 console. While the PS5 console certainly takes the cake in terms of visual fidelity, it also eliminates any loading times for the game. The game has many loading screens but their times are drastically smaller on a PS5. For a loading screen that would take around 20-30 seconds on a PS4 Pro, the PS5 only takes around 4 or 5 seconds. This is a major difference. The game also comes with both a performance mode and a visual fidelity mode so you can opt for smoother frames or prettier visuals depending on your choice. Since I mostly play on PC, I played the majority of my review playthrough on performance mode because I prefer smoother frames for a much better experience.
Apart from the obvious visual edge and smaller loading times, the game also puts the DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers to good use. This is not too much but while using the bow and shooting arrows, you can feel the tension in your L2 trigger as you get ready and then shoot the arrow. The L2 trigger feels like it has tension in it as you feel the trigger resist in a unique pattern and send vibrational waves through it. This is a great use of the feature however I don’t remember any other mechanic in the game using any other DualSense feature. While it might not be much, but shooting arrows using the DualSense controller is a lot of fun in Immortals Fenyx Rising.
While I really liked exploring the world of Immortals Fenyx Rising, there were some concerns that I had with the gameplay as well. For the early phases of the game, movement can be a problem because the stamina is too low and climbing can be an issue if you run out of stamina potions or blue mushrooms. You can equip armor items that favor stamina but you still have to find them first and until you manage to increase your stamina, moving around remains a problem for most parts of the game since there is a lot of climbing involved in the game. In addition, the enemies can easily overpower you during the early hours of the game especially when you are exploring the world so in most cases, I was just running through them or away from them instead of fighting them which was a little bit disappointing.
Apart from this, I had a blast playing Immortals Fenyx Rising. I can easily say that this is one of my biggest gaming surprises of 2020. Ubisoft also released Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla earlier however I can easily say that I enjoyed playing Immortals Fenix Rising more than both of those titles despite it being a brand-new IP by the developer. It is pretty stable even at launch and offers plenty of content for you to enjoy. The world is beautiful, the monsters are epic and combat is decent. It is definitely the best experience of playing through Greek mythology since the original God of War titles.
Immortals Fenyx Rising has been developed by a developer who is known for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey so it is normal for it to use some of the mechanics from the previous games. While it certainly feels like its own game, certain mechanics still bring back memories from the Assassin’s Creed franchise however I do not say it in a bad way. Ubisoft Quebec has delivered an amazing game and I loved every bit of it. It is a brand-new take on Greek mythology and one that mixes the seriousness with just the right pinch of humor to keep things interesting. Couple that with good combat mechanics and a brilliant art design, Immortals Fenyx Rising is one title that deserves to be on your playing list this holiday. Whether you are a fan of open-world action titles or a fan of video games set in Greek Mythology, this game is going to make you extremely happy. A friendly tip? If you do not have a 4K screen, stick to the performance mode otherwise experience it in brilliant 4K resolution for maximum visual fidelity.