Review: Immortals Fenyx Rising is Zelda for everyone without a switch

Immortals Fenyx Rising is a next-generation title from Ubisoft that draws heavily on the 2017 Nintendo Switch launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, considered one of the greatest video games of all time. It was all the more special that Breath of the Wild was a departure from the Zelda approach, introducing voice acting into the franchise, and encouraging a freer approach to its massive open world. Nintendo’s gambling has paid off, and Breath of the Wild has sold over 20 million copies since September. Given these numbers, it was only natural for other studios to come and copy their ingredients to serve the audience that doesn’t own the Switch or its predecessor, the Nintendo Wii U.

Ubisoft Quebec – the Canadian studio best known for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – is here to throw its hat in the ring with Immortal’s Fenyx Rising. It’s not the first either, as the free Chinese title Genshin Impact beat it by a few months. Like Breath of the Wild, Immortals Fenyx Rising is set in an open world centered on the villain’s huge hideout, full of red smoke. Fenyx – pronounced the “phoenix” – has the wings of Diadalos that allow them to glide like Link’s glider. And just like Link’s Magnesis ability, Fenyx can lift nearby objects thanks to Heracles’ strength. Fenyx can also tame wild horses and summon them at any time.

In fact, so much is being copied that some of the fundamentals of Immortal’s Fenyx Rising go against Ubisoft’s own ideas. Assassin’s Creed games allow you to climb mountains and structures without having to worry about stamina. But because Breath of the Wild had a stamina display for Link, Immortals Fenyx Rising has one too. It’s an understandable inclusion in the climbing department, or in Links case, as he’s literally holding onto the glider, but it doesn’t make sense to Fenyx because Diadalos’ wings emerge from a futuristic device attached to their backs. Sure, you can eat a blue mushroom to restore your stamina, but the link between sliding and endurance has no logical meaning. It exists because it was there in Breath of the Wild.

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Fenyx wields a massive hammer in Immortal’s Fenyx Rising
Photo credit: Ubisoft

Despite all my harping on the similarities, Immortals Fenyx Rising brings its own ideas to the table. The biggest difference is in combat, where Ubisoft Quebec relies much more on Assassin’s Creed. As such, the fight is a mix of light attacks (RB / R1) and heavy attacks (RT / R2), punctuated by the timely use of dodging (X / square) and parrying (LB + RB / L1 + R1) to avoid the Regain stamina and keep your health. Perfectly coordinated dodging will slow down your opponents and allow you to do a few more licks before they recover. In addition, Fenyx has access to “divine powers” such as an arrow that can be controlled remotely, a massive hammer that inflicts area damage, high spikes that can be summoned from the ground, the ability to pull on or approach flying enemies turn invisible.

Having ideas is one thing, you have to carry them out. Immortal Fenyx Rising fights are generally boring, and only when you get caught up in boss fights do they prove to be more satisfying as they involve a little more strategy. But that too will turn red if the fights last too long because you settle into a loop. Recharge your special attack, use it, add light attack stitches, dodge incoming attacks and upgrade your special attack. Rinse and repeat. It’s exciting for a minute, but if I have to perform the same strategy for five minutes without stopping, you’ve lost my interest.

Immortal Fenyx Rising is also missing from execution with his second major attempt to differentiate himself from Breath of the Wild. In contrast to the Zelda game, Fenyx’s story opts for a light-hearted tone. Immortal Fenyx Rising endeavors to bring the fourth wall-breaking humor into the process with the help of the two immortal narrators Zeus (unreliable) and Prometheus (reliable). As an advocate of humanity, he believes in Fenyx, while Zeus has no patience for Prometheus’ story and lowers every obstacle on Fenyx’s path. Once, when Fenyx walks through a door, Zeus takes over the story and describes a monster as huge. The next moment, Prometheus sticks it to Zeus by changing the size of the monster. But the jokes are too much about similar traits, and the humor ends up feeling half-hearted.

However, the bigger problem with the non-player characters (NPCs) of Immortals Fenyx Rising is the general lack of these characters. Zeus and Prometheus are largely banished in votes. Four other gods – Aphrodite, Athena, Ares, and Hephaestus – play central roles in the narrative, but their presence is minimal. You are only involved at the beginning and at the end of a task. The only consistent NPC is Hermes, who goes along with the story and makes his snappy comments about the other gods. But in between all of that, you will spend several hours walking around and finding nothing that doesn’t want to kill you. Unlike Breath of the Wild, there are no outposts I came across and no other wandering NPCs you might come across. The world of the Immortals Fenyx Rising feels deserted and empty, like an elaborate stage made just for you.

