Immortals Fenyx Rising has proven to be one of Ubisoft's most interesting new projects. Over the course of the past few months, players have familiarized themselves with title character Fenyx and their world of Greek gods and monsters. While the base story contained a full adventure, the DLC stories have put forward some ambitious ideas, taking players to new locations, new settings, and introducing new characters. The DLC train is ending with The Lost Gods, which looks to tie up Fenyx's story. While Ubisoft Quebec has once again presented some new ideas, they don't wind up working as well in practice.
The rest of the cast
After taking a brief sidestep into the Eastern realm, The Lost Gods returns to telling Fenyx's story and follows up on the events of A New God. Fenyx's journey has come full circle and, instead of being the mortal guided by gods, they are now the god guiding the mortal. Players aren't controlling Fenyx so much as they're controlling a new character, a mortal named Ash. Ash is tasked with finding a group of missing gods who walked away from Zeus during the Typhon battle, which involves journeying around an unexplored series of islands.
On the surface, this looks to be more of the fun Immortals formula that we enjoyed in our initial review. The islands contain various points of interest, side puzzles, hidden grottos, and treasure chests. Over the course of the adventure, players will meet an entirely new quirky set of gods. They're every bit as quip-heavy as the last batch of gods and are all fun characters in themselves. Athena also keeps the mood light, guiding Ash in her owl form. I also like the flipped dynamic with Fenyx, where now she's in the old Zeus role, while Ash acts as the plucky hero in the old Fenyx role. The key difference there is, Ash watches over old statues. Unlike Fenyx, she's not a warrior, which makes her character arc a lot more interesting.
If this were all presented in the same manner as the main Immortals story, everything would be great. Unfortunately, it isn't.
What's striking about The Lost Gods is that many of the main Immortals mechanics are in place, however the DLC adventure as a whole is presented differently and those differences aren't necessarily for the better. Rather than play as a behind-the-shoulder third-person adventure, The Lost Gods instead uses an overhead camera. That makes it more comparable to a dungeon crawler like Diablo or Hades. It's a perfectly acceptable stylistic choice, however, players are also expected to run through the islands like they would in the main Immortals campaign. Exploration in the style of the main campaign and this stylistic camera choice are not compatible, because the camera is fixed. That means the camera is often blocking your view when you're trying to explore different areas, climb walls, or fight enemies. As you try to run through the DLC's version of the Vaults of Tartaros, the camera will prove to be your most annoying enemy, as it constantly gets in the way during puzzles.
Resource gathering is more critical than ever, because Ash's abilities are now tied to some new ideas. In addition to unlocking the Godly Powers from the original campaign, they can now be upgraded with various Essences collected from fallen enemies and bosses. The Essences can bolster the Godly Powers to offer various buffs, which means players can put together more unique character builds than what was originally possible in the main story. In that sense, resource gathering is cool.
Where resource gathering is not cool is that they're often needed to help Fenyx perform "miracles" to move Ash's quest forward. These resources can only be used at altars, which are spread across the islands. The resources are hard enough to find that searching for them feels like busy work, artificially padding the campaign. What's worse, the altars act as the only way to save your progress. That's right, the ability to manually save your progress through the pause menu is gone. Woe to anybody who puts in the work to gather a bunch of necessary items only to either suffer a GPU crash or accidentally quit out, because your progress is not automatically saved anymore. It's a baffling quality-of-life choice, one that doesn't do this DLC any favors.
The other major change is that The Lost Gods, outside of a few instances, has almost no cutscenes. The story is told with dialogue windows and voice acting. While this may be a product of working in the current COVID-19 pandemic, going from the fully rendered cutscenes of the main story to static dialogue windows made the whole thing feel a lot less epic.
Demaking a hero
I can admire Ubisoft Quebec making a sincere effort to make The Lost Gods feel like something different from the main campaign and the other DLCs that followed it. The story, in particular, was captivating and tied up Fenyx's story nicely. Unfortunately, the manner in which it's presented feels like a noticeable downgrade compared to what came before. This almost played like an Immortals demake. Demakes, in themselves, are not a bad thing, but if they take away major elements like free camera movement or the ability to save anywhere, they're not so great.
Still, if you've been on the Immortals train to this point and want to see how the story truly ends, The Lost Gods is worth a playthrough. It's hard to imagine putting in more than the bare minimum, but if you've pushed the rock uphill before, you might as well make like Sisyphus and push it up one more time.
These impressions were based on a PC digital code provided by the publisher. Immortals Fenyx Rising: The Lost Gods will be available on the Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Connect, the PlayStation Store, the Microsoft Store, and the Nintendo eShop on Thursday, April 22 as part of the $39.99 Season Pass. The game is rated T.
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