I in all probability didn’t develop up once you did. I really feel the necessity to get that out of the way in which early, as a result of this evaluation is basically going to be about how Ion Fury’s old-school sensibilities conflict with my very own. Not all of them, I ought to stress. Shooters have trended in direction of a slower tempo, whereas I’m a nippy boy. It feels good to shoot and hop.
I’m simply so unbearably misplaced.
I’m getting misplaced as Cpl. Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, a cop who spends her days taking pictures at “cracked-out cyborg punks” daring to insurgent in opposition to “the longstanding order of permanent martial law”. None of this significantly issues, except for the way in which it means I incessantly hear her bellow crass nonsense like “nothing that laying down another beating can’t solve”.
Ion’s story, so far as it has one, is informed by way of transient monologues from a maniacal scientist who blew up your own home, typically rebutted by Harrison’s cack-handed quips. Hardly any of it lands, however that’s nearly by the by. This is all set-dressing for the working and gunning – till the set empties, and I’m left questioning the place on earth I must go subsequent.
Getting misplaced in games sucks at my soul. I’ve spent far too lengthy trundling round Ion Fury’s neon-dusted streets and supervillain bunkers, dipping out and in of rooms like a millennial robbed of Google Maps. Or any type of map, as I first believed. I didn’t suppose to comb by way of the keyboard buttons looking for one, and Ion didn’t suppose to immediate me to. Or else (if you happen to’ll indulge my suspicions) it intentionally determined in opposition to it.
Ion Fury revels in letting you work stuff out for your self. It doesn’t simply let go of your hand: it jumps right into a automobile and swans off to the south of France with a wierd girl you’ve solely met as soon as. I’m conscious that sounds nice, refreshing even, to the eyes and ears of anybody who’s sick of following arrows that let you know precisely the place it’s worthwhile to go. But as an alternative of that, Ion Fury challenges remark expertise I merely don’t have.
It tries to assist me, typically. Giant, glowing indicators will level me in direction of progress. Then I’ll comply with them right into a room with a vent I fail to spot, conclude that they will need to have been guiding in direction of a bonus space, and waste twenty minutes in a meandering malaise round the remainder of the extent. It’s not a rewarding barrier to rub up in opposition to. There’s no sense of enchancment, no notion that the subsequent space will likely be totally different. Each time I stumbled throughout the way in which ahead, I felt extra cheated than elated.
I’d really feel aid, actually. “At last”, I’d suppose, “I get to play the game I quite like again”. To bounce round enemies like a rabbit gone rampant with an uzi, fixed movement the very best defence in opposition to enemies that don’t know the best way to cope with strafing. There’s a thrill to hopping spherical a nook, smushing a fella in a cloak, then spinning spherical to shine of his good friend in a single easy movement. Doing that dozens of instances in a row in opposition to the identical handful of enemies has a approach of dulling that thrill, although. It’s like leaping on a rollercoaster and delighting on the first time the operator helps you to sit tight for one more go. By the time you’ve gone spherical twice, all of the twists and turns.
I can’t fault the weapons, thoughts. The shotgun feels significantly chunky, tearing by way of even the hardest common enemies with one wee set off squeeze. It’s a knock-out punch, a boomstick with an oomph you hardly ever see in trendy fare. There’s not a bullet sponge in sight, and the enemies possess a satisfying simplicity. The yellow rubes pack low-key assault rifles, the purple ones come near obliterating you in a single shot. It’s a fast n’ soiled visible language, sometimes overwritten by colored lights that disguise your enemy’s true efficiency. A neat trick, if a bit of overused.
There are drones, spiders and metallic centipede bastards milling round too, plus extra assorted enemies in a while, and I like how all of them had me swapping my weapons round. (I don’t like that a type of weapons is known as the penetrator, even when I do have a begrudging respect for the joke buried in that being the one weapon you may twin wield.) The fight’s strengths are undermined, although, when Mr. Old School rears his ugly head and jogs my memory why trendy games don’t allow you to save in the midst of fight.
If navigation points have been the iceberg that set the ship a-sinking, quick-saves are the dickhead who hogged the lifeboat. I didn’t use them in any respect, at first. Which led to me getting caught with a scrap of well being, bouncing backwards and forwards between an autosave and a room stuffed with enemies I wasn’t geared up to cope with. After I’d inched my approach by way of that debacle, I couldn’t resist banking each ten seconds of progress. I may need managed to cease, if not for the way in which these punishing purple “cracked-up cyborgs” make frequent quickloads a close to necessity. I’d be completely satisfied to roll with the punches in the event that they didn’t depart me in tiresome conditions.
Ion Fury succeeds at almost all the things it tries to do, however it doesn’t try a lot that I’m excited by. I’d reasonably not agonise over whether or not I’m plumbing time into exploring a route that seems to be a secret, or playing with switches whose function isn’t instantly apparent. I’ve all the time discovered secret searching extra trouble than its value, and I’d reasonably not be misplaced.
It’s a game the place old-school choices too usually trump good ones. A blast from a previous I by no means lived by way of, the place puerile humour and “area complete” screens tease you about not being a “real player”. Ion’s tongue is perhaps in its cheek, however I’ve acquired little curiosity in what it’s saying.