My first foray into the mythological world of Immortals Fenyx Rising was comparable to watching a YouTuber or streamer complete a Let’s Play. While I thoroughly enjoyed watching my demoist slay ancient beasts and complete varying puzzles, a lack of available accessibility options made it difficult for me to accurately assess how accessible the game would be for physically disabled players. For my second preview, Fenyx’s accessibility features were present, finally affording me the opportunity to truly see the majesty of ancient Greece.
This excursion began at the beginning of the campaign, with the titular hero finding himself (players can choose to be male or female) washed ashore at Clashing Rocks, one of seven locations favored by a specific Greek god. Clashing Rocks serves as the tutorial section for Fenyx, where players learn the basics of combat, traversal, and puzzle-solving, while Hermes, the god of this section, provides an introductory to the quest that Fenyx will ultimately accept.
Much like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, individuals can fully explore each section of the vast world right from the start, completing side missions and collecting loot until they are ready to proceed with the main mission. The open world of Immortals Fenyx Rising acted as an excellent canvas for me to test out the plethora of accessibility features.
For physically disabled Greek warriors, Fenyx offers A LOT of accessibility options. For starters, regardless of your preferred control method, the game provides individuals with the capability to customize every input. Before I began my demo, I spent several minutes ensuring that each key on my keyboard and button on my mouse would perfectly suit my playstyle. However, it should be noted that I was unable to bind the mouse scroll wheel to any function. While not entirely problematic, I did lose two potential inputs.
Aside from the control customization, Immortals Fenyx Rising enables players to toggle numerous actions. Aiming the bow of Odysseus, controlling Apollo’s arrows, and lifting gargantuan objects with the strength of Hercules can be toggled from their original hold setting. While Fenyx primarily consists of exploration, puzzle, and combat, scenarios can often be drawn out depending on the specific type of puzzle and number of enemies. Not having to hold a specific key or button enabled me to play for an extensive period without fatigue.
Furthermore, Fenyx offers players the ability to auto walk to a destination. By marking an area on your map, and pressing the corresponding auto movement button, your character will path themselves to the goal. The overworld of Fenyx is incredibly vast. As such, having an option to negate traversal is incredibly beneficial for physically disabled players with limited strength. Unfortunately, Fenyx lacks the ability to toggle a hold feature when consuming potions or climbing the landscape.
Now, as much as I enjoy the incredible accessibility options within this game, Immortals Fenyx Rising suffers from a very problematic issue in the form of egregious button mashing. Fighting monsters is an integral aspect of Fenyx’s quest. Whether you are slaying demonic hoplites, gorgons, or a giant Cyclops, individuals MUST continuously mash the light and heavy attack buttons. To make matters worse, each enemy features a stamina bar, which, when depleted, staggers the monster, allowing for greater damage from combos.
The only way to destroy the stamina bar is by furiously smacking the monster with your axe, bound to the heavy attack button. Larger enemies like the gorgon and Cyclops require numerous stamina depletion segments during each encounter. In other words, players need to continuously mash the attack buttons during every single fight. To make matters, once again, worse, as previously mentioned, potions can only be used by holding the respective button. During longer combat scenarios, I found myself dying due to being unable to activate my potions due to severe fatigue. Friendly combatants can help alleviate the pressure from larger enemies, but not every encounter will feature allies.
Every single large enemy battle quickly transitioned into a real-life struggle with my own stamina bar. I never found myself worrying about dying to enemies due to difficulty. Rather, each battle became a timed competition of who could kill me faster – the monster with damage, or my fingers failing me.
My time with Immortals Fenyx Rising left me intrigued and wanting more. The inner classicist in me desperately wanted to explore the beautiful landscape, interact with each Greek god, and uncover more mythological lore. However, my stamina levels and physical limitations continuously had me damning my enemies back into Tartarus from whence they came. Only the full release will determine if Immortals Fenyx Rising will leave each physically disabled individual feeling like a hero or zero.
Immortals Fenyx Rising launches on December 3rd for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, and PC.