Fenyx Rising uses the kind of humour you find in old books that’s always struck me as being written by people who have no one to tell their jokes to. The game uses Greek Mythology and makes an effort to be true while inventive with the legends which I suspect is behind the awkward narration and dated banter between some of the characters. They might be referencing the same old books I’m thinking of.
I was wary going into the game because of that odd tone, but quickly won over by the way characters and creatures are expressively animated and the fresh take given to quests, puzzles, and abilities. Comparisons are circulating between the game and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild because of the journey of quests and tasks it offers across a vast, open continent sprawling with engaging landscapes that you can glide across using Daedalus’ wings, but Fenyx Rising stands apart with a hero you can customize as your own who actually speaks and has conversations with others.
The powers you unlock throughout your journey come from the Gods and so have that hint of might to them. When you unleash a combo of attacks with the battle axe you can hit your enemies with such a wallop as to send them flying off to the horizon like a golf ball off a tee. With the strength of Heracles you can catch the boulders thrown at you by monsters and send them back. You can use the wings to slow your descent from a fall and shoot guided arrows to navigate and solve puzzles. The mix of rock climbing, horse riding, puzzle-solving, gliding, and collecting may be familiar, but there are tweaks to make them feel fresh.
I love the way the game incorporates grinding, actually gathering up the actions players often repeat endlessly to upgrade skills and abilities, and organizes them into tasks and challenges as lists to promote your prowess at the Hall of the Gods and while the main story presents a situation of urgency, you must stop the titan Typhon and save the world, you’re free to work towards that at your own pace, saving the game at any point so you don’t have to repeat long stretches, and free to go for a wander to explore be side-tracked by side-quests.
We’re seeing more and more games offering vast, open worlds, but Fenyx Rising is one that is incredible well thought out with every opportunity taken to tweak the use of abilities, powers, and monsters and ultimately that makes it worth sitting through all the lame laughs.