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I will admit that I let Immortals: Fenyx Rising slip under my radar for longer than it deserved. My first thought was that it was a rip-off of the smash hit Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and to me, not too many developers could top Breath of the Wild’s incredible gameplay and open-world exploration. The fact that Ubisoft was making it didn’t help with my perception of the game either since I have been used to the bloated open worlds with repetitive objectives and gameplay, but Immortals: Fenyx Rising is actually something much different, and to my delight, a whole lot more fun.
Fenyx Rising’s graphics were initially not so appealing to me, but I quickly grew used to them. They have a very “cartoony” look to them and made me question whether or not this game was for kids, but I realized it didn’t matter as I entered the open-world. The immense swaths of beautiful scenery were incredibly rendered and full of vibrant color. Each area on the map was a joy to discover and the lore of the Greek mythos seeped out of every location with petrified people, shrines, temples, and mythical beasts. Ubisoft knew this so Fenyx’s draw distance spans the entire map encouraging exploration. It was hard not to admire the obvious work put in by the design team and programmers. The character models are a little boring though, almost everyone looks mildly related to each other and despite the cartoonish nature of the game, some animations can feel a little stilted in cutscenes. The customization is also somewhat lacking especially when my character reveals his weird face every time a cutscene starts. Despite these issues, I was completely enamored by the world’s look and all of its beautiful, varied, colors.
The sounds of Immortals: Fenyx Rising were immersive and most importantly unobtrusive. The ambient music while in the open world is fitting and conducive to adventuring. The Pits of Tartaros have mysterious notes floating through the level as you solve your way through the puzzles and platforming. Although the music is decent, it’s hard for me to recall specific songs because they tend to be a little bit forgettable. On the other side of sound is the voice acting, which for me felt a little bit underwhelming. Fenyx’s voice grated on me a bit as well as another story character after the tutorial. Zeus and Prometheus however became one of my favorite parts of Immortals. They narrate a pretty big chunk of the game here, and I fully welcomed it. Some players may not enjoy it, but when I hear Prometheus chime in with a note about a certain location or event, I sat back and absorbed the corny but endearing humor. Zeus played a great character as well with his inaccurate renditions of classic Greek myths, which Prometheus promptly corrected. The combat sounds were great as well. Hits and clashes sounded impactful and made successful parries that much more satisfying.
The spoiler-free version of the story is that the Gods have been scattered across the Golden Isle by the god Typhon. Fenyx is a mere mortal destined to reunite the gods with their essences and defeat Typhon. The whole game is narrated as you set out on your journey to save the gods. Some may not enjoy the narration, but I think it gives the game more character and something interesting and funny to listen to while you move through the game. Greek myths are thrown in here in there as you explore different locales. I must admit that I sort of ended up losing a little interest in the story since there are so many other things to do. The story isn’t bad by any means, but it sometimes gets lost as you head in the direct opposite direction of a main quest. Luckily it’s simple enough to follow even after long periods of not touching it. To its credit, a huge and complex story would likely lead to losing my interest due to having no idea what’s going on in the timeline. Immortals sticks to a relatively formulaic story of “power-up and beat the big bad guy” that helps keeps things simple and easy to follow. It’s not particularly memorable, but it serves just fine as a vehicle to deliver solid gameplay and enjoyable exploration.
The shining star of this game is the way it feels. Gameplay is immensely satisfying and incredibly fun. Combat is smooth and I personally feel it might even be a little bit better than Breath of the Wild’s combat. Parries, perfect dodges, and striking were all smooth and a ton of fun to do. Gliding, sprinting, and moving around, in general, all looked and felt great. Using Hermes’ wings really drove home the “cool-factor” of having equipment built by Greek gods. The Pits of Tartarus, essentially puzzle and platforming levels to earn lightning for stamina upgrades, were decent too. Some of them were super engaging and a blast to go through, but others really fell flat for me. The tedious nature of a couple starting grating on me pretty severely as I continued to grind out health and stamina upgrades. Feynx’s god powers were also amazing, especially Ares’ spear attack. These added a lot more depth to the combat since you could choose options like chucking rocks at enemies’ heads from far away or slamming down a massive hammer on them. The variety of combat styles keeps the game fresh enough to not get bored. Some of the optional mythical beast mini-bosses felt a little bit too easy since many of them share move sets, especially after I discovered I could parry the projectiles of aerial enemies.
The best way for me to describe Immortals: Fenyx Rising is just a big bag of fun and discovery. I can’t help but fall in love with the environments, lush colors, graphics, gameplay, and endearing humor. If you haven’t picked this up, you’re missing out big time. Immortals is so much more than a “rip-off” of Breath of the Wild. It’s a game filled with amazing lore and a whole lot of heart.
Kirby, a Brief History
No one can deny that Kirby, with his round little pink self, has captured the hearts of millions and garnered international fame. The franchise has spun out more than thirty games starring the blush blob, earning big bucks for Nintendo and HAL Labs. But before becoming a video game icon, Kirby was actually created rather haphazardly.
How Kirby became an adorable pink circle
The first Kirby game was called Kirby’s Dream Land, released on the Game Boy in 1992. Young designer Masahiro Sakurai was assigned to create a game that was simple enough for anyone to pick up and learn to play. (To this day, Kirby games are easy and accessible.)
While the game was in development, Sakurai created a basic avatar to perform the primary movements of play – a little ball with arms and legs. This was meant as a placeholder, later to be swapped for something more definite. But throughout testing and animation, the team fell in love with this white blob, and they ended up sticking with it. But he was just that – white.
