There are two strategies to play a neo-retro shooter like Ion Fury. One: embrace its zippy movement similar to you are speedrunning a ’90s movement movie, twitching and snapshotting your method by corridors. Two: meticulously run your eyes and fingers alongside every pixelated flooring until you have got combed your whole map for secrets and techniques and methods.
2019 is tiny renaissance for model spanking new FPSes impressed by earlier FPSes. The place Amid Evil and Dusk conjured the spirit of Quake and Heretic, Ion Fury is printed by the company that created Duke Nukem 3D, in a retrofitted mannequin of the distinctive Assemble Engine. It’s the gaming equal of a band reuniting for a model new album 20 years later.
Ion Fury does recreate a number of the problems that made Duke Nukem 3D good. An movement hero’s arsenal. Cheesy one-liners. Vibrant, expansive environments are dense with enemies and hard-to-spot secret passages. At one stage I wanted to stun an enemy with my electrified baton, crouch-jump onto their skull, and leap to a ledge with a view to realize a hidden house.
Nonetheless as a result of it doubles down on the earlier, Ion Fury retains just a few of that interval’s limitations, too: dead-simple boss habits, paper-thin storytelling, and a modest feeling of repetition in direction of the highest of its 10-hour advertising and marketing marketing campaign. Nonetheless, it’s potent nostalgia for anyone with affection for or curiosity about ’90s FPSes.
VIDEO: A sample of Ion Fury’s speedy struggle circulation, capped off by a minor Easter Egg.
No matter its deep connection to Duke Nukem, Ion Fury’s tone is surprisingly completely completely different. Supercop heroine Shelly Hamilton (initially written as Duke’s sidekick in Duke Nukem With out finish) isn’t the crass, over-the-top parody that her crew-cutted cousin is. She drops catchphrases, nonetheless they aren’t crude. The enemies she shoots are equally extreme, a army of cloaked troopers and a few spooky man-machine hybrids which will be miles away from pig cops in a strip membership.
Ion Fury feels a bit further like RoboCop Doom—self-aware, nonetheless not likely silly—than it does Duke Nukem, then. And whereas I really feel that the game’s setting is certainly one amongst its most interesting factors, there have been events that I missed the outright stupidity of Duke, notably in Ion Fury’s comparatively vanilla weapon set.
You have bought shot most of these weapons sooner than. Usually 3D Realms’ technique is to take the model staples that’ve sat alongside your keyboard’s amount keys for years and plug in little variations on the alt fire button. It’s possible you’ll dual-wield the SMGs, which ignite enemies with incendiary ammo. It’s possible you’ll spin the chaingun with out firing it, like Employees Fortress 2’s Heavy. It’s possible you’ll load the shotgun with shells or pipe grenades, which doesn’t quite a bit actually really feel like an thrilling alt-fire mode as a result of it does a method of merging two typical weapons.
The weapons are a bit too acquainted. Given its mad scientist villain and near-future setting, I wanted Ion Fury to put one factor ridiculous in my fingers. The closest the game includes a bona fide BFG are explosive discs that erupt proper right into a fat cloud of cluster bombs. And there may be the Bowling Bomb, a rolling grenade that homes-in on enemies when you value it up—playful, nonetheless a bit too fire-and-forget for my liking. It feels good to crack open a door and detonate an entire room with one amongst 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 on a retro shooter to ship one factor new?
Completely different gripes: I don’t love how environment friendly the shotgun is at longer ranges because of it means I hardly put it down. Auto-aim kicks in typically and can’t be disabled, a particular annoyance on single-shot weapons identical to the vitality crossbow.
The weapons individually underwhelm, nonetheless they work correctly adequate as a workers. Like most good ’90s FPSes, Ion Fury feels most interesting when you sprint into hazard after which improvise your method out of it, biking between 5 or 6 weapons as you crouch-dodge, circle-strafe, run out of ammo, and lunge for a nicely being package deal. Headshots are a welcome fashionable factor, and the feeling of melting Ion Fury’s main enemy with a single revolver flick wouldn’t get earlier. Runner-up: rebounding a pipe grenade off a door physique to frag the cultist prepared inside.
Ion Fury’s hand-placed enemies are typically able to ambush you spherical corners, they normally put up battle. Cyborg skulls with spider legs grasp on the ceiling ready to leap on you within the occasion you don’t seek for. Legless jetpack monstrosities fling traces of micro rockets at you, filling corridors with splash damage. My favorites have been the mobile minibosses which emerge halfway by the game and ultimately pressured me to backpedal. It’s important to pick an issue diploma that challenges you, as you probably cannot change this setting mid-campaign (although Ion Fury’s seven chapters is likely to be launched individually).
Nonetheless Ion Fury’s chapter bosses are a lot much less reliable. They undoubtedly take a look at the nostalgia subject with their straightforward scripting and exploitability. At their most interesting, you might be leaping spherical an infinite room at full tempo with a view to beat them, emptying every gun you might be carrying. At their worst, you might be standing nonetheless and unloading eight uninterrupted grenades proper right into a cybernetic tank man who’s been outsmarted by stairs. 3D Realms’ reluctance to convey an extreme quantity of of the present into Ion Fury hurts the game proper right here.
Within the occasion that they Assemble it, we’ll come
Developer Voidpoint’s love of the model is tangible inside Ion Fury’s ranges. I actually like the game’s color palette, the coat of blue-grey textures and sprites that persist with you as you shoot your method by slightly-futuristic cities and underground labs, partitions which will be coated with variously easy-to-spot references to Doom, Duke, Half-Life, and completely different video video games of the interval. All the world looks like its been marinating in its private juices since 1996, and almost every nook feels hand-crafted. At one stage I stumbled proper right into a Hogan’s Alley police teaching course blended with paper targets and enemies. Behind a bar, I threw Bowling Bombs down a literal bowling alley crawling with cyborg spiders. Just a few dank, muddy sections are the one exception.
True to its retro inspiration, Ion Fury relies upon almost solely on colored security keycards to gate progress by these ranges. And much more true to those Nukem roots, the other method that Ion Fury opens doorways is with explosions (these are so frequent that Shelly lastly remarks in exasperation that every time she touches a button, one factor blows up). These paths are laid out elegantly. Every diploma builds in an amount of pleasant backtracking, and delicate signposting signifies that you’re feeling wise when you make your method by the maze.
It’s worth noting that Ion Fury’s Assemble Engine backbone wouldn’t present any technical factors. The game helps widescreen resolutions and an FOV differ of 70-120, and an fps cap of 240—Ion Fury is doubtless one of many unusual video video games that you’ll most definitely be succesful to hit that ceiling within the occasion you are working a variable refresh present. Quicksave and quickload are correct there on F6 and F9, nonetheless you probably can prohibit the number of saves or disable checkpoints for a further spartan experience.
Even alongside completely different newest, great retro FPSes, Ion Fury reminds us of how quite a bit this period of PC gaming has to provide. It’s actually the simplest issue that’s ever occurred throughout the Assemble Engine, and although limitations of enemy and weapon design reveal themselves over time, the swift movement and clean maps make Ion Fury a worthy indulgence beforehand.