Also on: Xbox One, PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Since it was first revealed back in June 2019, Immortals: Fenyx Rising — or, as it was originally known, Gods and Monsters — has gotten a lot of comparisons to Breath of the Wild. While I kind of see it, I guess, the reality is that Immortals: Fenyx Rising is a lot more than just another Zelda-like. Sure, there are lush fields to traverse across and monsters to battle, but on the whole, this game feels like a different beast entirely.
In fact, if we?re comparing Immortals: Fenyx Rising to anything at all, the two influences that jumped out to me most would be God of War or Assassin?s Creed.
The God of War comparison is probably the more obvious of the two. After all, this is a game where the protagonist — the titular Fenyx — is battling a Greek god (or however you want to classify Typhon) as the big bad, and along the way you?re battling all kinds of creatures from Greek mythology. Immortals: Fenyx Rising is a lot less bloody, but it?s pretty clear that it shares some DNA with Kratos and co.
The setting also accounts for part of the reason why I got an Assassin?s Creed vibe from Immortals: Fenyx Rising — one penultimate game in the AC series, Assassin?s Creed: Odyssey, was also set in Ancient Greece. But it goes beyond that, too. The two games — Fenyx Rising and Odyssey — are both by Ubisoft Quebec, and you can see how one influenced the other. You?ll spend a lot of time in Fenyx Rising parkouring up the side of cliffs and buildings, searching all over the place for hidden loot and secrets.
But even with those similarities, Immortals: Fenyx Rising still feels like its own game for one simple reason: it?s fun, and it doesn?t try to hide it.
Don?t get me wrong, I?m fond of both the God of War and Assassin?s Creed franchises. I may not like all the games in both series, but I?ve liked them enough to say I?m a fan. But even with that fondness, I don?t think I?d ever describe the games as fun in the same way that Immortals: Fenyx Rising is. Fenyx Rising has a certain joy to it that?s not too common in most games of this ilk. Rather than getting bogged down in ponderousness or getting too serious, it?s never afraid to make you feel like you?re having fun, whether that?s because of the snarky voiceover conversations of the two narrators (Zeus and Prometheus) poking fun at the action, or the way you can finish off combos by launching enemies into the air where they explode with a pop.
Mind you, those voiceovers also lead to my one complaint about the game that stretches across both the Switch version and the Xbox version. Simply put, the voice acting in this game is kind of terrible. All the characters have weird accents that come off as some crazy mix of Greek and Irish, and I found it distracting every time there were any lengthy bits of dialogue.
Thankfully, though, that distracted feeling melted away every time I was able to get back into the game. Whether I was hack and slashing enemies, solving any of the many environmental puzzles that are scattered throughout the game, or simply getting immersed in Immortals: Fenyx Rising?s world, I loved pretty much every minute.
At least, I did when playing it on Xbox. Playing it on the Switch was fun too, but not without some major problems. Most notably: the game crashed on me pretty regularly. There was apparently a pre-release patch coming that was supposed to fix all that, but it wasn?t out when I was playing, and it made for some frustrating moments when I realized I?d lost a fair bit of progress just because the game suddenly decided not to work.
Likewise, the performance on the Switch (or, at least, on the Switch Lite) was kind of iffy. The world was all here, and I was able to switch back and forth between playing on Xbox and playing on Switch thanks to the miracle of cross-saves, but I definitely noticed a pretty big downgrade going to Nintendo?s system. It doesn?t look anywhere near as good, and it always took a bit of an adjustment period to go from one to the other.
But I was inevitably able to adjust, since, as I said, I loved nearly everything about Immortals: Fenyx Rising. It?s a pretty joyful take on open-world action, and as far as I?m concerned, it?s a late contender for Game of the Year.
Ubisoft provided us with an Immortals: Fenyx Rising Xbox Series X/Switch code for review purposes.