For whatever reason, out of the three big Ubisoft titles that launched late last year, Immortals: Fenyx Rising was the one that seemed to fall to the wayside more than the others. Yet, the game, developed by Ubisoft Quebec, was actually pretty great, and in my opinion was actually the best of the three, and that's putting it ahead of Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion. The title provided us a new look at the Greek gods, in a beautiful and colourful open world, and it ensured the whole package was interesting by also giving us plenty of exciting and unique abilities. Just recently, the second major expansion for the game (Myths of the Eastern Realm) launched, and it brought us a new location, a new pantheon of gods and even an entirely new protagonist to become attached to.
Unlike the base game or the first expansion, Myths of the Eastern Realm is a standalone experience not related to Fenyx. Created by Ubisoft Chengdu, this adventure focusses on a new hero named Ku and takes a step away from the Greek pantheon in favour of the Chinese gods. Due to this switch in setting, Myths of the Eastern Realm also has a completely new map to explore, and while it does share a lot of similarities with the base game, pretty much everything has been re-skinned to suit the Asian setting. From consumable items such as pomegranates (which are now peaches), the various enemies you'll face, and even the Coins of Charon (which are now Jade Coins), the expansion is rooted in familiarity, but it's also unique and different.
The storyline itself is also very similar to the main game. Ku awakens in a mystical land where his friends have been turned to stone. Confused and alone, Ku follows a harmonious call, which ends up being the goddess Nuwa singing. After chatting with the deity, Ku discovers that Tao Lu has opened up the Bu Zhou mountain, creating a Scar tarnishing the skies above the land (similar to Typhon's mountain in the main game) unleashing a force too powerful for human and god alike. Using his abilities, Ku must help the goddess save the lands - and yes, that is pretty much the exact same concept of the base game.
The interesting part is that the similarities aren't necessarily a bad thing. You're given a lot of the upgrades from the main game to start with, and besides having to unlock Godly Powers (that are once again similar to what we've come to know) and reacquire your wings, you can basically do everything Fenyx could do from minute one. I will say that this does hamper a lot of the challenge of the DLC. I decided to play on the hardest difficulty for my first run of Myths of the Eastern Realm, and I don't recall ever dying in combat due to being pretty much fully equipped from minute one - that's not to say there weren't some tough encounters to face.
The main differences between this DLC and Fenyx's adventure come from the fact that you cannot change Ku's appearance. There are other weapon and armour skins to be found that offer a unique look and come with different enhancements, but Ku's gender and physical appearance is not a trait that can be changed, unlike Fenyx. On top of this, the land itself is very different to the Golden Isle. The open world is situated in the mountains with a deep cloud cover hiding it from the world below, meaning there are way more opportunities to fall to your death here - something I managed to do more times than I'd care to admit.
Aside from the fact that Myths of the Eastern Realm is very much just a mini, re-skinned version of the Immortals storyline, it is really fun to play and is a breath of fresh air when compared to the A New God DLC that came before it - that basically just served as a bumper edition of new puzzle vaults to solve. Myths of the Eastern Realm isn't without flaws: it's quite short and the map is packed with less content compared to the base game. I managed to blast through everything the new DLC offered in around five hours, which is actually less time than it took me to complete A New God - an expansion I'm still not a huge fan of today.
But, even with its flaws and shorter length, I still had a riot exploring Myths of the Eastern Realm. It's precisely what Immortals: Fenyx Rising fans have been looking for; a new storyline packed with lore, combat, puzzles, and daft and often outright hilarious dialogue. Hearing the Chinese god of water Gong Gong tell me "no biggie" when he couldn't get his fire staff to light is something I will cherish, but it's only part about what makes this expansion and game so fun to play.