It’s a brilliant surprise to have such a wonderful video game drop so late in the calendar year now, especially after the recent rush of big name console hits.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is unashamedly influenced by Nintendo’s excellent Zelda game Breath of the Wild.
But the more you play this belter the more you realise it stands very much on it’s own two feet as a superb open world adventure title and what feels like the beginning of a classic new franchise for makers Ubisoft.
You play as Fenyx, a winged human hero on a quest to save the Greek gods and their home from a dark curse.
The developers also took their inspiration from ancient Greece while developing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and decided to go in their own, more cartoony, direction to create a game that has a huge nod to Zelda while incorporating a myriad of other gaming styles into one slick package.
As well as that Link-like open world exploration Nintendo is so good at, you also get huge slabs of Tomb Raider style puzzles to solve in here, Assassin’s Creed-esque combat mechanics and even smatterings of Brutal Legend humour.
And there are hundreds of hours of fun to be had in a quite staggeringly huge seven-area game world that’s going to carry diehard gamers well into Spring.
The wit comes fast from the off as you’re given various God powers by a genuinely funny Zeus to tackle the evil baddie Typhon as he tries to take control of the earth.
Your job is simple, free the various Greek gods who Typhon has trapped in various disguises on each of the seven areas and then go into one final epic battle with all of them by your side against the villain.
Visually, this is undoubtedly one of 2020’s most beautiful games, as each zone is presented in a colour-bursting display of brilliance, making the most of every pixel the new consoles can throw at the screen.
Gameplay grows increasingly complicated as you get further into the game, not only earning your wings to fly around freely, but also take on increasingly powerful weapons and magical abilities as the baddies get tougher to beat.
This game is all about exploring and you’ll find yourself traversing great distances to get to the next story mission, much like an Assassin’s Creed game, but being regularly distracted by open world events.
You’ll do battle with huge beasties like Minotaurs, Cyclops and various monstrous animals including oversized deadly Boars.
And the boss battles are epic, with Demon’s Souls size giant creatures, straight out of Greek mythology, that’ll push your hack-slash-and-dodge abilities to breaking point.
Side quests are key to boosting your strengths and abilities, to ensure your weapons are powerful enough to take on the bigger baddies, which include four Gods under Typhon’s control that pop up regularly when he has a rage.
They really give you a tough fight and all you’ll be doing most of the time it battling them away to give yourself more time to conquer the secrets of each area.
And the zones themselves are packed with hidey-holes, secret spots and puzzle areas that, when solved, will deliver you an upgrade or vital loot pack to help build Fenyx’s strength further.
The puzzles are very Tomb Raider - move a series of giant metal balls into indented holes to open a door, fire an arrow through a lamp to light up another lamp behind and open a portal, etc.
And there are a load of tombs too, where you get transported to an other-worldly realm which is basically a get-from-A-to-B obstacle course packed with increasing puzzle difficulty.
While the influences are obvious and arguably done better on their own in other games, the whole package is extensive and really has a classy sheen and style that brings it wonderfully together.
There is endless gaming here and those willing to lose themselves not only in the story but the sheer exploration of such a big title will have hundreds of hours ahead of them.
There are some misses, the jokey voiceover acting between Zeus and Prometheus which holds the game together can be hit and miss. When it works well, there’s a real character to the game and their modern chat banter is genuinely funny.
But equally it can often fail to land as well as intended and can make the player groan at times in it’s cheesiness.
Also, the combat can get a little fiddly when you’re in the midst of a massive battle with numerous beasties and a fudged dodge can leave you brutally slain, which turns up the annoyance factor. Expect to die quite a lot in this one.
The difficulty level can also switch from one extreme to another, particularly in the early hours, where I’d have appreciated a slower learning curve to ensure I’d nailed the basics before getting ridiculously tough tests of my mettle.
But overall, this is a fantastic new IP for Ubisoft and they should be commended for allowing this development team to pursue an idea that sprung out of the Assassin’s Creed development.
I’ll be playing this game for a long time and it really is a lovely late addition to the 2020 vital play catalogue, particularly on the new consoles.
Give Immortals a go, you won’t be disappointed.