Sometimes our insistence on games being seen as a medium for adults results in too many of them using the same formula. That’s why so many are being pumped out with the same series of greys, action, and a generic story.
Don’t get me wrong, I like those games. But please, when I describe Immortals Fenyx Rising as baby’s first Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, please know it comes from a place of sheer joy.
By the beard of Zeus
Immortals Fenyx Rising presents us with Zeus, sky daddy of Olympus, who is dealing with the issue of Typhon being unleashed on the world. With most humans turned to stone and gods being transformed into an array of weird junk, Zeus goes to get help from Prometheus. You know, Prometheus, the guy who gets his liver eaten by birds every day for teaching people to use fire.
Zeus is totally good at proportional punishment.
Prometheus is unable to see the future because Typhon has blocked that ability, and as such he tells Zeus a story of a saviour. The young warrior Fenyx, who is lucky enough to not have been turned to stone by Typhon like everyone else, kicks off her journey to save the gods and get rid of Typhon.
The story is interesting, but what is especially excellent is the humour. Zeus and Prometheus narrating the story is funny and, while the odd joke doesn’t land, the vast majority do. The radically different personalities of God and Titan gives a unique feel to the game. This is likely based on some classical comedies of the Hellenic period, but it has been many years since I spoke to someone who did classics studies so insert your own reference here.
It’s not only the excellent banter between the two that lands the humour. Everything from Fenyx going to slam open a chest and hurting her hand, or fumbling over her words as she chats to people, start to add up.
Then there are the gods who have had their forms changed. Aphrodite being a tree, for example, or Athena becoming a child. I won’t spoil all the god forms, but Athena stuck out because she stays the cunning goddess of war while using a lot of childish language and angry outbursts. It’s so damn cleverly written that it hurts.
The voice acting is meh, admittedly, but the stuff they say is *kisses fingers like a chef* top notch.
Oh My Ares
What makes the game peak excellence is using the basic gameplay from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, with a light element of the exploration from Breath of the Wild. What results is a game that is god damn treat to play.
The combat uses the excellent parry and attack controls ripped straight from AC Odyssey, which is so much more satisfying than many other games. Aspects are a little simplified, especially with RPG elements and limited upgrades, but this simplification does work with the tone of the game.
Then there is the exploration. Fenyx can climb or swim anywhere, and has the ability to glide from point to point using a pair of godly wings. All of these are only limited by a stamina bar you upgrade over time. Naturally I wanted to abuse said system by making the game think Fenyx was standing on weird edges to regenerate some of that stamina then keep on climbing. And I did. It is straight up the feeling I had when playing BoTW, and I loved doing it all again.
The game is also littered with puzzles and combat puzzles. Most of these were in Tartaros vaults, where you get taken away from the open world to an area to complete said puzzle. They are regularly based on physics puzzles, such as moving balls or blocks, and working with air vents.
So, you know… shrines.
By Hephaestus’s Hammer
Then we have the game’s look. The whole thing is designed in a way that looks like it could be an excellent animated TV show. I love this kinda stuff, as you don’t notice the issues or flaws in animations the way you do when a game goes for a realistic look.
Instead the whole thing looks gorgeous from start to finish. The bright and bold colours look phenomenal. The character designs instill a feeling of joy and exploration, and Aphrodite’s head jamming out of a tree fits perfectly in the world.
Seriously everything about the presentation, except the voice acting, is excellent.
For the love of Gods
My Gods, I seriously loved this game. It has all the trappings of a Ubisoft collectathon, but a smaller world than recent entries and a more manageable experience. Immortals Fenix Rising is an godly pleasure to experience. After the year that is 2020 this is a cracking and relaxing way to cleanse yourself of 2020ness.
Please note: Immortals Fenix Rising won’t cure COVID. But Zeus might, so ya know, get that sacrifice ready.