To this point, Immortals Fenyx Rising has been a story about a new hero named Fenyx, who ventures through the world of the Greek gods. For the game's second DLC expansion, however, the story has changed completely. The game is still Immortals Fenyx Rising, but this specific story no longer centers around Fenyx or the Greek gods. Instead, the Myths of the Eastern Realm DLC introduces players to the entirely new (and heavily underexplored) world of Chinese mythology. Even developer Ubisoft Quebec has stepped to the side to give the team at Ubisoft Chengdu an opportunity to tell this tale. At the end of the day, though, the final result is still very much Immortals, for better or worse.
A new hero rises
Those looking for any sort of continuation of Fenyx's story will be surprised to see that upon booting up Myths of the Eastern Realm, a whole new story begins. Players are taken into a realm of different gods, many of whom have gone missing. A mysterious force called the Scar is throwing off the balance between Heaven and Earth and leaving the world in chaos. The realm's gods have gone missing. One lone human remains, who finds the rest of the realm's humans turned to stone.
Yes, this is a "stop me if you've heard this before" kind of situation. Players are introduced to a new hero named Ku, which would seemingly open the door to flesh out a never-before-seen protagonist. However, Ku's quest is nearly identical to that of predecessor Fenyx. Ku's fellow warriors are now stone, he has to find missing gods, he has to uncover "new" powers along the way ("new" in the sense that they're essentially reskins of Fenyx's existing abilities), and he has to stand against the evil forces behind what's happening. It's basically the same story as the main campaign, only with an Eastern coat of paint. Even the gods that Ku encounters quickly become quip machines, much like the Greek pantheon.
There are a few minor differences present. Back in our original Immortals Fenyx Rising review, I noted how unnecessary the character creator was, stating that the story would have been served better with an established character rather than a blank avatar. Ubisoft Chengdu apparently thought the same thing, because the Ku you see is the Ku you get. That gave me a greater sense of attachment to the character and a desire to see him grow.
The other bigger difference is that because Myths of the Eastern Realm is an expansion DLC, the story is much more streamlined. There are fewer side quests and less filler cutscenes, meaning players can get to the point a lot faster.
New hero, same setting
One would think that Myths of the Eastern Realm's new story and new cast of characters would lead to some new gameplay experiences. That's true to a certain extent. Ubisoft Chengdu utilizes some interesting new puzzle ideas. For example, the Morph Cube is a box that changes size whenever it gets hit, while cloud platforms can be sent in different directions depending on how players can direct wind gusts.
Unfortunately, there's something that stands out when Ku starts his adventure and takes a grand look at the open world before him. It's basically the same world from the main campaign. The layouts are mostly the same, the enemies are basically the same, and even the color palettes are the same. There's nothing different about this open world.
What's particularly disappointing about this is that this expansion shines when it dares to explore something new. It's genuinely interesting to hear the stories of the Chinese gods and some of the myths tied to them. The Ruins of Heaven are very similarly structured to the Vaults of Tartaros from the main campaign, but the artistic motif is more visually pleasing than the overwhelming purple hues from the main story's Vaults. Unfortunately, the Ruins and their puzzles are the only gameplay elements that feel worthwhile. The combat and the overworld aren't poorly implemented by any means, but given the story that's being told and the characters being introduced, it feels like there's more that could have been done with this.
Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm is a bold experiment on Ubisoft's part. It doesn't go quite as far as it could go, given how different this story is from the core campaign. However, at worst, it's another eight or so hours of Immortals gameplay and the new characters are worth meeting. One thing I will say is that Ubisoft Chengdu proves with this expansion that they're capable of telling a cool story. I'd love to see them revisit this idea in the future and explore this mythology in a much grander way.
These impressions were based on a PC digital code provided by the publisher. Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm is available now on the Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Connect, the PlayStation Store, the Microsoft Store, and the Nintendo eShop as part of the $39.99 Season Pass. The game is rated T.