What to Expect with Immortals: Fenyx Rising
So you’re looking at this here Fenyx Rising thing, and thinking, “Is it Assassin’s Creed? Is it Breath of the Wild? A bit of both?” I’ve played five hours and am here to let you know what to expect should you be on the fence when it comes to deciding whether to part with your hard-earned moola for this one.
- Stamina: the first thing that struck me, going straight from Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla to this, was the reining effect of a stamina bar. Everything you do requires stamina – from double jumping to climbing to running, gliding and even swimming. Thus, your ability to roam very far, to begin with is limited. Waters must be crossed only if there is debris in the middle to recover stamina. Likewise, with cliff faces you must scan for resting spots all the way up in order to regain stamina to keep going. Thankfully, as you play you can increase your stamina total. You can also brew potions and store rations that instantly refuel it. However, these get eaten very quickly. I had about 30 stamina fruit (or whatever they are) at one stage and used most of them up just climbing one mountain!
- Light Humour: It took me a while to get used to the (very) light humour being used in Fenyx Rising. It’s not exactly hilarious, I’d say a couple of steps down from the LEGO titles, but there are one or two moments of actual humour as Zeus and Prometheus banter back and forth as the tale is told, resulting in many gags that miss and a few that hit. This is not the serious approach to history that AC: Odyssey employed. It is a self-deprecating romp through Greek mythology. And once you get on board with that, the tone kind of works.
- Puzzles: There are lots of puzzles out in the world. These are always simple, such as finding a rock to put on a weight stone to unlock a chest or searching for missing statues to put back in their right place. Don’t go in expecting Rise of the Tomb Raider style environmental work here. Everything is designed for a quick investigation with a light reward for doing so. Later, as you tackle the game’s dungeons – known as Vaults of Tartarus – there will be more involved puzzles. These can be physical puzzles involving cubes and rolling balls, or combat-related, such as needing to shoot arrows at targets while lasers move back and forth. There are also daily challenges to complete specific vaults in certain times. These are pretty difficult, so might scratch your challenge itch if you are so inclined.
- Assassin’s Creed Fortnite: The graphical presentation does initially seem like a grab for the Fortnite audience. However, there are some quite beautiful moments as you traverse this diverse world. Throw in Photo Mode and there is plenty of opportunity to both admire and preserve the eye candy. I’m playing on Series S and there is an option between performance and graphical modes. I will choose the higher frame rate every time.
- Mythical encounters: Enemies range from wild beasts to harpies to a giant Cyclops. They seem to be level-specific at certain biomes so that if you start exploring a biome that is above your level, you’re going to encounter enemies that are far above your current level and ability to defeat.
- Bosses: I’ve only fought two bosses so far, but they were fairly easy to get around. They weren’t like Dark Souls bosses with secondary move sets or anything. They just stuck to the same handful of attacks. If you are patient and study these, you should find the boss battles entirely doable.
- Busy work: The way things generally flow is that you locate a big statue of one of the gods in each biome, go to it, climb it and then survey the lands to mark off chests, ambrosia, vaults and other secrets. This doesn’t happen automatically like in Assassin’s Creed, you must manually scan the environment, looking for twinkling lights and feeling the controller vibrate to then press RT to show it on the map. I found this extremely tedious and often didn’t bother to mark more than a handful of things that came up quickly as I did one brief scan. These things are still out there in the world for you to stumble across anyway, so I figured it was better to let things surprise me.
- Gliding: Once you get the wings of Daedalus, swooping across vast sections of the map become possible. Be aware, though, that to truly utilise and enjoy this you’ll need to put in a bit of work to upgrade your stamina, as gliding uses it up real quick.
- Loot: There is a trickle of weapons, headgear and armour in this title that feels about right. Each new axe usually does the same amount of damage but will have some unique perk that might suit how you want to play – such as extra damage against unarmed enemies. You can apparently customise all your gear, but I suspect that this uses Ubi-bucks and thus have not explored it at all.
- A sense of busywork: The main feeling I’ve gotten from Fenyx Rising is that it is very good at stringing you along and keeping you busy without being more fun that such busy work is in games. There’s always another chest or another vault or another lyre to investigate. If you are the kind of player who enjoys just doing things in open worlds, this is going to scratch that itch and then some. However, one might question if you aren’t already doing that in the other two recently released Ubisoft titles.
- If you are in the mood for a light mythological romp, then this might be the Greek you have been looking for. I would say that despite being a little bit over open-world games right now – having gone through Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla back to back, I’m still curious to explore the world of Immortals: Fenyx Rising. Its colourful, lush art design, combined with over the top combat (enemies literally get pelted into the stratosphere when you defeat them) – not to mention a world full of puzzles to be solved – have me eager to fire up the console and settle in for some comfort gaming.
A download code for the game was supplied to the writer from Ubisoft Australia
It is said that Dylan Burns has no shadow, or if he does that it portents a shifting of the elder signs that govern the floating curses of the universe, gathering their power and directing ill intent and misfortune to all game developers that enact post-release patches. Consequently, Dylan’s shadow curse finds itself working overtime, permanently engaged, thus the propagation of legend. When not guiding the swirling forces of evil, Dylan enjoys writing (evil) fiction, taking menacing walks, and lurking behind bus stops with a general demeanour that suggests malevolence.