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Lifewire / Sandra Stafford
Fun, snappy combat
Large variety of puzzles and challenges
Beautiful settings and environment
Strong narrative thread
Difficulty isn't sustained through the game
Ubisoft Connect account required
Immortals Fenyx Rising combines an ambitious premise with fun, accessible gameplay. With a surprisingly heartfelt narrative core, it’s a game worth finishing even after the challenge is gone.
Our reviewer purchased Ubisoft's Immortals Fenyx Rising so they could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is an action-adventure game that uses Greek mythology to tell a new story. With open-world explorations, countless puzzles, and combat with mythological beasts, the game is ambitious. I played on the Nintendo Switch for over forty hours to see if it flew too close to the sun.
Fenyx Immortals Rising isn't subtle with its plot. As soon as you start the game, Typhon is wrecking the Olympian gods. Zeus goes to Prometheus for help, but Prometheus wagers that Typhon will be beaten by a mortal. He foresees the adventure that begins in Golden Isle when Fenyx discovers that everyone has turned to stone.
The most refreshing part of Fenyx Rising is the narration. Prometheus and Zeus are the unreliable narrators of the story. When Zeus thinks Fenyx's adventure isn't exciting enough, he uses his godly powers to interrupt Prometheus's storytelling with a little danger or some jokes. I tend not to listen to in-game narration, but Zeus and Prometheus kept my attention with their light-hearted irreverence.
Far from being an audience surrogate, Fenyx is a brave and eager Greek woman (or man) who has found themselves at the center of a tale told by the gods. Her enthusiasm for helping others proves useful to indisposed gods like Aphrodite, who has been turned into a tree by Typhon. None of the story's narrators take their role too seriously, and the end result is a lot of fun.
Fenyx Immortals Rising interrupts an otherwise strong beginning by demanding players link their Ubisoft Connect account. Making the account takes no time at all, but it's an annoying requirement to add to the beginning of the game. Once the Ubisoft Connect account is linked, players can use cross-platform saves and spend their coins.
Aside from that, setup is standard: brightness, character customization, difficulty settings, and so on. I tested the game on Normal difficulty, but it can be changed at any time.
There are three major components to Immortals Fenyx Rising: exploration, puzzles, and combat. At first, it all seems like too much. Fenyx is buried under a pile of consumables, weapons, and powers from the beginning. The world is gigantic and overwhelming, with beautiful vistas and unexplored sites in every direction the camera pans.
The fun of exploration is somewhat undercut by the inclusion of Far Sight, a tool that reveals points of interest on the map.
It doesn’t take long for the world to start shrinking rapidly, though. The fun of exploration is somewhat undercut by the inclusion of Far Sight, a tool that reveals points of interest on the map. Unlike the pins in Breath of the Wild, Far Sight doesn’t rely on line of sight.
Discovering and solving the world puzzles was the best part of exploring Golden Isle.
As long as you’re looking in the direction of a chest or puzzle, you can permanently reveal its place on the map. It goes without saying that anyone can choose not to use this feature, but including it suggests Fenyx Rising isn’t that invested in encouraging players to explore the world independently.
Fenyx Rising has a variety of puzzles, called Challenges, scattered across the open world and inside Vaults of Tartaros. Most of them, like sliding block puzzles or fast-paced navigation challenges, are simple and easy to complete. Discovering and solving the world's puzzles was the best part of exploring Golden Isle.
Most of the combat is optional, but it’s so fun I went out of my way to find it.
Vaults of Tartaros are the equivalent of shrines in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Vaults throw puzzle-solving and combat together into short instances. In one excruciating example, the puzzle requires alternating which of two switches Fenyx is standing on as balls roll through a short maze. There are too many Vaults, and they're too easy to solve.
Most of the combat is optional, but it’s so fun I went out of my way to find it. The enemies are straight out of Greek mythology, from an Adonis-slaying boar to the classics like cyclopes and Minotaur. The fact that they appear in groups and have a variety of attacks makes for engaging, chaotic fights.
My main gripe is with the uneven difficulty progression. The beginning feels right, but it doesn't take long to become overpowered. Consumables may as well be infinite, so if I didn’t have enough potions, I could just eat a dozen pomegranates while running away from a Minotaur. Golden Isle is overflowing with weapons, armor, and materials for buying upgrades like godly abilities.
I purposefully avoided the best godly abilities until I discovered that they're required for some of the Vaults and puzzles. Ares's Wrath functions as a third jump. Athena's Charge makes Fenyx immune to lasers so she can rush through them.
In the domain of Greek gods, lasers are an anachronism. Fenyx Rising would have done better by removing them. Regardless, they made it in alongside excessively strong perks on gear and more godly abilities than you can shake a stick at. The combat is such fun that it's a shame there isn't any real challenge to it.
From golden flowers and baskets overflowing with bright pomegranates to the deep purple and green of the night sky, Immortals: Fenyx Rising uses vivid color to make every place in Golden Isle seem worthy of the gods.
The temples and pavilions were created with care for details. They’re decorated with pottery and art. The day-night cycle lingers in the gold tones of sunrise and sunset rather than the flat light of day.
The night sky was so beautiful I stopped to take pictures every time I played. I can’t say enough good things about the graphics.
Trees and grass appeared badly rendered at times, but it’s so hard to tear my attention away from the beauty of this game that I barely noticed. The night sky was so beautiful I stopped to take pictures every time I played. I can’t say enough good things about the graphics.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is $60, the standard MSRP for most Nintendo Switch titles. The $60 is a bit steep for a game that turned out this light on content. Voice actors don't come cheap, but I want more game for my money. As of writing, it's on sale for $30 across platforms, which is a much better deal.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild excels at many of the gameplay elements both games include. That said, there is one compelling reason to pick up Immortals Fenyx Rising: the story. It begins with music that sets the perfect mood and includes Ancient Greek instruments like the lyre. While Prometheus tells the tale of Fenyx, Zeus interrupts with jokes or reflects on good times had with the other gods.
When Zeus realizes how much he hurt Aphrodite by disregarding her feelings, or how his criticism of his son Ares has left the god of war feeling insecure, he sounds like a genuinely remorseful father.
Fenyx has a lot of character, too. She is candid with the gods, flattering their greatest strengths and indulging their weaknesses. She couldn't be more different from the audience stand-in of Link, who never utters a sound. There is a wonderfully entertaining story at the heart of this game, and Link isn't going to tell it.
An entertaining game with compelling combat and graphics.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a highly entertaining game that brings Greek mythology to life with its brilliant storytelling. The world seems expansive, the graphics are good-looking, and the combat is a delight. It’ll appeal to any gamer that enjoyed Breath of the Wild and wants something more or a little different.
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