Phantom Fury Review – Fun-Filled Rampage

Phantom Fury is a follow-up to Ion Fury, taking place a few years into the future. Read on to figure out how well it holds up.

Posted By | On 24th, Apr. 2024

Phantom Fury Review – Fun-Filled Rampage

Boomer shooters have been quite the rage over the last couple of years, and with a decent amount of variety too. We’ve seen games that have chosen to remain faithful to their inspirations with titles like Dusk and Ion Fury, as well as titles that have chosen to try and innovate, like Ultrakill. With Phantom Fury, we have something of a hybrid—a boomer shooter that stays true to its predecessors in many ways, while at the same time also tries out some new ideas here and there through the use of more modern conventional shooter design.

However, before we actually start talking about the gameplay, I do have to mention that Phantom Fury is one of the most unique looking shooters out there. While not exactly making use of the largest poly-count models, Phantom Fury definitely manages to have a distinct aesthetic that melds old-school sensibilities with more modern technologies and ideas. An early example of this is shortly after starting the game where you can see the use of some translucent sheets in medical rooms—something you wouldn’t really see in older titles owing to a lack of computing horsepower.

"Coming to the gameplay, Phantom Fury feels like it’s taking inspiration from a bunch of different 90s-era shooters, from Half-Life to Quake, and even a bit of System Shock here and there."

At the same time, Phantom Fury also opts for low-fi textures that have really been catching on. While several games have used it since, Nightdive Studios’ System Shock remake is really what put the aesthetic style on the map, and much like with the remake, Phantom Fury also makes excellent use of its textures coupled with impressive lighting techniques to give off an appearance of a game that looks like what you remember old-school shooters like Quake looked like.

Coming to the gameplay, Phantom Fury feels like it’s taking inspiration from a bunch of different 90s-era shooters, from Half-Life to Quake, and even a bit of System Shock here and there. Much like any other boomer shooter you might have come across, most of the time, Phantom Fury is going to have you running around like an insane person shooting and blowing up just about everything in sight. Rather than making use of more abstract level designs like we’ve seen from Quake-inspired shooters, however, Phantom Fury instead has more of a narrative string tying its levels together.

You’re not really going to be finding floating platforms in gothic castles where you fight off demons and ghosts with a sword and shotgun. Instead, Phantom Fury has a narrative tying things together, taking you from level to level. Picking up many years after the events of Ion Fury, Phantom Fury once again puts players in the shoes of Shelly Harrison as she fights her way throughout the USA. The game makes no excuses about being a bombastic, over-the-top pastiche of classic action movies, ranging from references to First Blood to Terminator. This movie reference-fueled rampage is coupled with an irreverent tone where the game never really expects the player to take anything seriously, despite just about every character being deathly afraid of the threats posed to mankind’s future.

phantom fury 1

"You’re not really going to be finding floating platforms in gothic castles where you fight off demons and ghosts with a sword and shotgun."

While the story is still ultimately just an excuse to take you from level to level, Phantom Fury goes a bit deeper than other boomer shooters typically would, featuring full-on action set pieces where, for example, you’re tasked with keeping a guy alive as he fixes his truck so that you can escape from an ever-advancing horde of enemies. There are also a few narrative threads looming in the background that ultimately get paid off, like Harrison’s new bionic arm, and even the nature of the shady corporation that’s seemingly involved with the hunt for the legendary Demon Core.

Of course, the true star of the Phantom Fury is the arsenal of weapons you get access to throughout your journey across America. While most weapons, especially early on, largely stick to classic archetypal weapons like pistols and shotguns, the game very quickly starts getting freaky with some of the weapons it gives you. An early example of this is the Bowling Bomb; a type of grenade which is meant to be rolled on the ground towards its target. While it might seem rather mundane, it’s worth noting that Bowling Bombs have a tendency of ricocheting off walls and surfaces, and even jumping off tiny ramps on the ground, depending on the strength with which you threw it. Future weapons get weirder still, like an electrified foam shooter. The arsenal is also helped tremendously by the fact that just about every weapon has some sort of hidden capabilities that can be unlocked through upgrades and mods.

Freedom is a big feature of Phantom Fury, not only in how you deal with the hordes of enemies you end up fighting, but also how you go about finishing levels. While most levels are largely linear affairs with obvious paths through obstacles, some of them give you options in how you might want to deal with things, be it through peaceful means by making use of subterfuge—which essentially boils down to not just kicking down the doors of a bar and blindly shooting everyone in sight—to going ham with your biggest weapons. The game also makes use of simple physics allowing you to pick up and throw around any random item you might find, to having you figure out electrical lines so that you can blow up the right fuse box to solve a puzzle.

phantom fury 2

"While most weapons, especially early on, largely stick to classic archetypal weapons like pistols and shotguns, the game very quickly starts getting freaky with some of the weapons it gives you."

Along with regular running and gunning, there is also plenty of variety in Phantom Fury’s mission design, with some missions giving you access to more outlandish vehicles, ranging from a weapon-equipped truck that you can drive through an enemy-infested town, to a Top Gun-inspired jet fighter sequence where you have to pilot a chopper while also dodging fire from jet fighters, as well as the falling debris as you fly through a canyon.

Phantom Fury doesn’t really make any excuses about the kind of game it is. It gives you a gun, a fancy bionic arm, tells you who the enemies are, and expects you to get the job done. What makes this job fun, however, is the wonderful arsenal of weapons thrown at you, as well as the outlandish writing and downright absurd story throughout what is essentially a violent rampage across America. Sure, there may not be much of a story in Phantom Fury, but what is there is a lot of fun, especially if you happen to be a fan of old-school 80s and 90s action movies.

Couple the excellent gameplay with some downright fantastic art direction that makes use of classical-inspired aesthetics fused with more modern technologies, lighting and level design, and Phantom Fury ends up feeling like one of the more refined boomer shooters out there. While it’s not as abstract and insane as something like Dusk, and it certainly won’t push you to your limits like Ultrakill might, Phantom Fury is definitely worth your attention because, ultimately, it just happens to be a roaring good time.

This game was reviewed on PC.


THE GOOD

Fun arsenal; Great level design; Wonderful visual style.

THE BAD

Absurd story; the more unique weapons take too long to show up.

Final Verdict:
GREAT
Phantom Fury is quite easily one of the most refined boomer shooters in the market today. It combines classic action movie tropes and 90s shooter gameplay with more modern visual technology and level design, making for a fun rampage across America.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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