Review copy provided by Ubisoft.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a third-person action and adventure game with RPG elements that takes place in an open-world based on Greek Mythology. When it was presented on Ubi Foward it really caught my eye for its colorful art style and the combat seemed very action-packed which is something I really like. Being a title by Ubisoft I expected it to have good accessibility but as always I wondered if I would be able to completely enjoy the experience. I was very excited to finally have in my hands, test it, and see how the accessibility was from a Low Vision perspective.
Launching the game for the first time you have some initial settings.
Image / HDR Calibration is the first initial adjustment we can do. We can increase / decrease Brightness and Contrast. If you use HDR you can adjust the Maximum Luminance and Exposure. We can also change the Colorblind Filter from Deuteranopia, Protanopia and Tritanopia, we can see how it looks by looking at the examples that are shown on the right side of the screen. You can also adjust the Filter Intensity for the Colorblind presets, which can be great.
The next screen is the UI and Language. We can change the HUD Zone Calibration and right below, the Menu Narration. Once it’s turned on everything was so easy from there. I think having this right in the beginning, like recent titles, would make everything more accessible from the start. We can change the Subtitle Display and Audio, Menu and Subtitles Language separately. Still, in UI and Language we have the Gameplay section where you can turn on or off the Camera Follow. Here you can also choose between Hold / Press for Aim Action, Apollo’s Arrows and the Long Jump Action. I only changed the Long Jump Action because sometimes in other games I am not sure about the distance of the jump, so I tried to be safe and later knew that it was the best choice. Finally, in this section, we have Vibration which you can choose from Off, Light and Default. I have it on Default and, trust me on this, you will want it like that because many vibrational cues are present only in Default mode.
After this initial setup, you can now access all the options. I must note that the Menu Narration doesn’t tell you when you change the category unless you put the cursor on its name.
In Display we can change options like Resolution, V-Sync, FPS Limit, the same Image Calibration mentioned before, UI Colorblind Filter and Filter Intensity. We also can change the Field of View but the standard FOV is good for me.
In the Graphics tab you can modify the usual graphic settings such as Environment, Shadow, Texture quality. I am using the High Preset, but I turn Motion Blur and Screen Space Effects off because both just add effects that make things harder to see. This is common in all games.
Moving on to Controls we can remap keys, adjust mouse/controller sensitivity, Invert X/Y camera, etc. As I mentioned before, I just changed the Long Jump Action to Press so every time I jump, I perform the long jump. Vibration is here and as mentioned before, at any other value than Default you will miss important cues for navigating, collecting items and more. For extended information on controls, read our mobility review.
If you access the Gameplay setting from the main menu you have Aim Assist, again we can choose from Assisted Mode, Default and Off. Assisted Mode works as a persistent aim-lock on, which is what I am using. Photo Mode that you can enable/disable and Camera Follow. Accessing this same menu once in-game, you have some extra settings to adjust.
Under Helpers, we can enable some extra assists to complete puzzles. I am not sure why these settings are hidden until you start a game. I don’t know if it’s a bug to be fixed or they wanted to give the player a chance to try before searching for help, but it just made me struggle before finding it. In this section we have Puzzle Feedback that provides directional visual feedback for triggered events in puzzles and Myth Challenges, you can enable or disable this feature. Constellation Myth Challenges that you can choose from Off, Compass Icons and Compass and 3D Icons. This feature gives the player visual cues, so we know where to get what we need to complete those puzzles by showing just icons on the compass or also adding 3D icons to the world. Fresco Myth Challenge can be changed from Off, Guide Trims and Solver and Trims. Guide Trims provide borders on the slates, which I don’t see, and Solvers which show yellow 3D arrows that I can see, especially by tilting down the camera for better perspective. We can also turn on / off Odysseus Myth Challenges. This allows the Braziers to stay lit after failed attempts as long as you stay on the Hero Stone. The last option is Puzzle Captions that provides visual and text for puzzles and similarly oriented events in the game. I’ve tried to use this to see if it helps in some way but I didn’t notice any of those caption cues. Since I did not have enough vision to do all these puzzles, I enabled full assistance. I felt that it does not make things easy, it just gives me tools to assist with what I cannot do, so I am very happy with these options. These options are really important for those needing visual assistance, so I hope nobody misses it because of not being present on the main menu.
