Ion Fury recounts the story of Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, a bomb disposal expert aligned to the Global Defense Force. Bombshell needs to track down Dr. Jadus Heskel, a transhumanist cult leader, whom unleashed an army of cybernetically-enhanced soldiers in the futuristic dystopian city known as Neo D.C..
Unlike today’s FPS games, Ion Fury is classic throwback and spiritual successor to early games such as DOOM 64, Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior; just to name a few. This a refreshing take on the genre in a world where Call of Duty is king. You have to roam around levels killing enemies, picking up ammo, armor and (unfortunately) colored keycards to move forward (a bit more on that below).
Much like any FPS titles, Ion Fury features a bevy of additional weapons which can be picked up. And there’s a decent variety here. My only gripe is the usage of grenades. Instead of just throwing in and waiting for the Boom, you have to lit it up and then throw it nearby enemies. If you throw it without lighting it up, it’ll just land on the ground waiting to be picked up. If you’re able to hit an enemy, then it will explode, killing nearby enemies. If you get to close to an enemy, there’s no immediate melee attack you can do to get some space; there’s an electrified nightstick you can use, but you have to be quick to equip it.
Old school FPS also means no precise aiming. In today’s games, pressing the left trigger also for some precise aiming so it can help you shoot better and make sure you hit the target. In Ion Fury, the left trigger has no purpose except for two weapons: when using the LT with the magnum, it allows you to target enemies and releasing it will fire targeting enemies. And with a grenade, it will lit it up so you can have explosive results.
Each area is also filled with secret areas which will requires players to explore every inch of the map. Things are not always hidden in plain sight; I wasted who knows how much time in a single map trying to find the way out and still didn’t find all the secrets. Before proceeding to the next map, the game will give you a warning indicating the amount of secrets left to be found; it gives players a chance to find missing treasures before moving forward.
The main problem here, while it does feel like an homage to classic FPS games, they have taken things too far. Having to navigate through similar looking areas to find colored keycards to open doors that matches the card’s color is really annoying and archaic. Obviously, you also have no help as to where to go. Sometimes, you’ll find hints scrambled on the walls indicating you a possible area which will help you move forward. There’s also a map, but it’s pretty useless besides indicating where you are located in the area. It’s similar to DOOM 64’s map where there’s a line only version and the alternate of it is a bird’s eye view of the area. This will definitely only appeal to older gamers who grew up on games like Duke Nukem 3D.
As with the gameplay, the game is presented in high def pixaleted goodness. The game looks great overall; sometimes however it can be difficult to spot enemies from far away as they can get confused with the background, so you’ll run around wondering where bullets are coming from. The enemy variety is decent, although can be repetitive at times. The soundtrack is awesome. The score is mostly an upbeat synthwave inspired soundtrack which fits the on-screen action. It also features a few more darky, slow tracks to instill a sense of uneasiness. Our heroine also has a tendency to drop a few vulgar quips here and there. It’s funny at first, but it does overstay its welcome as you hear the same things being repeated.
If you’re craving classic FPS games from late 90s and early 2000s, then Ion Fury is the game for you. It’s a carbon copy of what once was; confusing navigation, hunting for colored keycards, decent arsenal of weapons and crazy shooting sequences. For those who are more comfortable with current games from the FPS will find a confusing, frustrating and limited experience. If they had taken the best from past games mixed with newer mechanics from more recent FPS games, this could’ve been so much more.
- Homage to 90s FPS
- Decent weapon variety
- Archaic by today’s standards
- Lack of weapon wheel makes weapon selection clunky