Ubisoft changed the third-person open-world action game genre with their originalAssassin’s Creed title back in 2007 and since then has iterated overtime on the formula while other big players in the industry have aped the tried and tested genre into their own titles, such as the case with Nintendo and some elements found within the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, specifically the freedom to explore and climb.
It’s fitting then, that Immortals: Fenyx Rising, (formerly, Gods & Monsters) in turn, borrows elements found within Breath of the Wild, infusing it with that distinct Ubisoft flair and charm found in their catalogue of games.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising is an open-world action game that explores Greek mythology, specifically the relationship between the Gods and the Thyphous myth. Players assume the role of the titular Fenyx, who seems to be inspired from and a mix between Artemis and Icarus. In my nearly two-hour hands-on demo with an early build of the game, the first thing that jumped out to me immediately was the writing. Fenyx Rising is a funny game, with Zeuss and Prometheus portrayed as somewhat jaded and pedestrian Gods that narrate the game, with 4th wall breaking jokes to make light of the otherwise apocalyptic situations present within.
The bright and colourful cartoony aesthetic also helps keep things mostly light-hearted while in turn giving Fenyx Rising a distinct enough look that separates it from its contemporaries such as Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed Odyssey game (while also making it more kid-friendly)
It’s hard not to see the Zelda influence in Fenyx Rising, as the approach to game design and exploration feels very similar, complete with physics-based manipulation, in which the player can pull and push objects in a manner similar to the magnesis ability found in Breath of the Wild.
Similarities don’t end there either, the game also features mounts similar to the horse found in Zelda, but Fenyx seems to offer a bit more customization options when riding. With the demo build of the game offering a more decked-out version of the starting horse. From my time with the game, it appears you can also tame additional horses found throughout the game world.
One of the more interesting mechanics within Fenyx Rising that sets itself apart is the ability to sustain flight. Flying unsurprisingly works similar to the paraglider found in BOTW but offers a more nuanced sense of control, with the ability to pitch and dive accordingly, making it feel a bit more unique and fun to mess around with.
The world of Fenyx Rising is dotted with fissures in the earth that act as this games version of shrine challenges while offering their own unique gauntlets and layouts that at times, again, do feel reminiscent of Zelda but with a greater emphasis on platforming rather than physics-based puzzle-solving (which are also present).
The major difference and the thing that keeps Fenyx Rising feeling original and fun to play is its emphasis on combat, which unlike its clear inspiration, feels more realized with a greater assortment of special moves. Said moves work on a cooldown and give players just enough variety to feel engaged and powerful no matter the encounter.
Enemies themselves are also fairly unique with designs that combine your typical spartan warrior aesthetic and combine it with fun, almost steampunk-inspired style, dispersed amongst more colourful and animated monster designs that fit the overall tone of the world.
At the end of the day, the obvious parallels between Immortals: Fenyx Rising and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are hard to ignore, but despite that, thanks to the good writing, polished combat mechanics and generally high-quality production value, imparts Immortals: Fenyx Rising with enough where it can not only stand on its own but perhaps even fly, once it sees release this holiday season.