I was invited to a preview event to get my hands…hand on some upcoming games these impressions are based on in development build and things are more than likely going to change between the time of writing and launch that being said let’s get into it.
I and co-host of the OutofLives podcast Ben Nother have both been keenly interested in the souls-like game Immortal: Unchained so being given the chance to get to play the game I headed to London to get a hand on. The game opens with a character customization screen with a few options here and there to make your character your own the tribal tattoos after a short while my character was ready to embrace the challenge ahead.
Opening up to some futuristic hallways I explored the world I was thrown into the tight and claustrophobic hallways keep encounters tense and tight nit. After a few rooms, I had my first weapon a pistol and thus marking what makes Immortal different from the souls-borne series is its focus on gunplay over melee combat. The encounters are still just as intense and so the dance begins after popping through basic enemies and gaining the equivalent of souls.
My first real challenge was when I came across a robot with a shield and me with my small pistol had to use the close quarters to my advantage moving in and out of pipes to strike hard and fast from behind in order to slay the threat. After felling the foe it was time to come across the monolith Immortal: Unchained’s bonfire, equipping myself with a rifle and some cutlasses. Now this is where a nice blend in options revealed themselves enemies have a visible stamina bar and shooting at them wears this bar down alongside health depleting allows for more damage with guns but also getting with melee can cut limbs thus leaving enemies without weapons and therefore a quick kill.
The reason this works is it supports multiple play styles aggressive or passive and with the assumption that further progress leads to a variety of weapons like shotguns and some hopefully more out their weaponry. After maneuvering my way through the futuristic catacombs I encountered my first boss fight…naturally I died. And I died again. 5 times in total. It was a grueling learning lesson which upon overcoming gave me a huge adrenaline boost and a quiet fist pump. This is where I can safely say Immortal: Unchained had its hooks in, as much as I’m a fan of the souls-borne and my love of sci-fi fuelled me to push further.
After getting some more plot exposition I finally got a glimpse of the area potential no more was I in the cavernous catacombs it was a luscious forest on the outskirts of a city. Exploring the area lead to new types of enemies with hammers, shields and cool energy blasts. This spiked the difficulty and despite my efforts to grind up and push further time was drawing to a close so I kicked the crap out of some low tier enemies, I returned to the monolith and upgraded what I could for one final run through simply to see how far I could get. It was not far.
I left Immortal: Unchained after a 50-minute session feeling relieved and hopefully optimistic about this games place in the soul-like genre. Despite my positivity, there are a few niggling gripes the lock on seemed at times to hinder my ability to hit enemies which in a game which demands precise movements and attacks is slightly annoying. Whilst on the topic of precision the first boss had a cheap chain of attacks which allowed for no reaction time and cost me a life. The final gameplay gripe is that aside from the boss the enemy design felt very generic granted this is just the first level and the beginning of the next so I’m optimistic that this will change and enemies will vary from Ultron wannabees. Now for accessibility as this isn’t the final build of the game its difficult to assess properly but in the build, I played running on a PC there was no option to remap the controller I was using for input which made the game a little tougher than I imagined due to my disability. Hopefully in time for launch accessibility options will make it into the game.
To end on a positive the game feels like an aesthetic mix of The Surge and Bloodborne which are two games in a huge fan of and that with hopefully a more accessible take in the genre will entice people into playing the game is tough but fun. If this build is anything like the final product Immortal: Unchained has a chance to be a breakout hit and is definitely worth your time to at least look at. Immortal: Unchained launches September 7th 2018.