What do you get when the team that made Assassin’s Creed Odyssey creates a game inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Portal, and movies like The Princess Bride and The Naked Gun? The answer is Immortals Fenyx Rising, a lighthearted adventure steeped in Greek mythology, full of endearing characters, epic encounters, and creative puzzles.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is one of the year’s biggest surprises. It sees Ubisoft Quebec stretch its wings and soar to exciting heights. No longer bound by the lore and style of Ubisoft’s long-running Assassin’s Creed franchise, the studio inserts everything from massive puzzle rooms to humorous (and unreliable) narrators, all while delivering the rewarding exploration in a sprawling open world.
The world itself is gorgeous, drawing visual inspiration from Studio Ghibli’s watercolor aesthetic, and exploring it is an utter delight. Around every corner is a mountain to climb, a challenge to confront, a monster to battle, or a chest to loot.
If you’re looking to test your combat skills, Immortals more than has you covered, with corrupted versions of legendary heroes like Achilles and Herakles, as well as mythical versions of fearsome beasts like Medusa. Each of these encounters offers a unique challenge, using a stylish combat system based on developing skills and learning your foes’ offensive and defensive patterns.
Click image thumbnails to view larger version
Immortals’ exploration is enticing and the action is intense, but the puzzles are the most impressive part of the game. From timing-based physics problems to pressure-plate puzzles, the cleverly designed Vaults of Tartaros are enjoyable head-scratchers. However, the culmination of this challenge-room style comes to a head with God Vaults, expansive areas with several mini-puzzles that feed into one major one. Since the God Vaults often come at the end of the Greek deities’ story arcs, you gain keen insight into the minds of the gods, making them exciting from both a gameplay and narrative perspective.
Immortals Fenyx Rising may take inspiration from many different sources, but the result feels far from derivative. Greater than the sum of its parts, Immortals Fenyx Rising masterfully walks the tightrope of providing something familiar-yet-new. Its narrative stylings bring tense moments and exciting action while expertly weaving in an offbeat sense of humor.
By combining these seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive and enthralling open-world experience, Ubisoft successfully created yet another fun action franchise. With so many reasons to continue exploring, we couldn’t stop ourselves from diving back in to scour every corner of the Golden Isle for missions to complete, monsters to slay, and puzzles to solve.
Want to read more about the best games that 2020 had to offer? We’re counting down our Top 10 for the year, so navigate to another entry using the links below!