Immortals Fenyx Rising, formerly known as Gods and Monsters, is the latest out of lead Assassin's Creed Odyssey developer Ubisoft Quebec. Despite sharing the same mythology as the Greek AC game, it's markedly different in tone. Indeed, perhaps the one thing players will realize if they hadn't been keeping up with it before is that Immortals Fenyx Rising is, first and foremost, a satirical game.
This applies to everything from the Greek pantheon of Gods to Ubisoft itself, with the story being told from a narrative framed in a discussion between Zeus and Prometheus. What this means for players is that Zeus laughs about everything, at least for the most part, and there are "dad jokes" aplenty. Tales are retold in ludicrous and hilarious ways, but it's not just this Greek storytelling in Immortals Fenyx Rising that is used for laughs.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a game that wears its inspirations on its sleeves and it's no surprise that it comes from the same studio that made Assassin's Creed Odyssey. There are mockings of Ubisoft as a company, of the Assassin's Creed franchise's leap of faith, and even of the bird companions that join Assassin's Creed's most recent protagonists in action. Players may even notice that the UI of the Immortals Fenyx Rising is similar to Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and players will spend a lot of time climbing large statues as if this were an AC game. There is an undeniable quality that links the two, even if the games are drastically different.
Underneath the satirical moments, however, is what all good satire accomplishes: a potent message. Immortals Fenyx Rising may seem like a game focused on bawdy, toilet humor—and it is—but it manages to tell a compelling story about families, strained parent-child relationships, self-growth, self-acceptance, and all the tiny imperfections that make someone unique. These moments, which are scattered and serve as a slow burn in terms of storytelling, help ultimately define what the game is about, and that's a seemingly ordinary person rising to greatness. There are moments where the line between the serious and the satirical become muddied and moments where one directly undercuts the other, but there is no denying that there is a great story beneath the surface.
For the most part, players can expect the typical Ubisoft formula in terms of gameplay. The world of Immortals Fenyx Rising (aka the Golden Isles) is littered with collectibles, quests, enemies, and more that players can take on at their leisure as they cross from area to area. Another game that Immortals Fenyx Rising has been compared to is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and indeed, it seems that game has been crossed over into the typical Ubisoft formula. Players must manage stamina as they engage in combat and exploration, players have wings with which to glide around the world, and more that really combine the two's DNA.
There is the question of how well Immortals Fenyx Rising utilizes this DNA, though, as the stamina doesn't really limit or control a player's ability to engage in combat or explore the world. At times, the stamina gauge feels like an arbitrary addition whose limitations feel more binary. In combat, running out of stamina doesn't do much more than limit the use of abilities until it is restored, and ultimately, any comparison made to Breath of the Wild is only skin deep.
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