Note: Thanks to Ubisoft for providing a Review copy of the game. We played on a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode (other versions are available).
Part of making any Assassin’s Creed game is learning about the history and culture of that time and place. For Assassin’s Creed Odyssey this was, of course, Greece.
As we all know you can’t learn about Greek history without getting a big dollop of Greek Mythology thrown in. Even though the Mythology wasn’t the right fit for the story being told in Odyssey, the team still delved in deep.
So, after the team at Ubisoft Quebec wrapped production on the critically acclaimed AC Odyssey. They found that they had lots of stories, with all these great characters and tales from Greek Mythology, left to tell.
When we spoke with Game Director Scott Phillips a few weeks ago he told us about a weird glitch they came across in AC Odyssey, that turned NPCs into giant cyclops. The moment they saw it they knew they wanted to do something in this space.
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Fenyx Rising is a big departure from the Assassin’s Creed franchise, but after the success the studio had with Odyssey (one of the best games in the series) Ubisoft greenlit the move to create a bold new IP that is very different from what we have come to expect.
But, it was a move that paid off, because Immortals Fenyx Rising is a blast to play. If I was to use one word to sum it up, that word would be FUN!.
The gameplay is relaxing, it never gets very challenging but I wouldn’t call it easy either. It is enough to keep you thinking while you flow through the game at a nice pace. There is no tension, no annoying parts, no annoying characters or mechanics. It is just a really good video game to escape into.
Time for Fun:
Where Fenyx Rising really stands out, is in the humour of its writing. Helped a great deal with excellent voice work that ensures the jokes land and the result is a game that is hilarious.
It is narrated in a very clever way. It is essentially Prometheus telling Zeus the story of Fenyx, but as this is a pair of bickering old men, with a lot of history between them, it isn’t your normal tale.
The devs had a lot of fun with it. The two interrupt each other, mock each other, poke fun, break the fourth wall, and alter the story as they go. One such example: At one point you jump into a hole and Zeus says “ah that’s it she died”. The game cuts to the end credits! After about a minute Prometheus interrupts, bring you back, and carries on.
It works really well and is one of the reasons I kept playing long past where most open-world games might have lost their appeal.
After years trapped under a mountain by Zeus, Typhon has escaped and is reaping his revenge on mortal and Gods alike. You play as Fenyx (a mere mortal) the unlikely hero who will go on an epic adventure, learn new skills, meet great characters and battle their way to becoming the legend of Prometheus’s story.
It is your standard open-world game where you are given a certain amount of freedom to explore and do side quests before being pushed along the story. Sections are broken up with puzzles, as mentioned above there’s nothing too tasking, but it is a nice break from the normal gameplay.
Perhaps, if I was to find one fault with the game. It would be the puzzle sections. I found them fine at the time, but looking back they could have been a little bit more inventive. With most falling into a tried and tested “put the heavy thing on the switch to open the door” category.
Movement is great, getting around the world, collecting items, climbing up cliffs and combat are all well executed. Much like Breath of the Wild you have a stamina bar that stops you climbing and flying too far. And again much like BOTW, you can top it up by eating mushrooms and other potions.
It will be almost impossible to not draw parallels to Breath of the Wild so let’s address it here. The Art style, the mechanics (like stamina and gliding), getting around the world, collecting items, the puzzles draw a lot from BOTW, While it does share a lot, Fenyx still manages to stand on its own. The story is better, the characters you meet and the enemies you fight are much more interesting.
The big draw for Fenyx is that it is fun to play. The gameplay isn’t too challenging, the characters are likeable, and the writing is funny. It is the kind of game you can throw on and get lost in for hours without it outstaying its welcome.
The quality is outstanding, I can’t remember seeing a single impacting bug. Or at least any that took me away from the game. We played on Nintendo Switch, and it runs really well. It is also available (in true Ubisoft fashion almost everywhere you can play games). PS4/5, Xbox One/X|S, Stadia, and PC.
Make sure you pick this one up. It is one of the hidden gems from this busy period that I can recommend to almost everyone.
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