In the HUD tab we can choose the HUD Preset from Off / Light and Default. I choose the Default one because it enables all elements. The most useful for me are the Quest Objectives, Compass, Aim Reticles, Damage Numbers, Target Lock On, Enemy Health, Income Attack Warning and Detection Feedback. You can turn all these options on or off. I will mention these features in the gameplay section.
Next, it’s Sound. We have Master, Music, Effects and Voice Volume sliders from zero to a hundred. We also have the Menu Narration section under Sound options where we can choose to turn it on or off, adjust the Narration Voice from Male and Female, Narration Volume and the Narration Pace. This is the third Ubisoft game to have these options and I am so happy about this. I use the Male voice, 130% Narration Pace and 60% Narration volume. We have a lot to talk about this Menu Narration later in the review. We can also modify the Audio Dynamic Range and the Music Frequency.
Last, in Language you can choose the Subtitle Display, Speaker Name, Size and Background. I cannot read but left it on for no reason at all. For more information on subtitles, read our Deaf/HoH review.
When you press the New Game you have to choose your game’s difficulty and you should not have any trouble because the Menu Narration reads it all. You have to press once to read to you and hold to select your game’s difficulty. Unfortunately it didn’t read that this hold input was needed.
After you watch the initial cutscene, you must create your character’s appearance. The Menu Narration read the categories for me, which made it much easier to customize. It does not read anything inside each category, but the visuals are easy to see so I had no problems at all. Once again it also didn’t read having to hold the A button to confirm.
While using the Far Sight feature, which acts as a sort of zoomed first-person view, I can see almost every in-world Icon. I can visually distinguish between an Ambrosia, Quest, or a Myth Challenge but cannot distinguish Myth Challenges types or Chest types because they are too similar. For these that I cannot differentiate I use the Menu Narration in the map to know that information, as it reads when we put the cursor on them.
In combat, the visuals work so well for me. The enemies can do two different types of attacks, light and heavy attacks, which display as white or red thanks to the Incoming Attack Indicator. It’s so cool to have a glowing red color indicating that I have to dodge for example, or white for parry. Also, the Detection Feedback indicator helps a lot during combat, but the audio cues give it an extra context.
The overall contrast is so good in the game. The image is so “clean” to me. I can spot items from far away, because they glow. The place that I have more issues to see is in places with fire. I wish I could have less smoke as it really blocks my vision. Finding statues is very important and they are huge, I can find them by marking on the map and I can see it before arriving at the marked place.
One of the first things I did in the game was exploring all the menus. The Menu Narration works in all menus and it is quite impressive. I didn’t need to use zoom to read anything.
In the Inventory, the Menu Narration reads the name of the gear and it’s level. When you click on it to choose another weapon/gear it reads their stats. When you put the cursor in the items that you have on the top right corner it reads the materials you have, what they are for and where to get them. It also reads all the potions and ingredients you have and where you can find them. Like I said it reads everything inside the Inventory. In the Skill Tree it reads the Skill, how many materials you need to get it and if you don’t have the required materials it says “Upgrade unavailable”.
This amazing narration also works so well on the world map. When you put the cursor on top of a mission icon, it reads the description and the actual objective. In this particular case I wish it read first the objective and then the description because sometimes I forget what I have to find or do and it would be a quicker way to remind me of my objective.
