Immortals Fenyx Rising shows that Ubisoft can make the new school’s sandbox game as well.
I’m probably not alone in believing that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be one of the most influential games of the next five years. The number one piece of evidence is the recently launched free-to-play phenomenon Genshin Impact, and now Ubisoft has followed up with example number two.
For three and a half years (or at least since the launch of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in October 2018), namely Ubisoft Quebec has dissected Nintendo’s modern classics, filed down the largest water parts, and streamlined the gaming experience in the classic Ubisoft manner. And the end result is, in fact, brilliant; Immortals Fenyx Rising is a thoroughly entertaining, beautiful and compliant gaming experience, where the feeling of freedom is enormous. But I must admit that the similarities with Breath of the Wild were hard to overlook at first.
Hang and cling
Like Nintendo’s adventures unfold Immortals Fenyx Rising in a wide open and very vertical game world, where you can climb basically everything. However, the exploration is dictated to some parts by the player’s endurance meter, but this is expanded by completing limited challenges in so-called “tartaros vaults” (Immortals answers to the shrines in Breath of the Wild), where the game’s physics system allows flexible solutions (just like in Breath of the Wild).
Read also: Review: Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
What is it?
As Zelda but still not.
I5 4690K, Geforce GTX 970, 16 GB RAM
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Like i Breath of the Wild (I said that Immortals is similar Breath of the Wild?) you can cook magic potions that restore your endurance and health, but here Ubisoft has abolished Nintendo’s clumsy cooking system, which saves a lot of time. Another key difference is that the weapons in Immortals do not break (however, you can replace them, because all weapons have different bonuses) and that rain and thunder do not make life (dung) sour.
The boldest design choice in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was that Nintendo required the player to navigate the world on his own, instead of staring blindly at map markers. Ubisoft – the uncrowned ruler of the map puppets – has certainly tightened its belts, but still could not help but automate the process, as via lookout towers (in the form of huge statues) you get helpful clues both in the form of markers on the screen and shakes in the hand control. A little disappointing as it feels like Ubisoft understood Breath of the Wilds most important lesson, but still refused to let go of the player’s hand fully. “If we’ve placed a coffin here, we want you to find it too!”
Whether all these changes are good or not is up to everyone – I myself am quite divided then Breath of the Wilds personality shone at its strongest during these elaborate moments, while Immortals replaces them with tireless, uncomplicated drive. In the end, I actually do not know which of the design philosophies I prefer. Both have their place and help Immortals to feel like something much more than a simple Zelda-clone.
Gods and energy drinks
Originally advertised Immortals Fenyx Rising as Gods & Monsters, a name that the game should have retained because it is memorable, witty and far more representative of the cheerful tone of the adventure. According to the law firm Hoeg Law, the change was carried out under pressure from the energy drink manufacturer Monster Energy, which believed that the old name could “damage its business”. Ubisoft would certainly have won a legal dispute, but obviously thought it was not worth the time, money or energy (höhö).
An easy story
The appeal also distinguishes the games – the often melancholy feeling in Breath of the Wild get in Immortals stroking the foot for almost fatherly storytelling. Zeus and Prometehus look back on the hero Fenyx’s fight against the villain Typhon, and Zeus in particular often draws on “adult” jokes that would be included in any Shrek movie. Even the Fenyx weapon carrier Helios feels too “modern” for its own good, so if you come to Immortals for a serious interpretation of Greek mythology, you do best to turn around immediately. The story works as such, but is seldom more than an acceptable excuse for gambling.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a huge surprise in my book, and I look forward to spending many, many more hours in Ubisoft’s colorful Greece. Everything you see you can do, and the side tracks often feel more meaningful than the main chores. Immortals Fenyx Rising is a game that really loves the player – and I happily love it back.
Also read: Genshin Impact gets a whole new region on December 23rd