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Fenyx and Hermes at Immortals Fenyx Rising
Photo credit: Ubisoft

Still, there is much to do in this world. As with Ubisoft Open World games, Immortal’s Fenyx Rising map is littered with side quests and activities. The game is based on the “shrines” of Breath of the Wild and contains Vaults of Tartarus, puzzles with which you can access currencies in the game, with which you can improve your stamina or weapons. I enjoyed most of them aside from the climbing restrictions that are in place in these vaults. Elsewhere there are a number of mythological challenges – they give you “Coins of Charon” that you can use to learn new skills and “divine powers” – these include rearranging paintings, navigating the map, steering an arrow through Maturing or listening to a melody and then recreating it somewhere else.

In fact, however, there is too much of everything, as is increasingly the case for most of Ubisoft’s open world games. This doesn’t apply to the side quests – every time you solve one, half a dozen more seem to pop up – but the main narrative as well. When Fenyx is asked to collect something, it becomes three things of the same kind. If you defeat a boss of some sort and are happy with you, Immortals Fenyx Rising notes that you will have to kill a few more to complete this side quest. The game is as clear as it was during the day. And sometimes you will be excluded from certain opportunities because you have not unlocked a required “divine power”. Immortal Fenyx Rising doesn’t tell you what that power is or where to earn it. It’s not very helpful and only adds to the annoyance.

And it’s not that you can choose to tackle just a few of each. Your character’s health, stamina, skills, and weapons are directly related to the in-game currencies earned by completing various types of side quests. You need Charon coins for your skills, Zeus’ Blitz to increase stamina, Ambrosia to improve your health, and shards of different colors to improve your weapons or potions. There are a total of 14 currencies in the game, 12 of which can be found in the open world. One of them just comes from coping with daily and weekly challenges. The last currency is bought with real money and used for micro-transaction-controlled currencies. Game store selling new cosmetics and horse companions. All upgrades require significant resources. This is Immortals Fenyx Rising’s way of getting you to do more quests.

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Aphrodite at Immortals Fenyx Rising
Photo credit: Ubisoft

It doesn’t help that the game doesn’t register the completion of a challenge unless you’ve specifically registered your interest beforehand. During a story mission, I met a boss character and defeated him. After completing the mission, I returned to my home base where I was given the opportunity to review the daily challenges. The boss turned out to be on the list, but I wasn’t eligible for the reward because I hadn’t signed up for it. If that is intentional design, it’s absurd. Hopefully this is a bug, not a feature. Speaking of bugs, I haven’t seen any during my time with Immortals Fenyx Rising, but the game crashed on me a couple of times and even restarted my Xbox when it crashed. The first instance took place before the first update and the other after the update.

Despite all the deserved flak that Immortals Fenyx Rising needs to deliver a brazen Zelda clone, the Ubisoft game deserves praise for implementing and even complimenting most of the ideas well. For example, you can heal Fenyx without diving into a menu. Gun durability isn’t an issue here either, which was a controversial inclusion in Breath of the Wild. In contrast to Link’s Hop, Fenyx can (at best) also jump and double jump. But the funny thing is that Immortals Fenyx Rising makes me want to visit Hyrule again. However, not everyone can do this because they don’t want to frolic on a console (one whose controllers have a drift problem that hasn’t been fixed) or because they live in countries like India where the Switch has never launched and has Nintendo no official presence.

For everyone, Immortals Fenyx Rising is a game to try out.

Benefits:

  • A fun adventure game
  • Puzzles are fun and fun
  • “Divine powers” are interesting
  • Fourth wall-breaking humor

Disadvantage:

  • Too much like Zelda
  • Game replenishment
  • Fight can become a duty
  • Lack of variety
  • Microtransactions
  • You need to pre-register for challenges

Rating (out of 10): 6

Gadgets 360 played Immortals Fenyx Rising on Xbox One X. The game will be available worldwide from December 3rd on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series S / X, Stadia and Amazon Luna.

It costs Rs. 3,999 up PlayStation Store, Rs. 4,024 on Microsoft Store, Rs. 2,999 on Epic Games Storeand € 60 (approximately Rs. 5,300) Ubisoft Store. You can also get Immortals Fenyx Rising as part of UPlay + (soon Ubisoft +) for 15 € (about 1,300 Rs.) per month.

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