There are a lot of different icons for Challenges, such as Myths, Fresco, Constellations, Navigation and Odyssey. You can know what type they are from the narration too. It also says the name of each place you unlock and the input to hold the X button to fast travel to them. The only thing that does not mention to you is the Vault icons. It displays a text, but you can distinguish them because it has a sound cue like everything else but when you put the cursor on top of it it doesn’t say nothing. Unfortunately, the Menu Narration does not read on screen prompts and tutorials. When you are doing some puzzles for the first time you really need to have access to that information. I struggled for half an hour to understand that I had to use the Apollo’s Arrows to light a brazier and I only knew that because someone told me.
One of the first things I’ve noticed was how clean the Compass is in this game. If you want to see the in-world icons, you need to hold RS/R3 and use the first person camera and when you aim at some important items, like Challenges, locations you can uncover them using RT / R2. This way then you can see them on the world map. The best thing about doing this is when you aim and the reticle is close to something it has a sound that gets stronger the closer you get, and the controller vibrates when you are right on top of it.
I love this feature so much especially because you can keep your Compass clean and not be overwhelmed with tons of icons. This is one of the reasons I can’t use compasses in games.
You can hide icons on the map by accessing the Legend and unselecting those you want, and also you can filter out completed ones by pressing the key to hide/show them. This helps a lot because I was putting markers on icons for activities that I already had completed. This filter really helps me to keep only useful information on the map and in the compass to make it cleaner and avoid confusion. This was a surprise and helped me a lot, but someone had to tell me it was there. At least the prompt is read when you put the cursor on top of the prompt.
Here, I rarely have more than two icons on the compass and when I do have more, usually are from a specific mission that has multiple objectives. Following one of them could be impossible but I put a manual mark closer to the objective I am trying to reach to make it slightly easier to distinguish. You can also put several manual marks with different colors like yellow, green, blue, red and it appears in the world by using the first-person view and they also show a bright beam of light. I really think this is a great idea, especially when someone has to deal with bad consistency like using yellow or other bright colors during the day, you can just use a marker with a darker color if you need to. As a suggestion, these Manual Marks could be better if they were shown as an In-world 3D icon with the spotlight. There were moments that I prayed for it. If this manual mark was shown in 3D form it would make everything much easier especially when you have multiple objectives or when you wish you could just stop looking at the compass. And there are other moments where this could really make the difference like in some Puzzles.
There are a lot of puzzles in Immortals Fenyx Rising and they are everywhere. At first they are quite simple to complete but there are some that I struggled a lot, even on the simple puzzles. It’s important to mention that everything you can do you learn first in the prologue, but using it in the real in-game world is completely different.
I struggle so much when I have to use the Apollo’s Arrows to light braziers or hit some targets to open or give access to something else. I wish that I could enable an option to highlight these targets. I spent so much time on some puzzles because these targets blend with the background. Some of these targets are also very hidden and some of them are between lasers and very colorful things that prevent me from seeing them.
I love how good most of the visual cues are. Sometimes you have to put the right weight on top of a square to unlock a door. You can see the thick yellow outlines that tell you how much weight you have and still need. Also there is a large symbol on top of it with a different shape to indicate how much weight you will need, an anvil for heavier pressure and a feather for lighter stuff.
I can see lasers, where to put a box or a ball, where to break a wall very well or by doing a Navigation Myth Challenge which has those circles with flowing air.
To do these Navigation Challenges I enable the button and use the Far Sight to see the destination, which is shown with a big yellow spotlight. Unfortunately this could be much easier if the spotlight didn’t disappear when we leave the first-person view. There is a quest where you are inside a Vault, you have to burn several seeds to remove the poison from the air to proceed. I was trying hard to find the seeds, but I didn’t have enough visual info because the lights were too thin to see, they needed more width. This was the moment where I wanted to stop playing the game. I believe that having the manual mark shown as a spotlight could really make these kinds of objectives more fair for the player. I spent six hours inside that Vault and the frustration was serious because I didn’t want to stop playing the game just because of that part. After four hours in there I noticed that there was a small yellow line reaching the sky, but it only shows if you use the first person view and mark them with RT / R2. Also, it was extremely hard to see the lighted braziers at a certain distance and that’s why it would be so important to highlight all of these objects. Because it is a story quest it can be a barrier that will make visually impaired players stop playing the game, as your progression can be totally blocked. Also before getting inside that Vault you had to do a puzzle where I spent another two hours on it.
