I’ve already heaped plenty of praise on both Immortals: Fenyx Rising (review through this link) and its first DLC expansion A New God (review through this link), so it only makes sense that I had been excited to get my hands on the second DLC expansion, Myths of the Eastern Realm. Whilst A New God continued protagonist Fenyx’s journey though, Myths of the Eastern Realm gives players a new character to play as, a new story to see unfold, and a whole new world to explore that is inspired by Chinese mythology.
I’m a little surprised that it wasn’t developed into a full-fledged sequel really, but here we are with an adventure that’s of a smaller scale but that manages to maintain the high standard that players have come to expect from Ubisoft’s open-world adventure.
Myths of the Eastern Realm puts players in the role of Ku, a young man who awakens to find that his fellow humans have been turned to stone. Where have I heard that one before? Typhon isn’t to blame this time around though, but rather an evil entity known as the Scar that has ravaged the Bu Zhou mountain and brought instability to the world (and, of course, plagued it with demons). With the help of the Chinese gods Nuwa and Gong Gong, Ku must vanquish the threat and bring peace to the realm once more.
It’s safe to say that Myths of the Eastern Realm hasn’t pushed the boat out too much when it comes to the plotline, with it essentially re-telling the tale of the base game but from a Chinese mythology viewpoint. It’s something I really liked though, with the different interpretation of the creation of mankind and the world they live in certainly offering a fresh outlook when compared to the tales of Greek gods that players would have heard before. I’m not all that familiar with Chinese mythology either, so it was interesting to learn more about the stories that it has to tell.
It was just a shame that the narrative itself was a lot more bite-sized when compared to the base game. You spend less time with the gods in Myths of the Eastern Realm, whilst the lack of godly narration saw the storytelling lacking some of the charm of Fenyx’s adventure (man, I really missed Zeus and Prometheus’ banter). It’s not that anything about the narrative is bad in any way, but rather that I would’ve liked it to have been a bit more fleshed out. At least it’s still packed with the same Immortals: Fenyx Rising witty humour though, so you can expect to find yourself chuckling a lot during your journey.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, Myths of the Eastern Realm plays near enough identically to the base game. You’ll vanquish enemies in combat, you’ll solve puzzles, you’ll climb and glide your way across the environment, and you’ll find plenty of collectibles along the way. Ku feels more like a re-skin of Fenyx than anything else, with just a few minor changes made here and there to differentiate his skillset a little. That’s not a complaint, but rather an acknowledgement that Myths of the Eastern Realm doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel in any way with its gameplay.
That’s not to say that it doesn’t introduce some fresh ideas of its own though. For one, there are new elements introduced to the puzzles to spruce them up, with Ku’s grappling capabilities adding an increased sense of mobility to the enigmas – you can ride clouds to navigate treacherous pathways too, which always felt satisfying. Existing mechanics have been refreshed too, with some blocks able to be manipulated in size by striking them and other obstacles launched across the map with the windmills. Immortals: Fenyx Rising’s intricate puzzle-designs were undoubtedly one of its biggest strengths, and I’m happy to report that the trend continues in Myths of the Eastern Realm.
The enemies you face off against are different too… kind of. Whilst the game’s demons are certainly unique to this world, they are mostly re-skins of the foes you would have spent hours vanquishing in the base game, albeit with a few little changes. It’s a shame that they won’t really force you to think differently to the enemies you battled before and still utilise the same tactics to take down, though the brevity of the adventure (it only took me around seven-hours to clear the game) ensures you won’t tire of facing off against them again.
And hey, at least the boss battles bring with them a welcome test of your skills, with their hulking presences certainly befitting of the Chinese-inspired world. These felt a bit more unique when compared to the standard battling of the game and showed that Myths of the Eastern Realm has new elements to it outside of just the puzzling.
I’d be remiss not to mention how wonderful the environment looks too, with plenty of stupendous sights to see and impressive obstacles to scale across in the open world. As mentioned, it’s a lot smaller in size than players would have been used to in the base game, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in depth and beauty. The collectibles have been replaced with Eastern counterparts to embrace the theme of the game too, whilst the Vaults of Tartaros are now known as Ruins of Heaven; these challenging puzzle-orientated sequences take place in the abandoned halls of the gods, and honestly, they’re a real sight to behold. It’s just a very pretty and well-designed world.
I had a really good time playing through Myths of the Eastern Realm and experiencing its unique take on the Immortals: Fenyx Rising formula, but there’s no denying that it’s more of the same as far as the gameplay is concerned. Sure, it introduces a few innovations and the new world is impressive to explore, but the gameplay doesn’t really evolve upon that which players would have experienced before. Personally, this was completely fine by me – especially since I enjoyed the base game so much. Besides, this is an expansion and not a sequel, so those expecting revolutionary changes need to get their expectations in check anyway.
Myths of the Eastern Realm doesn’t evolve upon the formula established in the base game, but still offers an enjoyable escapade with a slick mythological flair. I really enjoyed exploring this vast and beautiful new world that’s represented by Chinese gods and myths, whilst some of the new ideas introduced into the puzzles weren’t only befitting of the theme but also added a satisfying twist to the existing formula.
I would have liked to have seen the narrative expanded upon a little with it lacking the punch offered by the base game, but there’s still plenty to appreciate in Yu’s journey. It might be smaller in scale when compared to Fenyx’s adventure, but Myths of the Eastern Realm still offers an exciting open-world romp that returning gamers are sure to enjoy.
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
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