By Adele Chapline Smith | Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — Greek mythology provides the cultural milieu for “Immortals Fenyx Rising” (Ubisoft). The game’s narrative, for instance, is recounted by Prometheus — held captive for stealing fire from the gods to give it to mankind — to Zeus, the ruler of the deities of Mount Olympus.
Nongraphic scenes of combat and some language issues make this lighthearted open-world title unsuitable for young children. But parents and teens — especially those with a fondness for the heroes of old — are sure to enjoy it.
Fenyx, who can be played as male or female, is a young Greek soldier who, shipwrecked by a terrible storm, ends up stranded on the Golden Isle — a place filled with supernatural beings. Recruited by Hermes, the messenger of the gods, Fenyx allies himself with the Olympians in their fight against Typhon, a powerful monster who seeks revenge against them.
The tone of the game is distinctly tongue-in-cheek, as illustrated by the form Typhon’s vengeance takes. He has used his abilities, for instance, to turn Ares, the once mighty god of war, into a rooster.
The Golden Isle contains seven distinct regions, each representing a different aspect of Greek mythology. Gameplay also features multiple puzzles, some involving tests of speed, others challenging the player’s skill as an archer.
During his adventures, Fenyx acquires mythical weapons and gear — including the “wings of Daedalus,” which enable him to fly across the island, and the Sword of Achilles. He can use this equipment, along with his power to deploy elements such as ice or fire, to battle against monsters from classic lore, spirits or the undead.
Refreshingly, there is no gore. Defeated enemies simply burst into ash.
The gods, who are fond of their wine, toss around some vague innuendos. They also indulge, now and then, in a bit of slightly coarse talk. Still, these lapses are comparatively slight when measured against what can be heard in many other games.
There is no promotion of the gods as figures to be worshiped. Instead, their flaws are fully on display and easily perceived. It’s up to Fenyx to help them grow and become better.
In fact, like many figures in classical literature, Fenyx embodies significant virtues prized by Christians as well as pagans. Often overlooked, he is nonetheless always ready to rise to the occasion and do the right thing, no matter what kind of danger that may entail.
Playable on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and Windows.
The game contains cartoonish violence, occasional crass language and mild sexual references. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is T — teen.
Smith reviews video games for Catholic News Service.