Since Kirby’s Dream Land released on the original Game Boy, its protagonist’s color was indefinite. Adding to the confusion, the game’s North American box art depicted a white Kirby, while the Japanese art showed the pink character we’ve come to recognize. Sakurai always imagined Kirby to be pink, while Shigeru Miyamoto (who created Mario and worked as a producer on Kirby) always imagined our hero to be yellow. Color was an afterthought – literally. They didn’t nail down the official pink hue until after the first game’s release.
Another thing that didn’t come until the second game was Kirby’s ability to copy his enemies’ powers after slurping them up. Kirby’s Adventure dropped on the NES in ‘93, and implemented copy abilities, which are now a characteristic trait of the spherical savior of Dream Land.
How Kirby got his name
Sakurai’s project had a working title of Twinkle Popopo. But Nintendo wanted to go with a name that could create more draw for Western customers. After throwing around several options, the team finally named their character after… a lawyer.
John Kirby was a lawyer who worked long and hard on Nintendo’s behalf in a legal fight with Universal. The movie studio had sued over Donkey Kong, claiming the primate videogame character’s name was too akin to King Kong. (It’s like, totally a different Kong, geez.) Nintendo eventually won the suit, and named a character after Mr. Kirby as a way of saying thank you.
After many platformer adventures, pinball titles, 3D games, and Super Smash cameos, Kirby is now one of the most beloved characters in the video game industry’s history. Whether happily floating above Planet Popstar or bravely dueling with Meta Knight, his innocence and simplicity has captivated kids and grownups alike. And from the looks of it, he’s not stopping anytime soon.
The Best Asymmetric Virtual Reality Games Out Now
Virtual reality is fun, but playing with friends makes it better. The problem is that not everyone can afford a VR headset, so we put together a few games you and your friends can play with only a single VR system.
5. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Better talk fast because the clock is ticking and there’s a bomb in your hands! Available in VR and regular screen, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes puts one player in charge of manipulated bomb components to keep it from blowing up. Another player is supplied only with a guide. The thing is that every bomb is different and the reader has no idea what your bomb looks like. Speed is vital. Communication is key.
4. Fast and Low
Shoot and move in this SWAT simulator game. Despite its less-than-finished appearance, this game has solid bones with “realistic” gunplay, suspect interactions, damage, and room clearing. One player can hop in on PC while another gets ready to get rowdy in virtual reality. Take your time as you move room to room searching out hostels, but don’t be too trigger-happy because some are going to surrender. Take them alive if you can.
3. Reiko’s Fragments
Do you want to scare the living daylights out of your friends and family? The Reiko’s Fragments might be for you. Virtual reality is already pretty terrifying with even the smallest of scares, but now your friends can take control. One person takes the reins and puts on the headset; the rest can pull up their phones and get to scaring.
2. Takelings House Party
This is a true party game. Grab a few friends with phones to take up the mantle of “Takelings,” thieving humanoids hell-bent on making your home life miserable. The person in VR needs to take these things out by any means necessary. That includes hammers, nailguns, toasters, and waffle makers. It’s still in early access but is worth a buy if you like party games.
1. Smush TV
Have you ever wanted to face your fear of being crushed under tetrominoes while electronic music pumps in the background? Smush TV is just that where a player in VR does their best to climb to the top of a Tetris tower while avoiding getting smushed. The other flatscreen player is on a mission to drop these blocks on the other’s head.
No, Shooting Guns in VR Does Not Translate to Shooting Firearms in Real Life
Guns and virtual reality go together like peanut butter and jelly. The shooter genre is one of the biggest in the VR space right alongside melee hack and slashers. Naturally, some people are bringing up the idea that video games may cause violence once again or rather may teach people how to be violent. There’s a mild connection there with VR being a highly interactive medium where you physically act out an action, but the truth is that there’s just not much you can learn especially with complex things like firearms.
It’s important to note that VR can only teach people to use firearms only as effectively as any other learning medium like books or videos. There are no special movements or techniques taught in VR that aren’t found elsewhere. In fact, I’d wager that most people who consume media on the regular probably already know how to load a magazine into a firearm and pull a trigger. These actions are already intuitive though and would be fairly easy to figure without instruction anyway.
Virtual reality can’t simulate the weight of a firearm nor dealing with concussive force from a gunshot. Virtual makes firearms simple. Reload. Click. Shoot. Easy. It removes all of the individual actions necessary for operating a weapon. It doesn’t teach you how to clear a malfunction or even load rounds into a magazine. Or control recoil and correct trigger pulling technique. The list is long. Although, manipulating firearms isn’t a particularly difficult process in the first place. Virtual reality doesn’t cover any of the things that make for a proficient shooter.
I’d even argue that virtual reality might actually teach terrible habits for people that might get into hobbyist shooting later on. The first is reinforcing poor trigger control. With real firearms, you need to be particular in the way you pull a trigger. Incorrect technique can throw shots off target by a lot. Virtual reality controls have more stability and little trigger resistance. They don’t require a consistent form.
Recoil control is something else that’ll suffer when using VR. With real firearms, recoil is typically controlled by tightly bracing it to your body or locking your wrists. Virtual reality is a different story. Most recoil control is done just by pulling the controllers down, yet another way to throw off your shots in real life.
Virtual reality isn’t effectively teaching anyone to use firearms. In fact it’s probably doing just the opposite. This is just a recycled argument of “video games cause violence.”