Long before I was a self-proclaimed video game nerd, I was a hardcore Greek mythology nerd. I spent countless hours reading the tales of heroes like Odysseus, Perseus, and Hercules, devouring their exploits against myriad memorable beasts. Even now, I’m working my way through my favorite tome, “D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths,” with my kids every night, hopefully passing my love of those timeless tales on to them (next up, Norse myths!). Over the years, my love of Greek mythology and video games has intersected many times to varying degrees of success.
The last great game I played that touched on tried and true Greek myths was Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which toyed with classic tropes and tales in some really fun ways. It looks like Ubisoft is taking some of what they learned in creating that game (as well as many of their other titles) and applying it to their latest action-adventure title, Immortals Fenyx Rising (originally announced at E3 2018 with the title Gods & Monsters).
I recently had a chance to go hands-on with Immortals Fenyx Rising and found it to be a enjoyably fun jaunt into the world of Greek mythology, blending legitimately funny humor, varied combat, and downright diabolical environmental puzzles.
The Story So Far…
Immortals takes place on the famed Golden Isle, which has fallen to the forces of the nefarious Titan Typhon. You see, Typhon has been freed from his eternal prison in Tartarus and seeks revenge on the gods who put him there, aiming to do so by destroying the veil that separates Tartarus from earth. You’ll play as Fenyx, a Greek warrior who’s been shipwrecked on the Golden Isle and is given godly powers and divine weapons by Zeus himself.
The World is Yours
The Golden Isle is broken up into a number of areas that you’ll need to explore and battle your way through to drive back the forces of Tartarus. I spent my time with the game in The Forgelands, with the goal of restarting the forge of Hephaestus to help aid the gods. The Forgelands featured a mix of grasslands and rocky volcanic areas, and while I spent a good chunk of my time navigating the area on my easily summonable horse, I also did a fair bit of climbing to high areas and leaping off. In mid-air, Fenyx is able to use the Wings of Daedalus to glide over long distances, provided your stamina doesn’t run out.
Hammer of the Gods
The first thing I had a chance to check out during my time with the game was the combat, which borrows heavily from the most recent Assassin’s Creed titles. The right bumper and right trigger perform standard light and heavy attacks, which build up special abilities that can be triggered with a combination of a left bumper hold and an A, B, X, or Y button press. This will allow you to perform powerful or fast attacks with legendary weapons like the Hammer of Hephaestus or the Axe of Atalanta. These abilities build up pretty quickly, so it pays to whip them out as often as possible.
The Bigger They Are…
After getting the forge of Hephaestus primed and ready to go, I had one more hurdle to face before I could get it up and running: a massive boss. As you play Immortals Fenyx Rising, you’ll come across many huge enemies with lots of health and challenging combat patterns (think Dark Souls with a lot less dying). You’ll run into cyclops, minotaurs, gorgons, and many more beasts of lore that exist solely to keep Fenyx from completing her quests. While the fights are challenging, completing them feels extremely rewarding.
Using Your Head
One of my favorite features in Immortals Fenyx Rising are the environmental puzzles that are spread through the world, many of which are based on Greek myths. Some of them require Fenyx to control arrows in mid-flight, while others call for more creative problem solving. In one, I had to recreate a constellation with a number of large stone balls, but I also had to use said balls to gain access to other ones. The most interesting of these puzzles can be found in the Vaults of Tartarus, which can be solved to give Fenyx a Bolt of Zeus, allowing her to upgrade her stamina. If you love environmental puzzles, this is the game for you.
Outside of the main quest, there are dozens of other activities spread around the world. Side quests, puzzle challenges, flight challenges, and sub-boss fights abound, ensuring you’ll always have something to do if you feel like taking a break from the main quest or building up your character a bit. From what I saw, it’s a nice balance of stuff and doesn’t seem like it will ever feel overwhelming like it does in many other open-world games.
My time with Immortals Fenyx Rising gave me a good taste of what the game will be like when it releases later this year, and I have to say that I’m really excited for this one. It features a really nice mix of combat and puzzles, all wrapped in an appealing visual style. You can be sure that we’ll be bringing you more on Immortals Fenyx Rising as we get closer to the game’s release on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S on December 3.
Immortals Fenyx Rising™