Though it’s likely still a little early to tell, there’s a strong possibility Immortals: Fenyx Rising could be far more than just a The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild clone set in a fantastical take on ancient Greece filled with mythological creatures.
Shortly after a somewhat strange leaked name switch from Gods & Monsters to Immortals Feynx Rising, I went hands-on with the upcoming Ubisoft Quebec-developed title remotely though a streaming video game service.
I mention this because while the game was technically sound for the most part, I did encounter a few frame rate issues. That said, the problems I experienced during my roughly two hours with Immortals were likely mostly the result of issues with the streaming platform and not the game itself — the above footage certainly indicates that is likely the case to some extent.
That’s not to say Fenyx Rising looks bad by any means, but its cartoony art style is definitely simplistic compared to other similar open-world games and even Breath of the Wild for that matter. That said, Fenyx Rising‘s draw distance is impressive, with locations far off that the player is able to travel to being visible at nearly all times.
In several ways, Fenyx Rising seems to take significant inspiration from Nintendo’s iconic Switch Zelda title in terms of gameplay. First off, it’s a third-person action game with forgiving hack-and-slash gameplay featuring a relatively simplistic parry system. Players take on the role of a male or female demigod named Fenyx and are tasked with accomplishing various goals in an open world at their own pace. There are mainline quests, but also a slew of side missions players can experience. The game’s plot focuses on freeing Greek gods and their home from a dark curse brought on by an enemy called Typhon, the “deadliest Titan in Greek mythology.”
The first portion of the demo dropped me into a Zelda-like dungeon ‘Vault’ called “Odysseus’s Struggle.” This area featured surprisingly interesting puzzles that involved flipping switches, jumping across platforms and even moving boxes around with a power very similar to Link’s ‘Magnesis’ ability from Breath of the Wild.
Though the dungeon design wasn’t quite as compelling as what Nintendo offers in Zelda titles, I encountered several of what I’d call satisfying “Oh, so that’s how it works!” moments during this portion of the demo. The game’s platforming was also solid thanks to its snappy and responsive controls.
Following this, I returned to the Fenyx Rising’s open world and started a quest called ‘Light My Fire’ that tasked me with taking down hordes of several enemies while lighting three furnaces. It took me a while to figure out how to set the coal on fire to light the furnaces. This is when I realized that, similar to Breath of the Wild, missions like this can be approached in several ways.
For example, I could toss the coal in a nearby torch, then pick it up again with my magnetic-like ability and move it inside the furnace. Or, I could use an ability called ‘Apollo’s Arrow,’ take control of an individual arrow and steer it through a torch, and then eventually, towards the piece of coal after throwing it in the furnace. Though it’s difficult to know for sure given the small section of the game I played, the theme of being able to approach puzzles in different ways is likely a big part of Immortals: Fenyx Rising.
In general, Fenxy Rising seems far more focused on using abilities during combat than Breath of the Wild. For instance, I used a move called ‘Athena’s Dash’ frequently that allowed me to jolt forward quickly and blast Fenyx into enemies, a power that shot spikes up from the ground and several other interesting abilities. This adds much-needed variety to the game’s somewhat repetitive combat system and kept things feeling fresh during my time with Fenxy Rising.
There’s also ranged combat with ‘The Bow of Odysseus,’ which I found myself using a lot during the demo since it allowed me to pick off enemies — especially bosses — at a distance with carefully placed shots, as well as melee weapons like ‘Hephaistos’s Hammer’ and the ‘Sword of Achilles.’
Other things worth noting about the game include the fact that Fenyx can ride a mount that helps you navigate locations more quickly. The horse, unfortunately, feels a little clunky, but given the size of the game’s world, it’s necessary for getting around the sprawling map. Though I wasn’t able to test this out in the demo, players will be able to get other mounts.
Fenyx can also fly for brief periods thanks to her wings, allowing you to slowly glide down from above and get the drop on enemies. The wings are great if you happen to miss the timing of a jump in a Vault because they give you an extra moment to get your bearings. I found this particularly useful when bounding between platforms in a Vault called the ‘Sanctuary of Erebos’ that’s filled with spikes you need to jump over and moving platforms.
It’s also important to note the game includes various forms of equipable weapons and armour, as well as an RPG-like levelling system, though these aren’t features I spent much time with.
Without giving too much away since it’s unclear what will be featured in the final game, the demo I played of Immortals: Fenyx Rising didn’t seem to take itself too seriously. There were tongue-in-cheek references to Ubisoft being a French developer, as well as the fact that the title received a late-in-development name change.
It’s also worth mentioning Immortals: Fenyx Rising‘s various weapons don’t seem to break, which is great news for anyone frustrated by Breath of the Wild’s very fragile arms. MobileSyrup will have more on Ubisoft’s mythological epic in the coming weeks.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising is set to release on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Stadia and PC on December 3rd.
Note: Ubisoft president Yves Guillemot issued a public apology in a video prior to the company’s Ubisoft Forward presentation, addressing reports of harassment, sexual misconduct and racial insensitivity at the company. This video was not included in the Ubisoft Forward presentation.