When Immortals: Fenyx Rising was announced, I had no idea what to think of it. Then when we saw more footage (and the new name), I felt even less interested. Frankly, the aesthetic and overall vibe just seemed painfully generic to me, and I tuned out pretty quickly. Then the demo arrived on Stadia, and I checked it out for giggles. It was like I was looking at a totally different game, and now I’m on board on day one.
When The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild came out and became an instant gaming juggernaut, it was only a matter of time before the derivative works showed up. This isn’t a bad thing; that’s why i’m not using the “ripoff” phrase. Genshin Impact was the first major one to show up, taking the open world RPG with gliding and climbing thing and dropping free to play gacha stuff on top. In Ubisoft’s Immortals: Fenyx Rising, I feel like I’m playing a cross-breed of Breath of the Wild and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Before we dive in, you can also check out an earlier preview we published before the Stadia demo:
What does that mean? Well, it isn’t a 1:1 comparison, but like with Genshin Impact, we’re seeing the three ostensible pillars of Breath of the Wild here. That’s the stamina/climbing, the gliding, and the big open world full of lush vegetation and random enemy encounters. Then, we have skill trees, combat, and loot that are very close to those systems in Odyssey. For example, countering works exactly the same way, so in some ways the comparison is uncanny. But as is the case with projects like this, there’s unique flavor in there as well. Immortals has a fascination with air combat, so there’s a lot of combo-stringing and launching, and the player character’s wings are even incorporated into fights. It feels like a licensed anime character fighting game, similar in look but not depth to Devil May Cry.
Frankly while it’s a bit button-mashy, Fenyx Rising feels more “smooth” to play than any of the games I’ve mentioned so far. Combat has a very cancel-heavy flow to it, and moving around doesn’t have any weird resistance to it; the character just moves in the direction you press when you press it. Even gliding around feels faster and smoother than anywhere else that has done this before.
Of course, this squeaky-clean smoothness means that Fenyx Rising probably isn’t going to be challenging most players unless they crank the difficulty way up. This is definitely more of a vibe game that a test of your resilience, like Breath of the Wild certainly is. But when it comes to the folks who wanted to play Breath of the Wild but had trouble with the tougher bits, this game might fulfill those people in particular the most. It also helps that despite the common setting (Greek Mythology) this game seems to be more interested in being funny than taking itself too seriously. The entire demo is framed by Zeus and Prometheus arguing over facts in storytelling.
It was a little hard to gauge exactly what the skill tree development will be like, mostly because the demo starts with much of it filled out already, but between basic moves, god-based super moves and some other stuff that seemed to be going on under the hood, Fenyx Rising seems to have a lot of options. There are different kinds of weapons too, which will have different utility depending on light or heavy attacks. The air combo stuff also seems to have a ton of potential, and I’m excited to see what people do with it down the line.
The one thing that seemed off was the boss fight. At the end of the demo you face off against a Cyclops, and it’s the typical “giant boss with massive health bar” thing. But while getting around it and beating it was no problem, the whole thing just felt a little sloppy. It’s hard to explain, but the way a lot of the animations played out, it felt like the way my and the Cyclops’ animations were colliding were more like two 3D models bumping into each other. The Cyclops’ targeting also seemed off. This definitely has me curious about the game’s boss encounters in general.
Overall, I’m on board with Immortals: Fenyx Rising after playing the demo on Stadia. It has a sense of humor, very smooth controls, loot, and combos. It seems like the kind of game it’ll be very easy to get lost in, and sometimes that’s exactly what you want out of a game this size. Hopefully the rest of the experience holds up what’s in the demo, and that the experience remains smooth throughout. We’ll see when Immortals: Fenyx Rising launches in December. What do you think, readers? Let us know over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter pages!