Toadman Interactive (studio)
07 September 2018 (released)
24 September 2018
Now I will admit, I’m not a big fan of Dark Souls. I’m more a fan of what the series has done in creating a genre and influencing other games such as Bloodborne (which is Dark Souls but better). I even admire The Surge and consider it a decent game. So whenever a new “souls” game does come out it gets plenty of attention and a fair amount of comparison to Dark Souls. Plenty have just copied the formula while others add dynamic changes in an attempt to beat the creator of the genre at its own game. Immortal: Unchained is doing something very different and could even be what the genre needed.
It has guns. So read on.
Immortal: Unchained tells the tale of the ultimate evil rising after thousands of the years of war. There’s no hope in the galaxy and all resources have been exhumed, apart from one single being. You take on the role of a prisoner, a powerful being who has the capability of stopping the evil and restoring balance in the galaxy. What follows is a classic narrative structure for gaming, with our main hero venturing to different location and defeating a number evil bosses and thus restoring the galaxy in full balance.
Now as I mentioned before I’m not a Dark Souls fan, but I will admit it’s designed well and has depth to its combat and gameplay. While it is mainly melee combat, everything feels as though it has purpose and skill is required to master a variation of tactics and manoeuvres. Adding guns to the mix would be rather odd but if done right, it could be the next step up.
Everything follows as a “souls” game should, players traverse different locations, take on enemies, collect “bits” which are Immortal’s equivalent of souls and the difficulty is very high, thus making the game challenging yet rewarding.
Toadman studios had an interesting idea and something that could work, if it weren’t for the poor quality. Now I don’t like bash indie games as I understand it’s much tougher for them to bring out releases. But there are other indie games on the market and even indie “souls” games which are brilliant.
What starts off promising with a neat character creation soon enough falls from grace.
Firstly the combat is highly repetitive, with a lack of interesting enemies or locations to fight them in. Movement is tank-like with aiming feeling stiff and unresponsive. Even to turn up the aiming sensitivity does very little and makes it much worse to aim. It doesn’t help that the guns aren’t much fun to use and feel very generic and underwhelming. With a cool Norse/cyber theme, you’d expect the designers to developer some pretty cool looking weapons. But they’re not, they’re all very bland, uninspiring and just look like normal guns with glowing lights on them.
Enemies don’t range better as the AI is pretty tactless, often they’d stand and shoot, move slowly towards you and shoot or just move slowly with no weapons what so ever. Apart from the teleporting enemies (which are so annoying), there’s very little danger from the enemies. In fact, the game itself is pretty darn easy. For a “souls” inspired game, this lacks the visceral sense of challenge and is a little dull. I died more times from environmental glitches or falling off ledges than I did from enemies.
Bosses don’t fare better and resort to the tired method of, lure it over, dodge and shoot it in the back for massive damage. Some of the bosses look pretty cool and there are plenty of them. But most of them are bigger versions of standard enemies with more health, more glowing lights and bigger weapons. The combat is not very impressive and underwhelming in terms of challenging gameplay.
I did like how some enemies can be disarmed if you shoot their weapons or limbs, which can be interesting to gain a tactical advantage. But the best method to bring down any enemy without a long, drawn out battle is headshots.
The world itself is rather unexciting, usually dark, lifeless and without much detail and or a captivating structure. There are bits of environmental story telling which helps give the world some substance, but overall lacks any charm to appeal. There’s nothing to make Immortal’s worlds standout and they feel highly generic. Also there are quite a few bugs and glitches present throughout the campaign.
It’s disappointing to see such a promising project, fail to execute its concept in an effective manner. The combat is tedious, the world uninspiring and overall, it’s far too easy to be even considered as a “souls” games. I’m sorry Toadman but you need to do better next time.
+ Interesting lore and concept
-- Lacks challenge of a "Souls" game
- Glitches and bugs
- Repetitive gameplay
A PS4 copy of Immortal: Unchained was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.