Previews

Weekend at Circe’s — Immortals Fenyx Rising Stadia demo preview

I’m not really into the AAA gaming scene, but when a game catches my eye I usually want to check it out. When Immortals Fenyx Rising debuted as Gods & Monster last year, I was intrigued to see what Ubisoft Quebec would do with a lighthearted take on Greek mythology. I had the opportunity to check out an early demo on Google Stadia (this small slice is available exclusively on the platform), and was impressed with how fun the game was.

The Immortals Fenyx Rising demo opens with Prometheus, chained to a rock and freezing half to death, retelling the story of Greek mythology. Zeus, being the impatient raucous god that he is, interrupts and tells a story of his own. He takes creative liberties with the tale and plops our protagonist Fenyx into the setting as she needs to unfreeze the cyclops Polyphemos that has been cursed by Circe. Prometheus argues that Circe doesn’t have ice powers, and Zeus counters saying that it’s icy powers, not ice powers.

It’s here that Prometheus challenges Zeus to a bet; if he can’t tell a story with a historical truth, then he will give Prometheus a fruit of Gaia. Right off the bat, I laughed at the frat boy personality that Zeus has in this game, and it’s a breath of fresh air from the mostly serious competition. As Zeus says himself, the game is not aiming for historical accuracy, and I enjoyed the fun conversations between Prometheus and Zeus.

From the outset, we’re given free rein to explore the Island of the Sirens. Fenyx can use the Wings of Daidalos to run faster and jump to new heights. Herakle’s Bracers will allow her to lift heavy objects, which assists us during a puzzle section where we have to carry orbs to a puzzle field. She can also use godly powers that use stamina, from a powered-up hammer attack to charged arrows. While it wasn’t explored fully in the demo, you can explore the land in order to obtain ingredients to craft potions which will help you. You can visit a Cauldron of Circe in order to do so, and I imagine later in the game you’ll be able to make potions which require more than one ingredient.

If you’re reading this and thinking about Breath of the Wild (or more recently, Genshin Impact), let me assure you: Yes, it’s totally reminiscent of those games. That said, there’s a unique identity with Immortals Fenyx Rising and I enjoyed my time gliding in the air with the Wings of Daidalos. (Seriously, I just spent a few minutes aimlessly gliding because of how slick it felt). Stamina is a big factor in chaining attacks or defensive maneuvers, and unless you use your stamina potions you’ll need to either hide and look for cover or perfectly dodge in order to regain lost stamina. The fact that the game rewards both playstyles means there’s some versatility to how you can approach the game’s tasks. The half-hour demo finishes up with a fight against Polyphemos, which was an enjoyable little fight (if a bit predictable in terms of the attack and dodge patterns). The improvised dialogue that Zeus provides was a humorous little aspect that I enjoyed here.

At the end of the day, the fun writing between Zeus and Prometheus carries the game forward, and the end of the demo teases at something sinister afoot (and poor Prometheus doesn’t even get the fruit of Gaia as a reward). The performance on Stadia was also solid enough, although there were a few instances where input lag did cause Fenyx to run around the battlefield. The graphics look great even on a laptop, and the stylistic cartoony style gives this game a different look compared to its competition. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Immortals Fenyx Rising when it gets released next month, but for Stadia users you can play the demo and get an exclusive armor set once you finish it. Stay tuned for more news here on Gaming Trend.

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