Immortal: Unchained Review: A Souls-like with Guns

Another day, another Souls-like. This time, it's the independently-produced action-RPG Immortal: Unchained, a fawning adaptation of Souls tropes fused into a third-person sci-fi shooter. Reusing many of the raw systems in the original Souls series with shameless abandon, the game is an ambitious, somewhat misguided attempt that shoots for a AAA level of quality. In the right light and its finest moments, the intention feels genuine and worthy, but those snapshots are fleeting when considering the game as a whole.
Maybe the shoddiness stems from the aspects that are most specifically taken outright from the Souls games — the opaque narrative that is yet delivered matter-of-factly, the lore-heavy item descriptions, the ethereal currency that can be rescued after death, and the unexplained array of systems and techniques that are only intelligible after spending considerable time in its world. It doesn't help that first impressions are dull, with Immortal: Unchaineddoing nothing to ingratiate player attention right off the bat, offering a starter prison-like area that is boring to both look at and explore; there seems little impetus to scrape through its barren architecture, which will take most new players at least two hours to complete.

It's a shame, because there does seem to be considerable thought put into the world around the game. Immortal: Unchained tells a fractured story featuring alien technology and a conquest over multiple planets, all evoked through a gloomy sci-fi lens. The graphical design isn't exactly eye-popping — if anything, it's eye-squinting, with poor lighting frequently muting its more colorful environments — but there are occasional flashes of detail and novelty. The game world works best when it leans on its strange machinery and monolithic alien architecture, where even the simplest treasure chests are bizarrely shaped hissing machines that slide to life like Hellraiser's Lament Configuration.


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