After Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion Ubisoft closes its releases of this strange 2020 with its third open world in a few weeks, Immortals Fenyx Rising. Unlike the first two however, the French publisher experiments with Fenyx one new IP, which even if at first glance it might seem a simple reinterpretation of past titles (Zelda Breath of the Wild first of all), actually proves to have a soul and a style of its own, able to reformulate and make more playful than ever the now well-established formula of the open world that has so depopulated in the just finished eighth generation of consoles.
With Immortals Fenyx Rising Ubisoft in fact significantly deviates from the boundless maps often semi-empty and dispersive present in the mainstream current of the Triple A open world, proposing a decidedly more concentrated and dense formula, thanks also to the smaller dimensions of the game world. However, this does not mean that in the mythological adventure of Fenyx there is little to do, indeed (and in this the title takes up one of the best features of the aforementioned Zelda) every corner of the map game makes sense, with some activity nearby, a hidden chest or a puzzle to solve to find a secret.
The universe created by Ubisoft for Immortals Fenyx Rising is freely inspired by tales of epic and Greek mythology, nevertheless telling the stories of the various characters, even the most tragic ones, with a constant spirit of self-irony. In doing so the myths are never really ridiculed and indeed the writing of the characters and the plot is entrusted to Jeffrey Yohalem (Far Cry 3, Child of Light) demonstrates the deep study and respect for the mythology behind the making of the video game. After a short prologue in which we are given the possibility to customize the external appearance of Fenyx, the player is immediately catapulted into the open world represented by theGolden Island, divided into seven regions, each inspired by a deity of the Hellenic pantheon. The two off-screen narrators of the events of Fenyx are Zeus and Prometheus, who in stark contrast to each other, are ready to comment and argue in a light-hearted manner on every action and dialogue that our heroine (or hero) performs during our epic mission in to defeat Typhoon. The brutal Titan managed to free himself from the mountain in which he was imprisoned by the father of all gods and, thirsty for revenge against Olympus, stole the essences (and therefore the powers) of the inhabitants of the sacred mountain, bringing chaos and destruction to the island. In an adventure worthy of Homeric poems, our task is therefore to defeat the mighty Titan, but not before having obtained the blessings of as many as possible, restoring their original bodies to them.
The fulcrum of the writing of Immortals Fenyx therefore lies precisely in the balance between seriousness and humor, carried forward throughout the narrative. Although in fact in the first minutes of the game the constant presence of jokes (sometimes even slightly cringe) may slightly disorient the more adult player, once you get into the somewhat "Dreamworks" mood that Ubisoft Quebec wants to convey, the constant interruptions of Zeus and Prometheus during exploration turn out to be real gems on the tales of Greek epic.
Fun gameplay in every aspect
I am not exaggerating to say that the real protagonist of Immortals Fenyx Rising is not our heroine, but the splendid map of the Golden Island itself. The game world is indeed extremely denso of points of interest and having fun finding as many secrets and prizes as possible becomes a game within the game itself. Immortals Fenyx absolutely does not aim at a historical / realistic representation like that of Assassin's Creed and therefore all the elements of the gameplay, from the movements of the character up to combat system, are interpreted in an extremely playful and quick intuition way, but none the less they are less fun. The Isle of Gold is certainly not Hyrule, and although some mechanisms familiar to those who have played the last major chapter of Zelda, such as the bunting while climbing or gliding, are taken up by the work of Ubisoft, the different challenges and optional activities, such as the Mosaic trials or the challenges with the Odysseus arch, are real original minigames which provide unique and satisfying rewards for their completion. Even the Crypts of Tartarus, considered by some to be mere copies of the Zelda Shrines, provide sometimes genuinely challenging environmental puzzles. The physics engine so thorough in Breath of the Wild is also not present here and therefore the challenges in the Crypts often turn out to be much more focused on platforming skills or in any case in decidedly tests. more arcade compared to mechanics already seen in the past.