For the South West objective, you have to unlock a red door but there is nothing that is highlighted there. By accident, I threw some plants close to the wall and when I was walking around, I noticed that those plants were on top of the squares. It made no sense to me to have a puzzle like that. There is nothing that tells you that you can do that. A way to solve that is by allowing the first person view to mark the first plant already there to help the player know about it.
The Puzzle Helpers under Gameplay settings that you can only access when you start the game are extremely helpful. As I mentioned before I enabled full assistance and I would not be able to do most of the puzzles without them.
If you enable the Solver and Trims in Fresco Myth Challenges it shows an arrow indicating which direction you should move the next square in order to complete an image. In the Constellation Myth Challenges you can have the required balls to be shown on the compass and in-world 3D icons but you have to search for them using the first person view. The best thing is that you don’t need to look directly at them, you can find them by just moving the camera around that area and again you have the audio cue to help you too. When you do something that works you also have another audio cue.
If you enable the Odysseus Myth Challenge helper, they stay lit even if you fail as long as you stay on top of the Hero Stone, but they are very hard to see. Even with this helper enabled I could not do even one of those. It could have a yellow light in the center to make it visible. The only puzzle I still have no idea how to do is the Small Lyre. Nothing is highlighted, I have no visual, audio or vibration cue for that.
There is so much to say about the audio here. While exploring I know if there is a Chest, Fruit, Ambrosia, Blue Mushroom or a Pomegranate, I can hear the audio cue when I get closer to them. The best part is that I don’t need to press anything, the audio cue is constant, and I absolutely love it. One thing that really helped me while doing quests where I had to search for something in a certain area was the audio and vibration cues that occur when you get in or out of the quest area. This is such a good feature to help me stay in the right area. While in combat, the audio cues in combination with the Awareness Indicator are amazing. Monsters do a noise showing rage just before attacking, and you can hear the attack sound before hitting you. There is nothing as pleasant as having this level of auditory information and so well done. I know a few games that could be so different if they had this level of audio cue quality. When I complete a Myth Challenge or an objective it has their own audio cues too. I can’t read so that’s also very good to have. There is one thing that could help when you are staying on top of a Hero Stone would be a proper activation direction audio cue. Sometimes it feels that it is coming from all sides and I end up spinning too much trying to find the right direction.
Immortals Fenyx Rising impressed me a lot. The game is very colorful, and it has such good contrast in the game, menus and everything. This is complemented with the ability to change the time of the day anytime, creating different lighting conditions. Something I really like is how the accessibility has been implemented, in a way that fits the game’s design and art style, making everything feel more organic and intuitive. There are some moments that it let me down when I am trying so hard to complete a puzzle that would be so easy if I could see braziers or targets, especially in main quests, that can make players very frustrated and even leave the game.
Aside from these barriers, I feel like I can’t just let it go. There is so much work there, to be honest with you, this review feels more like a celebration for me than anything else. I totally understand why there are some objects that are not highlighted, because there are so many cues, so many little details that impacted my experience in such a positive way like when I was dealing with blended outlines and I just need to start to change to night/day time. It has a big learning curve because of all those puzzles but we have some very cool assistance that I am sure will help not only gamers with visual disabilities, but all gamers! Fighting monsters has never been so fun and pleasant.
Victor is a gamer with very low vision who is passionate about game accessibility. When he is not glued to the PC, he spends his days with his dog on long walks in green and beautiful places. Trying to improve every day in order to contribute as much as possible with the accessibility community. You can contact him on Twitter at @VictorAndre87