Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths Of The Eastern Realm – PS4 Review
I had very little interest in purchasing Immortals Fenyx Risingwhen it first came out. While it was certainly hard to resist its spectacular visual style, its gameplay was reminiscent of a poser doing their best to list off songs they’d never listened to. However, when Ubisoft announced that they would be releasing downloadable content (DLC), which was, by all accounts, a brand-new game, it piqued my interest. DLC is all too often relegated to the skins-and-exp-boosters category, with developers charging players for what amounts to little more than a new hat and fake currency. The fact that Ubisoft was putting some effort into their DLC pulled on my heartstrings a little. Unfortunately, Myths of the Eastern Realm is little more than a competent reskin that only illustrates the immense failings of the original game.
“It’s quickly apparent that Myths of the Eastern Realm has remedied Immortals Fenyx Rising’s narrative shortcomings.”
Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm opens poorly. You’re thrust into the world and set free, given a vague approximation of what you’re supposed to do. In fact, it opens up almost exactly the same as the base game. The only difference is that it doesn’t force you through an hour-long tutorial. Unfortunately, the lack of narrative motivation at the beginning of the DLC means it feels a little overwhelming when you’re let loose. While Myths of the Eastern Realm does eventually rectify this, too much time is spent not knowing what’s going on or who you’re even playing. I quickly found myself losing interest.
When you are eventually given a morsel of the DLCs narrative, it’s quickly apparent that Myths of the Eastern Realm has remedied Immortals Fenyx Rising’s narrative shortcomings. For starters, the DLC ditches the narrators babbling on in the background.
While the narration had potential in the base game, it was more interested in delivering as many quips and laughs as possible. Therefore, any time it attempted to be serious or focus on the epic scale of the narrative, it faltered. In Myths of the Eastern Realm, the story is delivered through conversations between Ku and other characters. This means that the central protagonist has more of a say in the game’s events.
“The DLCs more focused world means that it’s visually stunning without ever feeling too barren.”
In terms of characters, Myths of the Eastern Realm certainly has a little more depth and development. Characters don’t grate in the same way that they did in the base game and feel a little more prominent. Nuwa, the central Goddess in the DLC, is almost reluctant to have Ku go save the world, which was refreshing, to say the least. Ku is funny and endearing, and while his anachronistic dialogue can be a little cringe-inducing, he’s otherwise more appealing than Fenyx.
Unfortunately, the voice acting is terrible. It always felt as if the actors were simply reading lines instead of the dialogue feeling natural. While Ku’s character is written well, his voice actor lets down an otherwise focused and intriguing narrative.
Myths of the Eastern Realm’s world is significantly smaller than the base game’s, as is its overall length. Fortunately, this was not to the detriment of my experience. In fact, after having played upwards of 15 hours of Immortals Fenyx Rising, I gave up. It was simply too large with little substance filling its superficially beautiful yet ultimately hollow world. The DLCs more focused world means that it’s visually stunning without ever feeling too barren. It’s also easier to get familiar with the world, which added to its overall appeal for me. I was never befuddled by where I was supposed to go.
“Nothing feels fresh or new, it just feels like a reskinned version of the base game.”
Regrettably, that’s where the praises end. Myths of the Eastern Realm is not a good DLC. While its narrative, world and characters are more focused, they still don’t manage to make an already bad game better. The base game is not a fun experience as it’s filled with mediocre puzzles, lacklustre combat, and uninteresting exploration. Myths of the Eastern Realm continues this, just in a smaller dose. While it switches up the narrative style and even introduces some new puzzle mechanics, it never feels like a substantial enough change to warrant playing through the DLC.
To make matters worse, the enemies are simply reskinned from the enemies in Immortals Fenyx Rising. This means that combat feels almost entirely the same. Furthermore, despite some new Chinese-inspired architecture, most of the map uses assets from the base game. It makes the world feel like an extension of the Greek world, as opposed to its own unique place.
Animations are entirely reused from Immortals Fenyx Rising, making Ku feel like Fenyx but in a wig. You use peaches to heal instead of pomegranates and Jade Coins instead of the coins of Charon. Even the main hub area is a ruined temple atop a mountain. Nothing feels fresh or new; it just feels like a reskinned version of the base game.
“It’s predominantly the same experience.”
To add insult to injury, you can’t even pick Ku’s gender. I’d hazard a guess that Ubisoft did this to cut down on voice-over costs, but regardless it makes it feel like an incomplete package. The various armour pieces are often just different coloured versions of each other; the first bird-companion you get is Phosphor, just with a different name. It all equates to a lazy, passionless DLC piece that never feels substantial enough, nor original enough.
It’s a genuine shame as I was excited to experience Chinese mythology for the first time. Sadly, Myths of the Eastern Realm fails on that front, too, as it does a poor job of introducing the player to the mythological aspects of its narrative, and its cutscenes are as poorly presented as they were in the base game.
Ultimately, this encapsulates the majority of my feelings towards the DLC. While it fixes many of the issues I had with the original title, the fact that it is essentially the same game means it’s predominantly the same experience. I suppose this brings into question what exactly a DLC should do.
If you enjoy the base game, then Myths of the Eastern Realm does exactly what it is supposed to do. It’s more of the same, maybe even a little better. But, if you didn’t enjoy the base game, the DLC doesn’t make the most of player feedback. If you own the Season Pass or enjoyed the game, then it’s absolutely worth playing Myths of the Eastern Realm. But, if you didn’t like Immortals Fenyx Rising, it’s not worth coming back to.
Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm Review
While Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm fails to bring the title to its fullest potential, it offers some fresh innovations that fix the mostly dull original game. The shift in narrative tone helps alleviate the base game's narrative inconsistencies, and the reduced length means you're able to make the most of the combat and climbing systems quicker. However, the fact that it's essentially a reskin of the base game means that this DLC never reaches the heights it should.