Greek Mythology is probably one of the most popular inspirations for fiction. We got a special opportunity to try out Immortals: Fenyx Rising, the new game by Ubisoft. Fans may know it by its previous name, Gods And Monsters.
How does the game play? Was it an experience fitting of the Gods? Read on and find out. Our thanks to Ubisoft for the opportunity to try out this game.
Typical Ubisoft Charm
Immortals: Fenyx Rising has you playing as Fenyx, a demigod. Players can customize their Fenyx’s gender to their liking, though this option was disabled in this build of the game. Fenyx is on a quest to save the Greek Gods, as the powerful titan Typhon escapes Tartaros.
The preview build is narrated by Zeus and Prometheus , who constantly break the fourth wall. Fenyx interacts with them too, creating quite the whimsical atmosphere. They make a lot of meta jokes and references to our world, the mileage of which may vary depending on the player. Personally, they sound just relaxed enough that they give off a Statler and Waldorf vibe.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Ubisoft game without vantage points. The first thing the preview build asks of you is to activate Far Sight, as Fenyx stands perched on a cliff. From there, players can reveal points of interest on the horizon. It’s a pretty interesting way to tell players where to go, and much better than just showing the map light up with icons.
Right off the bat, we’re introduced to the main point of interest- Vaults of Tartaros. We’re also treated to the game’s main method of traversal. Fenyx can transition into a glide from a jump, which gets you on the fast track to the Vault of Tartaros nearby.
Upon arriving, however, Fenyx is greeted by enemies coming from the rift. This serves as the game’s introduction to combat.
Combat in the game is fairly deep, with a lot of interesting new implementations for familiar mechanics. Fenyx has several tools at their disposal, including an axe for normal attacks. This axe has decent speed and sweeping attacks, making it good for dealing with the mobs of enemies thrown at you.
That’s not the only main weapon at your disposal, though, as later on in the demo Fenyx can swap out their normal weapons. You also gain access to a sword, which is a lot faster than the axe.
The game also has a fairly robust combo system, with the developers describing as “aerial focused”. Indeed, one of Fenyx’s special moves even acts as a launcher, throwing enemies in the air with a flurry of spears erupting from the ground.
Aggressive Stamina System
Additionally, Fenyx also has Hephaistos’ Hammer. This acts more as the game’s heavy attack, with powerful, slow moves. This hammer can also stun large enemies with its big blows.
Using special attacks consumes stamina in the game, which can land you in hot water. Some of the game’s consumables will allow you to regain stamina, though the real way to regain it is a lot more interesting.
Rather than pace around the room waiting for your stamina to regenerate, Fenyx can gain stamina by making normal attacks. This allows Fenyx to keep the pressure on enemies, even without the meter to use special attacks.
Additionally, the game also has a parrying system. Most attacks can be parried, but not all. Enemies that glow red are performing unparriable attacks and Fenyx will have to dash out of the way of these. I really appreciate that, rather than turning the whole enemy red, the game highlights the part of the monster being used to attack. For example, the Cyclops’ unblockable is a swing with its right arm, so only the right arm glows. Its a great way to focus on the part that’s about to hit you.
Fenyx isn’t going through these encounters alone, however. You have an ally in Phosphor, a phoenix that follows Fenyx around. Fenyx can be upgraded with different abilities. In the demo, Phosphor could be used to attack enemies and cause them to drop stamina pickups, allowing Fenyx to keep up the offensive.
The demo treats us to a boss in Hephaistos’ stage, a giant automaton. It’s a fairly simple boss fight, with good tells. It telegraphs all its moves, and has decently large openings for players to exploit. One gripe here is that the boss’ health bar is significantly less detailed than the player’s own health bar, and it can be easy to mix the two up.
Another cool mechanic is a poise system similar to games like Sekiro. Bosses have a secondary bar under their health, which fills up as they take damage. Filling this up to max will stun the boss, giving you a big rally opportunity.
In the overworld, there are also overworld events called Rage of Typhon. When the Rage of Typhon appears, being spotted will cause it to throw meteors at Fenyx. On top of that, normally-passive creatures in the world will become aggressive to Fenyx.
The player will also be hunted by a Wraith of Odysseus, who will hunt the player down. This is a pretty challenging fight, though it’s not certain how often players will deal with it in the full game.
Though we didn’t have access to it, the game does possess an upgrade system. These are split along the lines of normal and divine skills, and will likely suit the players own playstyle.
On top of that, you can upgrade your health, stamina, and equipment. These all require collectibles, including the Zeus’ Lightning you get from completing the Vaults of Tartaros.
The Tools For Exploration
Fenyx has several tools in their arsenal to use. Most of these tools are more to utility than combat, as per the game’s more exploration based focus. The most useful of these is the strength of Herakles, which lets you carry and manipulate objects in the world. The first Vault of Tartaros is a great tutorial on this, as the game shows you that dungeons will have objects like weight-dependent switches.
You also have a mount, which Fenyx can summon at will. This horse is great for traversing distances when you have no vantage points, as well as if you plan to stop on the way to your next objective. There are also other tameable mounts in the game, though the demo only had 2 other horses. These can be a fun side objective, as taming them requires you to successfully sneak up on them.
The world of Immortals: Fenyx Rising has Fenyx on a quest to save the Gods of Olympus. The main area we were shown in the demo, Hephaistos’ forge, is full of automaton-looking beings running around. The first challenge we were made to do was really interesting, as Fenyx would grab large boulders of coal, light them on fire, and throw them into chimneys to restart the forge.
Aside from the fiends wandering the area, there are also automatons frozen in place. It’s a nice touch of environmental design- as the forge died, so did they, and it does a lot to sell the place as somewhere that used to serve a purpose.
The greater world itself is also really interesting, with lots of chests full of items for players to explore.
The Vaults of Tartarus are also great for players that pride themselves on platforming and puzzles. They’re not physically demanding, but solving these puzzles can leave you with a great deal of satisfaction.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising looks like its going to be a great game. Unlike previous Ubisoft titles, this seems to focus more on unique experiences, rather than repetitive busywork.
The involved combat system is also greatly appreciated, as you can have quite a lot of fun styling on enemies with combos. Most of your skills can also chain into your regular combos, giving you quite a bit of flexibility. Phosphor is also a great ally, and I’m interested to see what other skills the full version of the game will have.
The open world also has plenty for players to do, and the Rage of Typhon adds a fun challenge into the mix. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on this one when the game launches later this year.