Immortals Fenyx Rising is the perfect game to play during 2020. While we’re stuck inside, unable to enjoy the outside and the fresh sunshine here in Australia, Immortals Fenyx Rising offers up a great way to escape. Riffing on the established Legend of Zelda formula, Immortals Fenyx Rising stars Fenyx, an unlikely hero who is the only one able to stop Typhon, save the Gods and return all of humanity back to life.
Not a huge task then?
Set on the Golden Isle, Immortals Fenyx Rising is visually stylised but very pretty. It’s bright, colourful and evokes that wonderful sense of sitting down to some cartoons on a Saturday morning. Even the tone of the piece is firmly planted in the land of Ducktales and Looney Tunes.
Presented as Prometheus’ prophecy of how Fenyx will save the Gods, Immortals Fenyx Rising takes full advantage of a story being told with frequent narration from Prometheus and a thoroughly unimpressed and overbearing Zeus. While Fenyx is the star of the show, Zeus and Prometheus are a fantastic duo in the vein of Statler and Waldorf.
If you don’t crack up at their bickering back and forth, then you might need to see a doctor, cause your sense of humour might have died.
Immortals Fenyx Rising
In Immortals Fenyx Rising, the Titan Typhon has escaped his prison and sought revenge on the Gods. Having imprisoned most of them and locked away their powers, they are helpless to do anything but stand by and watch as he reshapes the world to his liking. All of humanity has been turned to stone, except Fenyx, making them the only one able to do anything about it.
In the beginning, Fenyx is a lowly shield-bearer, but over time, and with some help from a few friends they make along the way, Fenyx becomes an absolute weapon. Early on, Fenyx gains access to a Sword (Light Attack), Axe (Heavy Attack) and Bow. They also acquire the Winds of Daedalus which allow them to hang glide. There is a real sense of deja vu when it comes to Fenyx’s abilities and exploration mechanics but it is a different beast than Breath of the Wild. Sure, it’s clearly inspired by Nintendo’s stellar franchise.
Combat is an absolute blast and combining light and heavy attacks, parrying, dodging and using God Powers can turn any group of enemies into a fine powder. That being said, playing in Hard is still likely to offer up a decent challenge. Combat is governed by Stamina and Health, the latter obviously needed to stay alive. The former dictates Fenyx’s ability to perform special moves and stay out of harm’s way.
Light attacks will replenish stamina while heavy attacks drain it. Light attacks deal less damage too but the real bonus of heavy attacks are how the fill the enemy’s stun guage. Once it’s full, you can go to town on them while they sit there like a dummy, taking whatever you dish out.
All of the God Powers and abilities use Stamina too so boosting that as you progress is paramount. The powers and abilities themselves are really great too. Ares power sees Fenyx jump into the air surrounded by spears, bringing any smaller enemies into the sky with her while Hephaestos Hammer smacks everything in front in a wide area. The best powers come from Phosphor, Fenyx’s pet phoenix. Phosphor attacks and harasses enemies and depending on which skin has been applied to the bird, different effects occur. One sees Phosphor drop stamina orbs while another has him explode on contact. And even if you like the ability of one skin, but not the visual look itself, you can simply apply whichever visual you like best.
You can do this with Fenyx too. Each piece of armour and equipment comes with its own set of perks and look. But if you like another visual better, you can apply that over the top and still gain the benefits of the perks you want. I wish more games offered this level of customisation. It’s great.
Across the Golden Isle, Fenyx is tasked with freeing the Gods, recovering their essence and putting a stop to Typhon. This takes the form of exploration, combat and puzzle-solving. Each time Fenyx enters a new region, they’ll need to scale a statue and synchronise, I mean scout the area. This uncovers the map but it doesn’t add dozens of icons to it. Instead, you need to enter the first-person mode by holding R3 and uncover places of interest yourself. It’s a decent system which adds some more interactivity, although it does get a bit tiresome after a while. While on the surface, Fenyx will find tonnes of beasts and baddies to fight and puzzles to solve.
It’s down in the Vaults of Tartaros where things get a bit more tricky. These vaults, essentially mini-dungeons, offer up some of the best challenges in the game. Usually a combination of everything you’ve learned so far, the Vaults are filled with puzzles, baddies and challenges. You’ll be prompted if you lack a certain skill or piece of equipment necessary to complete a Vault, which is handy, and wherever you return to one, you’ll always be placed back with your progress intact. The Vaults aren’t full, proper dungeons like in Zelda, but they’re still great and there are a huge number of them, some required, some optional.
The same goes for things on the surface of the Golden Isle. There’s plenty to see and do but you can make it to the credits without doing absolutely everything. However, what you can do is exciting, for the most part, so completing everything on offer doesn’t feel like a chore. There’s not a great lot of variety in activities which can tend to make Immortals Fenyx Rising feel like it drags a little but it never overstays its welcome.
My biggest criticism of the game comes from the large number of crashes it suffered. During the review period, both before and after the most recent patch, the game crashed no fewer than 12 times. Thankfully it has an aggressive autosave system so I never lost any progress, but it is really frustrating having to load the game up time and time again. Here’s hoping these issues can be fixed by launch.
Overall, Immortals Fenyx Rising is the most successful Zelda-like since Darksiders. It uses Breath of the Wild as a base and delivers a colourful, vibrant world to discover. While Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla give players a darker, grittier experience, Immortals Fenyx Rising is content to simply offer up buckets of fun and frivolity. Something which is sorely needed right now.
I can’t recommend Immortals Fenyx Rising enough.
Immortals Fenyx Rising was reviewed on Xbox Series X using a digital copy provided by Ubisoft.