Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, Stadia, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
If you’re going to shamelessly copy gameplay, style, and art from a single game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a pretty darn good specimen to draw from. Immortals Fenyx Rising may be Ubsioft’s answer to Nintendo’s grand adventure, but also trims much of the fat of open world games, along with a humorous style that’s surprisingly charming.
Wrath of the Titan
Fenyx is the last survivor of a shipwreck on the Golden Isle. Everyone’s been turned to stone, while beasts and mythological creatures roam the land. It’s a cliché setting for an open world adventure, and Greek mythology has been heavily mined in gaming.
Yet Ubisoft surprises with genuinely funny dialogue and impressive knowledge of actual Greek history and myths. The story is narrated in tandem by Prometheus and Zeus as the former tells the latter of the heroic Fenyx and his or her (player’s choice) adventure to save the gods and defeat the titan, Typhon.
The two narrators bicker back and forth in a style that left me smiling rather than irritated. They interject just often enough to accompany my otherwise free-roaming adventure. I was less enthused with the sassy Hermes, your sole compatriot during the story, but thankfully he only crops up during main story moments.
Fenyx’s goal is to rescue and restore four gods from around the Golden Isle, with each god or goddess representing a different region. Regions are filled with fun little puzzles and challenges of a certain Zeldian flavor, such as firing arrows through hoops, moving blocks onto pressure plates, and discovering hidden passageways.
The most egregious Zelda-copy are the Tartarus Vaults, mini puzzle areas that function very similarly to Breath of the Wild’s shrines, and are just as satisfying to clear without being nearly as numerous.
Gifts of the Gods
By searching the world and completing challenges and vaults Fenyx can acquire currencies like Ambrosia, Zeus’ Lightning, and Charon’s Coins that extend her health and stamina and unlock new abilities. Fenyx has access to three weapons: sword, axe, and bow, with each providing some basic combo attacks, in addition to god powers that use stamina for big attacks, like summoning thrusting spears or charging forward with a shield.
Instead of worrying about weapon durability and constantly searching for random loot, different gear pieces add certain perks, like extra damage while in the air, or bonus damage during the first hit. I enjoyed this gear system much more than Breath of the Wild’s, with alternate skins for weapons and armor scattered in treasure chests.
Combat is combo-driven, with carefully timed parries and dodges to avoid enemy attacks. I unlocked an early ability to target enemies with my Herakles Gauntlets, allowing me to close in on flying enemies and stab them in mid-air. As much as I enjoyed the gliding and flight, I built my entire combat strategy around dealing more damage while in the air, supported by the occasional big smack down of Hephaestus’ Hammer.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is rated T for Teen. As much as I enjoyed the humorous dialogue between Zeus and Prometheus, it doesn’t shy away from the raunchier aspects of Greek Mythology. It’s a shame, as the gameplay itself is very kid-friendly (like Zelda!). But the dialogue is full of suggestive humor and innuendo, something to keep in mind for kids.
It’s impossible not to draw an intimate comparison between Immortals Fenyx Rising and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The writing and humor allow Ubisoft’s Zelda-clone to stand on its own, while the well-designed and colorful world kept me constantly exploring and distracted in the best ways. But the best part is completing a satisfying open world adventure in well under 50 hours – a rare gift from Olympus itself.