Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm DLC Review for PS5 and PS4.
Immortals Fenyx Rising, like many open worlds before it, had a bloat problem. It wasn’t as packed as other open-world games before it, but its landscapes and objectives grew repetitive as the hours dragged on. Adding more to a game with enough is always a tricky predicament, which is the same predicament that the Myths of the Eastern DLC finds itself in. This expansion does have a fresh new mythology, but it sadly also has the same old gameplay.
In a land far, far away
Myths of the Eastern Realm finds a new home in Chinese mythology where East Asia takes the place of the Mediterranean flavors of the base game. Murals and some puzzles depict the architecture and legends of that culture, naturally bathing the simple geometry with its unique aesthetic. Like the base game, Immortals’ open world is still filled with many plain, nondescript fields and mountains, but at least the buildings have a decidedly East Asian feel with giant dragon bones and paintings dedicated to important mythological figures.
While Norse and Greek mythology tend to dominate video games, Chinese mythology is not as widespread so its presence here has a bigger impact than it should, given the aforementioned barren landscape. The soundtrack is overt with its influences and easier to absorb since its ambient tunes are more prevalent than a building here and a painting there. It sounds authentic and transports (at least aurally) to another different place, which is something DLC like this should do.
No Yin to this Yang
Unfortunately, Myths of the Eastern Realm mostly just grafts itself to the previously established game and is bland retread as a result. Greek monsters have been haphazardly transformed (presumably) into ones from Chinese myths and are just obvious reskins of the foes from the base title. Fighting against them is exponentially more tiring than looking at them since Ku, the new protagonist, has the same moves as Fenyx. Using the same attacks against the same enemies means combat continues the stale and downward trend from the main game since it doesn’t have an identity of its own and is a little mashy at its core.
Puzzles are similarly crushed under the weight of monotony, too. Apart from one new tile-flipping puzzle, this expansion has all of the other same brain teasers from the base game. Rolling around balls, pushing blocks, and firing arrows makes up too much of this game’s tool bag and is tedious to do over and over again. There’s little in the way of player-driven solutions because, once again, the base moves are all the same so it suffers the same fate as the campaign. None of the puzzles are poorly designed — a couple are even pretty decent — but they’re just astonishingly unexciting.
The game doesn’t even reskin its progression system either as everything from the main game is dragged and dropped into this one. There are crystals peppered throughout the world that increase Ku’s health, powerups from dungeons that pump up stamina, gems from fallen enemies that beef up weapons, and coins that change the properties of the special attacks. It’s the same exact rigmarole from the main game, just condensed into a five-hour journey instead of a 25-hour one. This setup makes Myths of the Eastern Realm a decent candidate for a standalone sample of the main game, but, when anchored to that game, it’s just a baffling retread that’s there to remind returning players how much is copied and pasted.
Even its story has some borrowed elements, complete with the cliché “beam in the sky” that powers both video games and Hollywood blockbusters alike. Driving away the evil nebulous force follows similar footsteps from the main game and is only slightly cringeworthy this time around. The base game was Full Cringe so any step back makes this story, no matter how anemic, more tolerable by comparison.
Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm DLC Review: The final verdict
Myths of the Eastern Realm is so repetitive because it changes almost nothing about the repetitive game it was based upon aside from the setting. This expansion could have been a chance for Ubisoft to address criticisms of that core experience by implementing a more varied toolset, moving away from block pushing, and allowing for more freeform exploration all while taking fulling advantage of Chinese mythology. Instead it makes all the same mistakes, which are more unforgiving this time around. Immortals itself was already awash with unoriginal ideas and Myths of the Eastern Realm is only following that trend, making it a derivative expansion of an already-derivative game.
Game Revolution reviewed Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm natively on PS5 and PS4 via PS5 backwards compatibility. Code provided by the publisher. Immortals Fenyx Rising: Myths of the Eastern Realm is also on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Switch.