There are two methods to play a neo-retro shooter like Ion Fury. One: embrace its zippy motion just like you’re speedrunning a ’90s motion film, twitching and snapshotting your technique by corridors. Two: meticulously run your eyes and fingers alongside each pixelated flooring till you’ve got combed your complete map for secrets and techniques and methods and strategies.
2019 is tiny renaissance for mannequin spanking new FPSes impressed by earlier FPSes. The place Amid Evil and Nightfall conjured the spirit of Quake and Heretic, Ion Fury is printed by the corporate that created Duke Nukem 3D, in a retrofitted model of the distinctive Assemble Engine. It is the gaming equal of a band reuniting for a mannequin new album 20 years later.
Ion Fury does recreate quite a lot of the issues that made Duke Nukem 3D good. An motion hero’s arsenal. Tacky one-liners. Vibrant, expansive environments are dense with enemies and hard-to-spot secret passages. At one stage I wished to stun an enemy with my electrified baton, crouch-jump onto their cranium, and leap to a ledge with a view to comprehend a hidden home.
Nonetheless because of it doubles down on the sooner, Ion Fury retains just some of that interval’s limitations, too: dead-simple boss habits, paper-thin storytelling, and a modest feeling of repetition in course of the best of its 10-hour promoting and advertising and marketing advertising and marketing marketing campaign. Nonetheless, it is potent nostalgia for anybody with affection for or curiosity about ’90s FPSes.
VIDEO: A pattern of Ion Fury’s speedy wrestle circulation, capped off by a minor Easter Egg.
Irrespective of its deep connection to Duke Nukem, Ion Fury’s tone is surprisingly fully fully completely different. Supercop heroine Shelly Hamilton (initially written as Duke’s sidekick in Duke Nukem With out end) is not the crass, over-the-top parody that her crew-cutted cousin is. She drops catchphrases, nonetheless they are not crude. The enemies she shoots are equally excessive, a military of cloaked troopers and some spooky man-machine hybrids which might be miles away from pig cops in a strip membership.
Ion Fury feels a bit additional like RoboCop Doom—self-aware, nonetheless not going foolish—than it does Duke Nukem, then. And whereas I actually really feel that the sport’s setting is definitely one among its most fascinating elements, there have been occasions that I missed the outright stupidity of Duke, notably in Ion Fury’s comparatively vanilla weapon set.
You will have purchased shot most of those weapons prior to. Normally 3D Realms’ approach is to take the mannequin staples that’ve sat alongside your keyboard’s quantity keys for years and plug in little variations on the alt fireplace button. It is attainable you will dual-wield the SMGs, which ignite enemies with incendiary ammo. It is attainable you will spin the chaingun with out firing it, like Workers Fortress 2’s Heavy. It is attainable you will load the shotgun with shells or pipe grenades, which does not fairly a bit really actually really feel like an thrilling alt-fire mode because of it does a way of merging two typical weapons.
The weapons are a bit too acquainted. Given its mad scientist villain and near-future setting, I wished Ion Fury to place one issue ridiculous in my fingers. The closest the sport features a bona fide BFG are explosive discs that erupt correct proper right into a fats cloud of cluster bombs. And there stands out as the Bowling Bomb, a rolling grenade that homes-in on enemies if you worth it up—playful, nonetheless a bit too fire-and-forget for my liking. It feels good to crack open a door and detonate a whole room with one among these throwables, nonetheless yow will uncover weirder weapons in Duke Nukem fan mod Alien Armageddon, which presents rolling turret bots, an ice cannon, and an RPG that lobs miniature nukes. Is it incorrect to depend upon a retro shooter to ship one issue new?
Utterly completely different gripes: I do not love how surroundings pleasant the shotgun is at longer ranges due to it means I hardly put it down. Auto-aim kicks in usually and cannot be disabled, a specific annoyance on single-shot weapons equivalent to the vitality crossbow.
The weapons individually underwhelm, nonetheless they work appropriately ample as a staff. Like most good ’90s FPSes, Ion Fury feels most fascinating if you dash into hazard after which improvise your technique out of it, biking between 5 or 6 weapons as you crouch-dodge, circle-strafe, run out of ammo, and lunge for a properly being bundle deal. Headshots are a welcome trendy issue, and the sensation of melting Ion Fury’s most important enemy with a single revolver flick would not get earlier. Runner-up: rebounding a pipe grenade off a door physique to frag the cultist ready inside.
Ion Fury’s hand-placed enemies are usually in a position to ambush you spherical corners, they usually put up battle. Cyborg skulls with spider legs grasp on the ceiling able to leap on you throughout the event you do not look for. Legless jetpack monstrosities fling traces of micro rockets at you, filling corridors with splash harm. My favorites have been the cell minibosses which emerge midway by the sport and in the end pressured me to backpedal. It is necessary to choose a difficulty diploma that challenges you, as you in all probability can’t change this setting mid-campaign (though Ion Fury’s seven chapters is prone to be launched individually).
Nonetheless Ion Fury’s chapter bosses are lots a lot much less dependable. They undoubtedly check out the nostalgia topic with their simple scripting and exploitability. At their most fascinating, you is likely to be leaping spherical an infinite room at full tempo with a view to beat them, emptying each gun you is likely to be carrying. At their worst, you is likely to be standing nonetheless and unloading eight uninterrupted grenades correct proper right into a cybernetic tank man who’s been outsmarted by stairs. 3D Realms’ reluctance to convey an excessive amount of of the current into Ion Fury hurts the sport correct proper right here.
Inside the event that they Assemble it, we’ll come
Developer Voidpoint’s love of the mannequin is tangible inside Ion Fury’s ranges. I really like the sport’s colour palette, the coat of blue-grey textures and sprites that stick with you as you shoot your technique by slightly-futuristic cities and underground labs, partitions which might be coated with variously easy-to-spot references to Doom, Duke, Half-Life, and fully completely different video video video games of the interval. All of the world appears like its been marinating in its personal juices since 1996, and virtually each nook feels hand-crafted. At one stage I stumbled correct proper right into a Hogan’s Alley police educating course blended with paper targets and enemies. Behind a bar, I threw Bowling Bombs down a literal bowling alley crawling with cyborg spiders. Only a few dank, muddy sections are the one exception.
True to its retro inspiration, Ion Fury depends upon virtually solely on coloured safety keycards to gate progress by these ranges. And way more true to these Nukem roots, the opposite technique that Ion Fury opens doorways is with explosions (these are so frequent that Shelly lastly remarks in exasperation that each time she touches a button, one issue blows up). These paths are laid out elegantly. Each diploma builds in an quantity of nice backtracking, and delicate signposting signifies that you feel clever if you make your technique by the maze.
It is price noting that Ion Fury’s Assemble Engine spine would not current any technical elements. The sport helps widescreen resolutions and an FOV differ of 70-120, and an fps cap of 240—Ion Fury is likely certainly one of many uncommon video video video games that you’re going to most positively be succesful to hit that ceiling throughout the event you’re working a variable refresh current. Quicksave and quickload are right there on F6 and F9, nonetheless you in all probability can prohibit the variety of saves or disable checkpoints for an additional spartan expertise.
Even alongside fully completely different latest, nice retro FPSes, Ion Fury reminds us of how fairly a bit this era of PC gaming has to offer. It is really the best concern that is ever occurred all through the Assemble Engine, and though limitations of enemy and weapon design reveal themselves over time, the swift motion and clear maps make Ion Fury a worthy indulgence beforehand.