Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Indeed, these are strange times in which we live. Chaos and confusion seem to rule the day. Each day brings as many questions as it does answers. I look and see the streets filled with throngs of crowds. Some of which are celebrating in their victory. Whilst others lament, their hopes seemingly dashed.
This has certainly been one of the more interesting next gen console launches of my lifetime. The already anxiety inducing experience of attempting to secure a console at launch was met with a world stalling scenario of Covid-19. For those such as myself the concern becomes what is left on the lanscape for our last gen console?
But much like a gift of the gods, Ubisoft’s Immortals Fenyx Rising arrives at the perfect time to provide itself as a classical cross gen, cross platform masterpiece.
Set in Ancient Greece, Immortals Fenyx Rising is the story of the return of Typhon, the deadliest of the Titans. Seeking revenge on the Greek gods, Typhon unleashes a curse that renders almost any aid the Pantheon could hope for useless. That is save for one girl, Fenyx. Quested with ending the threat of eternal darkenss, Fenyx’s adventure is a familiar blend of time tested platform techniques.
If I wasn’t aware that this was a narrative based game the first moments of the demo lay down that framework. I have to say thankfully the commentary from Zeus and Prometheus is more asinine than annoying. One being stuck on himself and the other being well stuck to a rock their banter is something of a Greek Grumpy Old Men. That isn’t to say there isn’t some deep context and creativity to their conversations. Overlooking his blustery tone I noticed much of what Zeus said was fairly deep. I can only hope the remainder of the game balances this fun and philosophical tandem.
The Stadia demo (Thank You….also check out our Stadia review video here) includes the gameplay for a mission titled The Secret of the Cyclops. Tasked with retrieving Siren’s song to remove Circe’s magic that had imprisoned the Cyclops with her ice magic. Zeus takes the moment to correct that it is I-cy magic, she see’s things and transforms them (told ya asinine).
After the opening narrative, Fenyx is set upon by Circe and Poseidon’s forces. For me a platformer can live or die on button layout. It didn’t take long for me to appreciate the developers design. Fenyx has a light attack from a sword (R1) and heavy attacks from an axe (R2). Meanwhile, a bow attack (L2) is fired (R2, held before release to charge) to allow a ranged assault. This layout worked for me fairly well. However, I was surprised to discover that Ubisoft has left so many options available to the player. From button layout to HUD displays game options can be changed. Wisely Ubisoft has made customization is a big part of Immortals Fenyx Rising.
After this brief battle I was free to discover the island. The options menu contains the map, which shows both the demo and overall gameplay area were impressive. The demo consisted of of three major land masses. The Secret of the Cyclops gave me several opportunities to witness what the game offered. I’m very impressed. I was able to explore this mysterious location using Fenyx’s many abilities. I could summon a mount to ride, dive under the sea to explore, climb cliffs and glide with the aid of a pair of wings.
Although the demos main objective leads to a final battle with the Cyclops, I was surprised at what else the demo (and game) offered. This is truly an open world and there is so much to discover. Along the way I managed to acquire a new bow, axe, sword, helmet, armor and pair of wings. I still suspect the demo hides a new mount but I wanted to write my review.
The sheer magnitude of what I already experienced seems dwarfed by the amount that is still undiscovered in this game. I noted several upgrade and item slots during my gameplay. Looking over the quests and objectives on the map also prepped me for should be several hours of well balanced action platformer entertainment.
As I indicated my review comes via play from the Stadia demo (Thank You again). Graphically I wouldn’t expect this game to diminish across the platforms. That would be a good thing meaning this game should look amazing for all players. The character and object rendering look great, can I say cartoon realism. The gameplay was smooth, I didn’t notice enemies or Fenyx slow or stagger when moving or even climbing.
If the demo for Immortals Fenyx Rising is any indication, Ubisoft has managed their time during the pandemic properly. Fenyx’s tale hints at her being hailed with other Legendary game hero(ine)s. While the rest of us were tye dying and binging tv and food this team went back to the forge, even retitling the game. And while Gods and Monsters sounds intimidating, Fenyx Rising is a more intimate and intense title. Hinting at a journey or a joke if it’s left up to Zeus, all to discover who is Fenyx?