Immortals' New DLC Taught Me A Lot About Chinese Mythology

Illustration for article titled Immortals' New DLC Taught Me A Lot About Chinese Mythology
Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku

It’s probably fair to say most DLC isn’t that great or memorable. That was the case with the first download for Immortals Fenyx Rising, which added a bunch of new puzzles and not much else. However, the game’s second DLC, Myths of the Eastern Realms, is a rare example of good downloadable content. In fact, this new DLC set in ancient China is so good I wish it were its own game.

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Released earlier today, Myths of the Eastern Realms is a big departure from the previous DLC and the original game. Before you played as a Greek hero helping the gods from Greek mythology with their problems and fetch quests. In Eastern Realms, you are no longer in ancient Greece or even Europe. Instead, things take place in ancient China, starring Ku, a young man who wakes up after a big disaster to find he’s the only human survivor. Quickly he meets Nuwa, a powerful goddess. The pair team up, eventually, to stop the evil infecting the Earth and Heaven above.

The big appeal of this new DLC is its fresh setting and storyline. I’ll fully admit, I know next to nothing about Chinese mythology, and I bet I’m not alone in my ignorance. But this lack of knowledge meant that Myths of the Eastern Realms felt so exciting. As I played through the first two hours I found myself constantly going, “Who’s that?!” or, “Wow, what a cool story!” Compared to the main game, which featured Greek gods I’m extremely familiar with, I was so much more engaged and ready to learn more, just because I had no idea what was going on. I’ve already done some Googling and Wikipedia surfing because of this game, and as someone who genuinely enjoys learning new things, that’s a huge plus.

Being a game that is set in ancient China and is made by a game studio in China, I really wish it were available as a separate $10-15 side game. I think a lot of folks who didn’t have an interest in Immortals and its arguably boring Greek setting might get a kick out of exploring a world rarely seen in Western video games. Maybe one day Ubisoft will do this. But for now, you’ll need the full Immortals game to play.

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Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku

As for how it actually plays, there’s a reason I’ve waited until now to talk about it. Did you play Immortals? If so, you’ve mostly experienced what Eastern Realms has to offer. There is some unique-to-this-DLC stuff, like new puzzle mechanics involving clouds and wind, but most of this game is a reskin of the original title. Which isn’t a bad thing if, like me, you enjoyed that game a lot. But if you didn’t like Immortals: Fenyx Rising, its new setting is unlikely to address anything you took issue with.

Something to note: If you found the writing of Immortals to be overly grating, Eastern Realms tones this down a bunch. It’s still there, that slightly too-jokey vibe that put many players off the original game, but it pops up far less often. My guess is this had a smaller budget, so it has less voice acting overall. It’s a benefit for those who found Zeus annoying though.

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Myths of the Eastern Realms won’t win over players who hated Immortals, but for folks looking to learn something new, or who just want more puzzle-filled open-world action, this is exactly the sort of DLC we should see more of.

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Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.

DISCUSSION

seanbond007
Sean Bond

I’m a huge fan of Greek mythology, so a pivot to Chinese myth isn’t exactly what I hoped for, but I have to say, this is pretty awesome. Not only are they taking a risk with a pivot like this, but they’re doing it to explore a mythology I personally don’t get to see that much in videogames, so I’m excited to dive in.