The consecutive play-through of Rise of Immortals had a bit of a strategy feel, without the game being strategy in any way. A child can point and click their character and do what is necessary to play a game. But Rise of Immortals felt different, vague, familiar yet distant – like a song heard again after a prolonged period of time. Something, and I’m not sure what, strikes the same chord.
It wasn’t until a month after first running through the tutorial and the first open arena, I discovered what the similarity I was feeling. It finally caught up with my damaged brain and hit me all at once – a smack in the back of my head and I knew in an instant what Immortals reminded me of.
Rise of Immortals is listed in a genre of games known in the industry as “MOBA” or Massively Online Battle Arenas. Think League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and more specifically: Defense of the Ancients.
Defense of the Ancients was an add-on map-pack for a small unknown game called Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. If you’re familiar with World of Warcraft, Warcraft III was the story arc which prompted Wrath of the Lich King involving Arthas turning into the Lich King. Some dungeons in WoW: Lich King involve you following Arthas as he tried to fight the scourge invading his demented brain back into the Warcraft III time line. Now, Warcraft III is a real time strategy game and one many developers look to (along with the original StarCraft) as the pinnacle of great strategy games. Defense was an arena-style add-on for Warcraft.
Immortals doesn’t just borrow ideas from Defense of the Ancients, it downright robs them. In Immortals, you choose your “Immortal” from a series of twelve different archetypes, all serving different purposes and play-styles. From there, you log into “the Hub” or a platform which serves no definite purpose other than to jumble players together while you wait for matches to start. When you select the style of match to play (Practice, 2v2, all the way to 5v5) you then sit and wait for your match to start. Practice is simply that: practice. No XP, no real reason to play Practice unless you need to learn how to cast spells and upgrade your weapons/defenses. The more people involved, the longer the wait time and the longer the game takes to play, but you’ll get the max amount of XP and gold along the way. The style of game is one of simplicity: defend your base while attacking the opponents pillars and necropolises and ultimately beat the opponent. Sounds simple, it’s anything but.
The first time I played Rise of Immortals, I thought it was either in Beta or still broken. Some characters were rendered in badly skinned textures while others were vibrant and vivid. Some of the spells left an effect on the map long after you stopped casting and even more confusing to the other players. Steam updated Immortals a few different times with small patches and the textures are still bad on some models, but overall are playable and continue to improve.
The game is free on Steam, attempting to profit allowing the player to purchase additional immortals and other in-game items such as dances and outfits. You will see a handful of these roaming around the Hub, but most of the time while you sit in the queue there’s not much else to do than check your skill trees and inventory waiting for the next match to start. I still don’t know if the developers are planning on putting stuff in the Hub since the 5v5 games during heavy play hours can run into 20+ minutes of waiting. Overall, Immortals still feels unfinished or at least a work in progress. If the devs can get all their strange styling and graphics issues under control, Rise of the Immortals might be a game you hear more people talking about in the future.
Pro-tip: Wait for your peons or minions to spawn before rushing out to start fighting. It’ll take a minute or two, but it’s better than waiting to re-spawn and have the rest of your team pour n00b juice on your corpse.
Bottom Line: It’s free on Steam, so you only have time to waste. However, once you get past the little quirks, it’s a fun game in the vein of Diablo-type repetitiveness. I haven’t broken a mouse yet, but I’m getting close.
|Graphics:||The graphics are the biggest single quirk with the game itself. The maps are laid out nicely with terrain and standard Fog of War for line of sight stuff, but the strange oddities using crappy textures brings the game out of focus and makes one wonder what the hell is going on.||6|
|Story:||You’re an immortal being and you fight others like yourself. In other words, no story to speak of.||5|
|Controls:||Click click click click clickity click click. Cast a spell by clicking on it or pressing the letter key and back to click click click. Simple.||8|
|Sound:||Nice soundtrack, however my wife thought I was playing Warcraft.||8|
|Kid Friendly:||There’s no blood or guts to be seen, but you are a God casting spells at other Gods. If you have a problem with your kid playing M:TG or watching Harry Potter, you won’t like what you see.||8|
|Replayability:||That’s the game style in a nutshell. Replay until your fingers go numb.||9|
|Value:||Well worth the time, I would honestly love to see this polished and have more people play to cut down the wait times. Some of the games can get a bit heated and long-winded, but overall, I’ve enjoyed playing this more than some AAA games.||10|
|Fun:||Very fun. There is a bit of a learning curve of how to upgrade weapons and spells, but once you learn how to click a mouse, you go right into playing.||9|
- Chris Tallant