Move over Duke Nukem, a new wisecracking hero who kicks ass is in town. Though this isn’t her first outing.
Bombshell‘s very own Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison is back in Ion Fury. A game whose greatest achievement might be that it riled up heavy metal band Iron Maiden with its original name, Ion Maiden. The silly buggers.
Released on PC last year, Ion Fury now finds itself on PS4, Xbox One and Switch, providing old-school first-person shooter thrills to a legion of new gamers. Chances are some might like it, but issues that plagued the PC version of the game are still present and, on Xbox One at least, technical issues take even more fun out of the fast-paced action.
The core of the game remains the same as it was on PC, our review of which you should read. It’s a no-nonsense, balls-to-the-wall first-person shooter developed using the old BUILD engine, which means it looks and feels like a game from yesteryear. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as they just don’t make first-person shooters like they used to. The underlying problems with Ion Fury, however, are that its levels quickly blend into one another, and it introduces new enemies at such a slow pace that it struggles to hold your interest.
You battle through city streets, buildings and more, but the lack of genuinely new scenery makes it feel like you aren’t really getting anywhere; you’re just going through the motions. The weapons available to you are also rather dull, and using them to kill largely the same enemies time and time and time again just doesn’t excite like it should. And it should excite, because who doesn’t like turning enemies into a gory mess?
Then you have the more console-focused issues. Due to its breakneck pace, it’s not much fun playing playing Ion Fury with a controller, for example. Even enabling a bit of auto-aim doesn’t help matters much. Shooting small flying enemies that zoom around is a pain in the backside. The lack of a weapon wheel is also disappointing. If you want to change your weapon mid-fight, you have to keep tapping up and down on the d-pad, and either wait for Shelly to raise the weapon so you can see what it is, or cast your eyes to the upper right hand corner of the screen to see what’s selected.
What really hampers this console port, however, is poor performance. You’ll be running along at 60 frames per second and then out of nowhere you’ll be hit by a brief period of slowdown. When there are no enemies around it’s perplexing, but at least it doesn’t put you in danger. When it occurs in the heat of a massive battle, and with a more pronounced effect, however, you’ll curse. If DOOM Eternal doesn’t slow down, Ion Fury shouldn’t slow down. It’s as simple as that.
I could also nitpick and highlight that the save/load screen not telling you when a save was made is irritating. If you stopped playing Ion Fury for a period of time, for example, and then went back to resume your campaign of destruction, you might not have the foggiest idea of what your latest save is if you’ve used your slots willy-nilly. It’s not exactly a biggie in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a silly oversight.
Ultimately, Ion Fury is just a disappointment on console. It would have been a nice diversion had it been at least as good as the PC version, but it’s a thoughtless port that doesn’t take console nuances into account. Even worse, it suffers from technical issues that suck even more fun out of it. Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison deserves better.