Immortals Fenyx Rising (Switch) early impressions
I’ve spent two days with Immortals Fenyx Rising so far, and in that time I’ve been chased by a minotaur into a chasm, rolled a gigantic pearl off a cliff to agitate the waves enough to birth a new Aphrodite, and heard Zeus get ravenously… “excited”, about just about every other god in Greek mythology. It’s a game that is almost begging for you to play it, drawing you in with each encounter, asking you to play for just 10 more minutes — before you realise it’s 5am and the sun’s about to rise and you’re still playing this silly little game.
Immortals Fenyx Rising used to be called Gods & Monsters whilst in development. That was a much better name, but it’s not the name it has now, so we just have to live with the fact that it has a considerably worse name and shorten it to Immortals. It’s a game made by Ubisoft Quebec, the studio that was responsible for the excellent (if slightly too long) Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. That was another game inspired by Greek mythology, and I guess Ubisoft Quebec wasn’t ready to say goodbye — but honestly, thank the gods they didn’t.
Immortals is a game that wears its mythology on its sleeve, it’s proud of the mythos it’s worked into its storytelling and world-building. Every aspect of Immortals is deeply bathed in it, from its characters — the always-horny Zeus, the stoic storyteller Prometheus, and the impatient trickster Hermes, amongst others, are all incredible — to its game mechanics. The sword you use to fight is that of the warrior-hero Achilles, the wings you glide with are from the great inventor Daedalus (most famous as the dude who made Icarus’ wings before the latter was an idiot and got himself killed), and the game’s challenge shrines are based on the vaults of Tartaros, not Tartarus, because the former is probably more accurate to its spelling and pronunciation. This is a game by folks who have done their research, a lot of it, and lovingly crammed every single piece of Greek mythology as they can into their game.
You might be tempted to call Immortals a clone of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And you know, that’s fair… to a degree. Yes, a lot of the open world mechanics are reminiscent of (or straight up are) mechanics in Breath of the Wild, and there’s a lot of space to draw comparisons. There’s a stamina bar for climbing, running, swimming and gliding, you upgrade your health with tokens you get from completing
shrines vaults, you get a moment of slowdown when you perfectly dodge or parry an enemy attack.
But this is AAA gaming, nothing is original, everything is inspired by something, and what makes games great is what they do differently, not what they do the same. Immortals does a lot differently; weapons don’t break with the slightest breeze, and instead each have unique, upgradeable skills that encourage you to experiment with new and different setups. You have a littany of skills to collect and experiment with in battle, a dope pet phoenix you can sic on enemies, and a magical flying arrow you can control after it’s left your bow. All of these mechanics, and many many more, are what makes Immortals stand on its own. Even if you stripped back the features you might associate with Breath of the Wild, you’d still have a fantastic game — that those BotW-style features are present too is just icing on the cake.
It also runs pretty respectably on Switch, for those wondering. It’s a bit fuzzy in handheld, running at 30fps, and there’s a pink mist hiding the limited draw distance at times, but it’s a heavily stylised game, and that helps it get away with not being quite as technically impressive as it perhaps is on other systems. I’ve not experienced any major frame drops, screen tears, or major bugs so far in my 16ish hours with the game so far.
I’ll have a lot more to say about Immortals Fenyx Rising in my full review, but so far, I can pretty confidently say that if you’re on the fence, it’s probably worth giving it a go.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is available now for the Nintendo Switch. If you’re interested, click here to find the best deals available in Australia.