Immortals Fenyx Rising could be described cruelly as ‘Assassin’s Creed for kids’. This would be unfair – as whilst it borrows an awful lot from Assassin’s Creed, it is a thoroughly enjoyable and vibrant game on its own.
Set in the age of the Greek Pantheon, you play Fenyx – the only surviving mortal after your kin are turned to stone as Typhon has broken free, and slain or captured a number of the Gods. Zeus seeks Prometheus’ help, however, Zeus has lost his lightning and Prometheus’ ability to see the future is also blocked by Typhon. How do they resolve this issue? Prometheus tells Zeus that it’s all down to Fenyx, and recounts the story of your journey.
Sounds good so far, but Zeus has a real attitude and no patience for Prometheus’ story-telling ability. The two bicker between them, and some of the dialogue is a bit painful, some of it is legitimately funny – how Zeus recounts some of his past blunders and refuses to accept that some things happen the way Prometheus tells the story – early on, Zeus is unimpressed with the scale of a boss battle, so Prometheus shrinks him to a tiny baby much to Fenyx’s amusement. It’s hard to describe what this dynamic is exactly (past tense, present tense?) but it works well and is a nice touch.
Akin to Assassin’s Creed, you start in a small area and the world opens up fairly quickly. There are towers to scale which unlock the map for certain areas, and the combat is lifted almost exactly from Assassin’s Creed – with considerably less depth in upgrading your character stats, but I found this more at my sort of level and I appreciated the simplicity, with enough choice to decide how you begin to build out your character abilities.
The first hour to hour-and-a-half has you get all of your equipment from various Gods. The final piece, Ikarus’ wings let you double jump and glide, unlocking the rest of the map to explore. This shows a false credits as Zeus calls time on the story, and the title screen as the prologue is complete – much to the dismay of Zeus who pokes fun at the recent Assassin’s Creed (whose title screen appears five hours in). Immortals is self-aware, and for every miss, there’s a hit or two, and it kept my interest high throughout.
A lot of comparisons have been made to Breath of the Wild, and it’s easy to see why. The game looks vibrant, cartoonishly similar to Zelda, with a number of similar mechanics. The climbing from Zelda is in here, as are ingredient collecting and recipe cooking in cauldrons (although it’s simple). There are Vaults to complete – each one containing puzzles and optional chests for you to complete. The puzzles are a big part of the game, and for the most part, I enjoyed them.
With some special bracelets that you pick up, you have the strength to lift and move various objects. Most puzzles involve putting objects on certain switches, or rolling balls to certain places to unlock the next piece of the puzzle. It’s not Zelda-levels of complexity and intricacy, but it’s a nice break in the action and there are some reasonable hints and assists in helping you complete them if you get stuck.
There’s a fair amount of customisation here too, with weapons and armour having different levels of protection and damage, as well as bonus benefits. My current armour gives me more damage if I complete a certain combo, and my arrows do more headshot damage – Apollo arrows are regenerating, and one cool feature is the ability to control the arrow in a third-person arrow following moment, letting you pull off some impressive finesse shots (and complete certain puzzles).
If you’re to dial it back to basics, Immortals is really about climbing statues to unlock the map, do a puzzle, fight some bad guys, repeat. But it’s fun, it’s bright, it’s colourful and it doesn’t overwhelm you – it’s sort of the perfect game for me. I like the references to Greek mythology, although the Western humour sometimes tries a bit too hard – Hermes is your initial supporting character, and he’s a bit of a dick. Still, it’s nice to see a humorous portal of this world – the last time I visited was with Kratos and that was a very different experience.
I think Immortals will appeal to both younger and older gamers alike – there’s enough to do here and a nicely balanced challenge that should make it accessible for everyone. It feels a bit short compared to it’s most obvious comparisons – not as deep or detailed as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and not as, ‘Nintendo’ as Zelda, but it’s exactly as good as I was expecting and hoping it would be, so it gets a hearty recommendation from me.
Reviewed on PS5