Immortals Fenyx Rising Review (Switch)
Immortals Fenyx Rising (aka Gods and Monsters) was originally announced at E3 2019 and instantly drew comparisons to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, rightfully so. The game is now officially launching on Dec 3, 2020, for basically every current console and PC. I had the opportunity to review the Switch version of the game, which I was interested in seeing how well another company can pull off a BOTW type game on a Nintendo console. But before we get into that let’s talk about what the game is all about.
In this game, you take on the role of Fenyx, a new demi-god, on a mission to take down the almighty monster Typhon, who is out for revenge after he was banished by Zeus and the other Greek gods to Tartaros. Typhon defeated most of the other gods leaving the fate of the world in the hands of this unknown soldier who is assisted by Hermes among many others to “Power up” and take arms against Typhon. The game takes on an extremely silly tone by being narrated along the way by Prometheus telling the tale and Zeus who is there for color and offbeat jokes about being drunk and some misunderstanding about how Aphrodite was born (go look it up people if you don’t know), which kind of caught me off guard. I wasn’t quite expecting the game to be an Animaniacs version of a Zelda kind of game.
So let’s talk about that more, if you aren’t familiar with how the game plays it’s an open world adventure game where the map is fully available to you right from the start. You can traverse the lands via quick travel to points of interest once unlocked, on foot, on one of the various mounts you can unlock, and also using your wings (once you get them). You have multiple forms of combat be it utilizing the powers of the gods (similar to the runes in Zelda), your sword attacks (light attack), your Axe or Hammer attacks (heavy), and of course a bow and arrow approach. Combat and traversal to me actually felt more akin to something from Darksiders. All presented in a very colorful, vibrant, and funny delivery much like Hercules from Disney. The game is definitely a mish-mash of a lot of other things but honestly is executed very well. The game has you go on various main and side missions either collecting items, helping gods or banishing Typhon and his Shades while exploring Vaults (aka temples ala BOTW again) to gain loot or Zeus lightning all used to upgrade your character.
There are MANY customization options and cosmetics to unlock and use in this game. The armor, helmets, and weapons are all similar to the Spider-man games from Sony, so they all have different perks and abilities, perhaps 30% more damage with light attacks or something and a look to go with that armor piece. However, you can mix and match all perks with any visual combo you want. So once you find an aesthetic you really like you can apply new perks to it and keep your same visual if you prefer, which is cool and another inspired touch to the game. Customization options are plentiful in the game for both male and female options that can be changed from the Hall of the Gods at any point in the game. Think of Hall of the Gods as your home base which features your crafting, customization, upgrade stations. The famous stamina meter rears its ugly head in this game as well but if far less cumbersome to me than it was in Zelda for sure.
The voice acting as mentioned before is very humorous and quirky, but all very well done overall with Greek accents and nice delivery. I particularly enjoy actually the voice acting in Typhon as one of my favorites. The narration by Prometheus and Zeus is well done and extremely silly throughout the game (there is a lot of talking) but I had to be in the mood for it. It’s hard playing BOTW, or an Assasins Creed game, and then this, as its tone is VERY different despite being similar in gameplay. The music was done by Gareth Coker, who is well known for his work on the Ori series of games. Of course, the sound and music are what you would expect from an Ancient Greek game featuring authentic instruments from the region to really nail down the theming of the game.
Now to be completely transparent, where this game goes south a little bit for me on the Nintendo Switch, is visuals and performance. While if you have seen any of the marketing of the game you have no doubt seen how vibrant and beautiful this landscape is. For you Switch owners, get that idea out of your head right now. The textures are severely lacking in comparison to the other consoles (not just Series X and PS5 either) and a lot of the world is muddied a bit by fog-like appearance. This is no doubt done to make the game operate better on the Switch. So unfortunately this is is something you’d need to give up for the luxury of being able to play on the go. When I first started playing this there were a lot of gameplay issues, chugging, low FPS, glitching, and the like. But there was a patch that came out on Friday for those of us being able to review the game, that helped smooth over all of the gameplay issues I was experiencing. Nothing for the textures, and the muddied look of course but everything else was improved which made it much easier to forgive the other issues to be able to play this thing handheld wherever I wanted to.
Overall, I think Immortals Fenyx Rising is a very well done game that I hope a lot of players get to experience and enjoy. This holiday season has been VERY crowded with games including two others from the same studio (Watchdogs Legion and Assassins Creed Valhalla) that I hope this one doesn’t fall through the cracks. What started as a Breath of the Wild clone as many called it, really turned it into something that can stand on its own. Great story (that they could continue in a franchise is desired), great music, and taking inspiration from many other great games of the last generation to morph it into something light-hearted and fun. Not every game needs to rack up a body count, be uber-violent and dark… Immortals Fenyx Rising is just the escape I needed this holiday season. I would suggest though for a better experience if you have the ability to, play it on a different console for better visuals/performance.