Many may suggest that Immortal: Unchained is a “Soulsbourne clone” though I would argue that it is less a clone and more a standalone Sci-Fi-oriented action-RPG/third person shooter that takes the greater inspiration from the underappreciated CI Games/Deck13 title, Lords of the Fallen. However, where Lords of the Fallen was full of twisted creatures, challenging combat, excellent animations, and stunning textures, Immortal: Unchained is amateur at best with wooden animations, frustrating combat, and a story ripped right from the concept of the utterly atrocious Destiny franchise. Though the gameplay of Immortal: Unchained is great on paper, the execution of it in video game form is crude, sloppy, and downright irritating.
Immortal: Unchained sounded great right from the start; the initial trailer showed a dark and broken world, combat not all dissimilar to From Software’s Demons Souls and Dark Souls franchise (yet focused almost entirely on ranged combat), and a class-based system that would take your grossly mutated and generally ridiculous looking character (who, male or female, looks like the ugly lovechild of Hulk and Thanos, but with none of the actual energy and excellence of either of those two characters) through a near-grimdark experience.
That trailer lied.
Combat for one, is incredibly frustrating, and not because it is difficult like it can be in the Souls games mind you, but rather because of the atrocious aiming, horrifically wooden animations, and the lack of any real feeling of urgency. By the time you move through the first two areas in Immortal: Unchained even the mobs that you come across will be something that you dread, and again, not because of their difficulty. Combat is just dull and poorly executed; there is no purpose to it outside of moving from Point A to Point B, and really, the poor shooting mechanics for a third person shooter are quite unforgiveable. Playing as the Marksman class, who excels at long range, has the exact same range as literally any other character class. This means that its slow-firing yet powerful “sniper rifle” is far more of a liability than say, the Mercenary or Tracker’s weapons.
In truth it seems there was far more thought put into the various weapon types and their attributes (Energy weapon versus ballistic weapon, that sort of thing) than into the actual combat. Sure, many dungeon crawlers are loot-focused, but most also understand that in order to really get that loot, well … you sort of need to embrace combat. With Immortal: Unchained all you will be embracing is a workout in eye-rolling crudeness. If anything another 10-12 months spent on refining the movement, intensity, and urgency of combat would have been welcome… and sweet Mary Moses give us some cover mechanics. If you want to make “the first third-person shooter for the hardcore action-RPG genre” (https://www.immortalthegame.com”) that has “fast-paced tactical combat” (https://www.immortalthegame) then make the combat tactical and add a f*#$ing cover system and make the actual combat fast. Rounds are slow, movement (both enemy and your character) is slow, and outside of the fact that literally every enemy is naught but a bullet sponge, make the actual combat and intelligence of the enemy challenging.
Immortal: Unchained introduces and explains the story all too well, leaving out player facilitation and development. A part of what made Demons Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodbourne so success was player agency; in order to really “get” the story, you had to invest more than just your time into the game. You had to almost “live” it. One of the ways that From Software did that was by telling you nearly nothing about why you are there… They leave that up to the player to determine, but along that journey the challenge your will to move forward with strong combat, excellent level design, and a world that is simply teeming with character and lore. Immortal: Unchained does none of that.
I previously mentioned that Immortal: Unchained took more cues from Lords of the Fallen and it has outside of the class-based system. Lords of the Fallen was CI Games and Deck13’s move into the hardcore action-RPG genre and though not critically successful, it was an extremely enjoyable run through a bright but grim world, but it played “heavy,” and a large part of that was because the character was this hulking brute of a fellow that wore heft plate armor or, for a bit of a speed increase, could throw on some bulky leather armor. But that little bit, that “heavy” physical presence could justify the hefty movement / slow, ambling jaunt of the characters in that world. Immortal: Unchained attempts to do the same, following in a near identical path, but rather than provide some level of intensity or gravity in their physics, the wooden animations and slow pace are less of a character and more of a crutch … and a sign of poor design.