Friday, 26 October 2018

Immortal: Unchained ★★☆☆☆

‘Immortal: Unchained’ is yet another Soulslike game in a long list of productions that are directly inspired by the critically acclaimed series created by FromSoftware. Many games that have been created in the same vein as the ’Dark Souls’ series have been very hit and miss – for instance ‘Salt & Sanctuary’, a 2D Soulslike Metroidvania, was one that was very well received but games like ‘Lords of the Fallen’ have fallen short of the quality that you’ll get with ‘Dark Souls’.

Usually, these games have mechanics that are different than the ‘Dark Souls’ series, and ‘Immortal Unchained’ tries to be unique with its combat style which in this game is primarily guns. You’ll, of course, be dodging and rolling around enemies and so on, but your main weapon will be guns such as sniper rifles and rocket launchers. I would say this works fairly well and the combat is satisfying enough but, because you can only really use ranged weapons effectively, it can feel quite limiting in what you can do. Unlike ‘Dark Souls,’ which has a wide array of weapons, there isn’t that option to approach combat in different ways.

The other main draw of these sorts of games is the exploration. The level design in ‘Immortal: Unchained’ is pretty good and has lots of interconnected paths and shortcuts, but I feel that the levels were way too long and the time in between bosses also seemed to take a long time. There also wasn’t a lot of variety regarding enemies meaning you end up travelling through these very similar environments for hours, fighting equally similar enemies over and over again. Each enemy has a weak spot that is glowing a certain colour (somewhat too simple given the target audience, I felt) and so every combat experience will come down to circle strafing around the enemy to hit their weak spot with various weapons. 

The drawn-out level exploration would not be such a criticism if the graphics and art direction made up for it. However, each world is fairly bland and quite blocky in texture and, although it is pretty unfair to compare it to games like ‘Dark Souls 3’ due to the budget difference, I couldn’t help but feel that what I was getting wasn’t quite worth the price. 

Of course, at its core, it is an RPG and has fairly complicated systems in place where you will be upgrading stats such as strength as well as your weapons while you progress through the story.  As I was upgrading my stats I felt like I had seen this all before. I think my main issue with the game, like many of the other Soulslike games, is that they don’t innovate enough with the systems already in place and at times it feels like I’m playing a knock-off copy.

‘Immortal: Unchained’ is an interesting take on the Soulslike formula by introducing fairly unique mechanics but it falls short in many areas – particularly the art direction and the boss and enemy designs. With both a bigger budget and team many of the issues could have been addressed, as it’s just not hitting its potential. I feel like I can only recommend ‘Immortal: Unchained’ if you are heavily into Soulslike games and are feeling the urge to play one whilst in the void left by ‘Dark Souls’; otherwise stick to the classics and wait for ‘Sekiro’ to come out instead. 

Hannah Read

Immortal: Unchained at CeX

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