The name change from Gods and Monsters to Fenyx Rising was enough to put me off ever buying this, and the quick price drop on release and middling reviews did nothing to convince me otherwise. What did convince me, however, was actual Real People saying it was alright actually but more than that was the dearth of things to actually play on my PS5. yes, Spider-Man, I know, but this was £21.
Also a negative was just how much like Zelda: Breath of the Wild it appeared to be. It’s all just in the graphics though, right? It’s actually more like Assassin’s Creed, right? Well, no. It’s actually much more like Breath of the Wild than I’d imagined.
That’s not to say there’s no Assassin’s Creed here – it still feels a bit like it, albeit in a fantasy rather than realistic setting, and the voice cast is made up seemingly entirely from the same people as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but yeah, it’s Zelda. You climb things and have a stamina bar, just like Zelda. You can glide from high places, just like Zelda. Ride horses? Zelda. Shrines with puzzles or feats in? Zelda. Crafting buffing potions? Zelda. Four main “bosses” then a final “dungeon”? Zelda. Magnesis powers? Zelda. Bow and arrow? Zelda. Baddies that explode when you kill them? Zelda. Trees to chop down? Heart and stamina upgrades? Switch puzzles? Zelda. It’s very Zelda.
But that’s OK. Breath of the Wild was A Very Good Game, so anything which manages to be half as good – especially in the absence of Breath of the Wild 2 – is fine, really. And it’s not all Zelda!
Fenyx’s quest is to restore some of the Greek Gods back to their former selves, and defeat Typhon who has beaten all the Gods and turned almost everyone to stone. So you set off to find and return the Gods’ essences which restore them back the way they were – Ares has become a cowardly chicken (literally), Aphrodite has lost her vanity, and so on. Doing this mostly this involves climbing tall places, fighting big monsters, and solving block-on-switch puzzles and shooting arrows through a series of axe handles. Because, you know, that’s what I’d lock progression behind if I were a Big Nasty.
Besides the main quest, there are the usual Ubisoft plethora of side quests, things to collect, skill trees, upgrades, chests to open, and so on. I did quite a few of these, but some of the vaults (the Immortals version of BotW’s Shrines) were too fiddly, difficult, or dull for me to bother with. Turns out you don’t need to upgrade yourself anywhere near as much as I spent time doing anyway, as the final boss is a walkover and I didn’t need more than a couple of my potions or special moves I’d taken in with me.
Difficultly being all over the place aside, it’s a really enjoyable game. The mostly blue skies and great traversal and combat mechanics more than make up for the repetition and lack of variety in the enemies (there are only really about six types in the game!) and it’s much better than I was expecting.