"The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" was such a ground-breaking game that it would eventually inspire others. The open-world adventure mixed physics-based puzzles to create an immersive experience, where players had a visceral connection to the villages, plains, dungeons, rivers and mountains.
It took a few years, but "Breath of the Wild"-inspired games are beginning to emerge out of the woodwork. Players saw a glimpse of that with "Genshin Impact" and they'll see more of that with "Immortals Fenyx Rising."
Nee "Gods & Monsters," the action-adventure title from Ubisoft Quebec follows the title character as she battles to save the Greek gods from Typhon, a powerful titan who has escaped Tartarus. At first glance, the "Breath of the Wild" influence shines through. The world and enemies have an exaggerated cartoonish look. Massive statues rise from the ground. Enormous temples are shaped like factories or reinforce the theme of each land.
A HERO ARMED BY GREEK MYTHOLOGY
As the lore implies, "Immortals Fenyx Rising" is heavily influenced by Greek mythology. Fenyx, a winged demigod, has weapons such as the bow of Odysseus, sword of Achilles and Hammer of Haephestus. She can summon a horse at any time or glide through the air with Daidalos wings. It feels like ideas from "Assassin's Creed Odyssey" bled over to this adventure, but the emphasis has turned to over-the-top combat, puzzle solving and humor.
When exploring the large world of the Golden Isle, one of the first things I did was pick a fight. I dropped in on enemies guarding a portal to a Vault of Tartarus. Unlike "Breath of the Wild," "Immortals "Fenyx Rising" uses light and heavy attacks tied to the shoulder buttons and geared toward combo-centric approach. Players can juggle enemies in the air. They can use a grab ability to pull Fenyx up to flying enemies so she can attack them midair. Dodging at the right time will slow the world into a bullet time and Fenyx slash away at slower foes.
On top of that, she has god attacks like the Hammer of Haephestus and Spears of Ares that deal massive damage over a wide area. They are also effective against certain enemy types. For example, the spear can dizzy adversaries that use shields. All of this creates a combat system that feels like a slower, low-key version of a Platinum Games project.
STAMINA IS KEY
Of course, the big limiter is stamina. It's a finite resource that regenerates over time and limits a lot of what Fenyx can do. She can only throw out so many Hammers of Haephestus before she tires and that means players can't spam that out in combat. When it comes to gliding, she can't soar across the map in one go because the Daidalos wings deplete stamina over time. Much like "Breath of the Wild," Fenyx also can't spend all her time climbing cliff faces because of the stamina meter.
After dispatching my foes, I jumped into a portal to Tartarus. These are enormous puzzle rooms similar to the shrines in "Breath of the Wild." They often have themes. I went into one focused on pinball. Another one tested my ability to hit targets with a bow and arrow. These portals taught me the language of the puzzles and level design. It showed me what to look out for or what object can be manipulated.