Phantom Fury is a mere phantom of the classics – Review – WGB

The regular rise of the boomer-shooter has been one thing relatively particular, a deliberate transfer again to the times when FPS video games had been much less concerning the realism and extra concerning the pure enjoyable. There are lots of parts that make a recreation a boomer-shooter, from the graphical type which apes the classics to the run and gun taking pictures. Make no mistake: Phantom Fury is a boomer-shooter. Sadly, it isn’t one of many higher ones.

That is really a sequel to Ion Fury, itself a sequel to 2016’s Bombshell, which was launched in 2021, that includes Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison and her robotic arm. Whereas Ion Fury was impressed by the likes of Duke Nukem 3D and DOOM, Phantom Fury shifted its focus towards the late 90s and early 2000s. Suppose Severe Sam: The First Encounter and also you’ll be in the proper ballpark.

It’s essential to know although, that whereas the well-received Ion Fury was developed by Voidpoint, Phantom Fury was made by SlipGate Ironworks who additionally made the unique Bombshell which was…not so well-received.

However whereas it is a sequel, you don’t have to have performed Ion Fury to leap into Shelly’s newest journey as a result of, truthfully, the plot is extra like background noise anyway. Shelly awakes from a coma to search out herself inside an underground base, grabs the closest weapon (a stun baton) and embarks on a journey to save lots of the world from some nonsense or different. She’ll throw out some one-liners and quips alongside the best way, none of which seize the crassness or charisma of Duke Nukem. The occasional character pops in as properly, trying to justify your shenanigans and all of the explosions however by no means managing to.

Like its inspirations, Phantom Fury is about taking pictures excess of telling a cohesive or fascinating story. There’s none of that major and secondary weapon nonsense right here: Shelly is old-school and might magically match her whole arsenal of firepower, of which there’s so much, into her non-existent pockets. It’s that or she’s becoming them some place else, however I refuse to enterprise up that rabbit gap. There’s the everyday selections of a shotgun, an assault rifle and a rocket launcher, augmented with a spicier implements of destruction like an acid-spitting alien tentacle…errr, factor, a photon rifle and bowling ball bombs. Whereas I like the concept of creating gamers determine which weapons to take, there’s one thing lovely about having each weapon immediately out there.

The factor about having an enormous arsenal is overlap, and that’s one thing Phantom Fury does undergo from. The usual pistol is totally ineffective in comparison with the Loverboy revolver which additionally boasts an absurdly overpowered lock-on means, whereas the SMGs are largely usurped by the assault rifle. The Stun Baton has no cause to exist other than often powering up an electrical field, and the identical could be mentioned for the round noticed which you’ll generally whip out to grind via a locked door however is in any other case ineffective towards enemies as a consequence of a scarcity of ammo for it.

Alongside the best way you get an opportunity to improve your weapons, giving them additional talents that serve no objective in comparison with the superior go well with and gun upgrades. The shotgun’s blinding flashlight is okay, for instance, however not likely price spending improve factors on.

The fight is pretty fast-paced, emphasising loads of strafing and dodging out and in of canopy at any time when it’s out there whereas waves of baddies attempt to flip you right into a tremendous pink mist. Its very primary motion, considerably missing in suggestions from the enemies you shoot and affected by anaemic weapons. It’s not unhealthy per se, however I can’t say I loved the gunplay both – it’s serviceable, often enjoyable however principally forgettable and in want of extra enemy selection to maintain issues recent.

One factor Phantom Fury doesn’t push as a lot because it ought to is Shelly’s robotic arm. You may smash enemies to a pulp with it, therefore a good recharge time, however with the wealth of firearms out there I really discovered myself barely ever utilizing Shelly’s helpful battering ram. It doesn’t get used a lot in puzzles or exploration both, which is stunning. Contemplating its her sole defining trait (her persona doesn’t have a lot happening) you’d count on it to be woven into the gameplay.

One of many enjoyable little methods Phantom Fury mimics its inspirations is thru heaps of interactable objects, reminding me of the times of Duke Nukem 3D the place you would flush bogs, chug booze and press each button. Most of it’s utterly pointless however that doesn’t cease it from feeling oddly satisfying, and generally it results in cool minigames reminiscent of an arcade gentle gun recreation. Different occasions it may be a little bit baffling as a result of objects that look interactable, together with doorways, aren’t at all times. I truthfully thought we had moved previous the times of some doorways being, y’know, precise doorways whereas others aren’t, however right here we’re. Thoughts you, Phantom Fury hasn’t fairly moved previous the concept of invisible partitions, both.

The sport is at its finest after the primary few hours of linear ranges. Later environments open up into sprawling layouts that twist and loop, together with a number of doorways that require good old style colour-coded safety playing cards. These larger zones require some correct exploration and even a good reminiscence since there’s no mini-map or something like that. God enable you when you cease taking part in and are available again after just a few days. On the one hand, the vast majority of the time its enjoyable to determine what to do subsequent and it seems like the sport and its builders really belief you get the job finished. Then again, there have been just a few moments had been I discovered myself genuinely caught for some time as a result of I couldn’t fathom what the sport needed of me as a result of the signposting wasn’t as much as snuff.

There are just a few vibrant areas reminiscent of a jungle or a enjoyable part involving a pub, however final there are too many corridors, navy bases and gloomy interiors, harkening again to the old fashioned shooters within the unsuitable means. Hell, the sport even manages to wedge a sewer part into the motion that appears depressing from a graphical standpoint. Certain, it makes the few splashes of colors present in outside ranges stand out, however I’d relatively spend much less time exploring the within of a concrete bunker, particularly throughout the ultimate third of the sport.

Phantom Fury additionally tries to interrupt up the circulation every now and then with one thing completely different, like driving alongside boring roads in a 4×4 or an on-rails helicopter part the place you gun down enemy plane. These sections are very hit and miss when it comes to high quality, however do at the very least present some selection. The identical could be mentioned of the boss fights which generally pit you towards some large foe with an equally large well being bar to whittle down through the cautious utility of shit-tons of ammo and explosives. I can’t say there’s something creative about these fights, although: you’ve seen ’em all earlier than.

Even weeks after launching, I discovered fairly just a few technical issues with Phantom Fury, the most important of which was the dozen or so crashes on my PS5. At one level it crashed a number of occasions in a single part, shutting down the sport simply earlier than I might get to the subsequent checkpoint and thus halting my progress till I utterly turned off the console and booted it again up. Different issues are much less annoying, like being randomly catapulted into the air as a result of physics system actually not liking that particular barrel that rolled into my ankles, or enemies ignoring my existence like I’m an issue they’re furiously hoping will go away in the event that they don’t transfer. They’re unsuitable.


Score: 2.5 out of 5.

I’d be extra keen to disregard these points if the gameplay was stronger, nevertheless it isn’t. It’s not a foul recreation, however there are many different boomer-shooters on the market – like Boltgun, the wonderful Selaco and even Ion Fury, for that matter – that do it so significantly better.

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