Therefore, we cannot absolutely speak of Ubisoft Quebec plagiarism in these situations, because although the studio has drawn inspiration from what are mechanics already seen in the past, it has also been able to wisely reinterpret and make the latter its own, creating a whole new mix is never banal, capable of surprising both the newest and the most experienced players in an absolutely genuine way. Last gem of necessary mention for the Crypts of Tartarus is that of hidden chests in the latter. In each of these small dungeons there is in fact an extra reward, generally represented by special equipment, in addition to the main puzzle to solve the Crypt. In doing so, therefore, Immortals Fenyx stimulates the user to constantly think "outside the box" of the proposed riddle, so as to be able to access a reward guaranteed only to the most attentive players.
Immortals Fenyx Rising's combat system is a consistent reflection of what Ubisoft proposes to be, genuine fun without too many pretensions - Fenyx has all the classic elements action in the third person: light attacks, heavy attacks, dodges, parries and various and possible abilities. However, as much as the title wants and manages to be simplistic in its basic mechanics, encounters with enemies are never entirely trivial. In fact, especially when we are surrounded by enemies of different types that attack all together, it is up to the player's ability to choose which target to eliminate first and with which moves, which attack to parry, which one to dodge, and so on. Immortals Fenyx certainly is not a title made to have a high stage of complexity, however the existence of multiple levels of difficulties, which can be modified at any time from the pause menu, which also apply restrictions for example to the regeneration of health as well as making enemies more dangerous, can definitely raise the level of the challenge for the most hardcore players.
The component ruolistica character enhancement as long as present, does not require extreme farming of any kind in any way. This also applies to equipment, extremely balanced in upgrade mechanics. Unlike other titles of the same genre in fact in Immortals Fenyx Rising it is not possible to enhance the single sword or armor, but only the category in question. In doing so, the basic statistics they are the same for all weapons and protections, but nevertheless each equipment has a specific passive: such as more damage in the combo areas, or health recovery with each hit, and so on. In this way, the discovery of hidden chests (such as those mentioned above in the Crypts) becomes even more exciting, since every weapon just found will have the statistics of those we already have, and therefore there is no need to invest additional resources in upgrading it, however its passive could be more inclined to our play style, allowing us the possibility to constantly change equipment without having the regret of having wasted the resources invested in upgrading pieces of equipment found previously, since the level-ups are shared by the same category.
A clean and well-kept title also in the technical sector
Last but not least, the technical sector also manages to have its say in this small cross-gen pearl from Ubisoft. In fact, despite the style cartoonish by Immortals Fenyx Rising, il proprietary graphics engine by Ubisoft, the Anvil 2.0 (the same as in Valhalla), makes an excellent figure especially in particle and light effects even on old-gen. Each region of the Golden Isle has decidedly varied and different environments, which reflect the specific personality of the god of that area, and although the super-defined textures and the brute graphic power are not the pillars of the title, glide above the colorful landscapes of Immortal Fenyx however offers a more than satisfactory glance. Surprisingly also, this title manages to break one of the less positive but almost omnipresent traditions in Ubisoft's open worlds. In my several tens of hours of play I have not in fact found no bugs of any kind, on the contrary instead of what happened to me a few weeks ago with Valhalla (which even went so far as to bribe my bailouts by myself).
In conclusion, Immortals Fenyx Rising is without a doubt one of the products more successful of Ubisoft in recent years, a sign that the French publisher can still dare with new IPs that reshuffle the cards on the table compared to the now well-established formula of the open world. Of course, simply seeing a few trailers the Fenyx adventure might seem extremely derivative from past products and though partly this is true, this video game pad in the hand is also much more. In fact, the open world does not necessarily have to be synonymous with disproportionate size and therefore dispersiveness, and this project by Ubisoft Quebec fully demonstrates it. The Golden Island is in fact the true protagonist of the game, making the concepts of freedom and exploration take on an exquisitely playful meaning in this colorful and light-hearted open world populated by gods and monsters.