Home » Phantom Fury PC review – More than a half-life

Phantom Fury PC review – More than a half-life

Phantom Fury featured image PC review

If you’ve been following Phantom Fury at all, you’ve likely been exposed to the negative publicity it’s received. Developed by Slipgate Ironworks instead of the Ion Fury devs at Voidpoint, the game has come under some scrutiny due to perceived issues with its demo, especially compared to the look and feel of the game it’s following up. Due to all this and more, I didn’t have high hopes going in. This wasn’t assuaged upon seeing the game’s opening but, after a while, I found myself having a great deal of fun. While it’s not up to the level of Ion Fury, this is still a unique, engaging FPS that offers quality gameplay and level design.

While Ion Fury is very much in the vein of Duke Nukem 3D, Phantom Fury is more akin to Half-Life. That being said, it sometimes sits in between, as some levels do focus on exploring to find keycards to open doors with. In this way, it’s more like a blend between an old-school Boomer Shooter and more linear games. While there is an attempt to have a long journey in spots, the game is still divided up into clear levels, typically with a series of objectives. It’s due to this that the experience feels more like a mix of different influences as opposed to just trying to replicate a specific game’s look and feel.

That being said, there’s still tons of Half-Life‘s DNA here. The general level design is very reminiscent of it, as you’ll often be presented with challenges that can only be bested through proper environment navigation. There’s honestly a ton of variety in the levels. You’ll find yourself indoors a fair amount, but many of the game’s areas are quite large and upgrade materials can be found off the beaten path. Some levels are more gimmicky, such as one where you’re driving a Jeep over a decent stretch, only to have to get out and open the way forward before you can proceed. Want an on-rails section where you’re shooting vehicles down while in a jet? You’ll find that too.

Phantom Fury review combat

The game’s presentation is a bit of an odd duck. From a distance, things can look somewhat modern, but all the textures are chunky and pixelated. The visuals are honestly rather charming and the levels themselves are also visually interesting. There’s an obvious attempt here to try and have the presentation still somewhat resemble Ion Fury, which I appreciated. But the game looks good, even if it doesn’t try as hard to actually look like Half-Life as you might imagine. However, I preferred this, as the game definitely ends up feeling like more of its own beast despite the obvious homages to its inspiration.

Phantom Fury sees you finding lots of new guns as you progress. And I do mean lots. You find a normal pistol at first but it doesn’t take long to find Shelly’s trademark hand cannon, multiple kinds of machine guns, explosives, and more. There are just a ton of weapons in the game and most have secondary functions that can be unlocked via upgrades. Due to the nature of this many weapons, I just always felt like a walking arsenal that was topped up with a ton of ammo. It’s refreshing to see and the weapons are versatile enough that they’re useful even compared to others.

As for shooting, it feels pretty solid. The guns are satisfying to use and, while the way that enemies responded to taking damage in the demo came under significant fire, it’s just fine in the finished product. There’s a serious amount of zoned gibbing here. Limbs and heads pop off with enough damage in some pretty grotesque ways. While you can use melee attacks with Shelly’s trusty baton, she also has a stronger bionic arm punch that just causes many enemies to explode. It’s brutal. The arm also gets a shield that can block certain types of damage as well.

Phantom Fury review vehicle combat

Small purple items are found throughout the levels that are used to upgrade Shelly’s suit, arm, and weapons at occasional kiosks. As you explore you’ll also find ammo, health, and armour around. Phantom Fury really is a good blend of different older FPS styles. However, enemy variety is kind of low. You’ll mostly be up again soldiers and zombies that don’t pose much threat. Larger, more imposing varieties do show up, but they aren’t a constant presence. Overall, I think the same enemies are repeated too much, but the level design and variety of locales does a lot to mitigate this.

The game has some bugs here and there, as I occasionally got caught on geometry or fell through the world, but it’s fairly stable for the most part. I will say that some combat encounters can feel uneven, as some have difficulty spikes come out of nowhere that made me feel like they weren’t balanced. On normal, though, the game won’t give most players much trouble. Fighting big hordes of zombies that keep piping in can get monotonous, though.

Phantom Fury is far better than I anticipated and I’m glad I ended up giving it a fair chance. It offers a satisfying mix of different influences and adds enough of its own flavour to make for a very enjoyable game, especially if you’ve been hankering for something reminiscent of the original Half-Life. It’s got a solid amount of content (especially considering the price and overall production values,) lots of fun guns to shoot, and levels that are a blast to explore, so it’s easy to recommend even for people who weren’t into Ion Fury.

Phantom Fury review boss fight

Phantom Fury: Phantom Fury manages to deliver a lot of 90s-esque shooting in a surprisingly robust package that genre fans will likely appreciate. Andrew Farrell

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