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Phantom Fury is a disappointing outing for Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison

Phantom Fury header
Image: Slipgate Ironworks/3D Realms

Set after the explosive events of Ion Fury: Aftershock, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison is back in Phantom Fury. Billed as a highly interactive mix of first-person action and road movie adventure, it unfortunately gets off to an awful start. Stick with it, however, and there’s some fun to be had.

Waking up in some kind of test facility, the first hour or so of Phantom Fury is dull and frustrating. You wander tight corridors, largely devoid of life, frequently encountering dead ends with little clue as to how to proceed. Generally it comes down to interacting with a fairly innocuous-looking PC, or bashing in a vent cover so you can crawl to a new area. Even when you do finally come face-to-face with enemies, things only become a little more interesting thanks to your limited arsenal.

Persist past this uninspiring opening area though, and things soon start to pick up. The purposefully retro visuals become more colourful, and the environments more interesting and open. Being a road movie adventure, there’s plenty of forward motion, too; you never stick around an area for too long. Combined with an arsenal that quickly grows to give you access to a wide range of ways to dispatch your foes, and Phantom Fury soon starts to deliver some of the thrills it promises. There are even some modern touches such as being able to upgrade your favourite weapons.

Phantom Fury body
Image: Slipgate Ironworks/3D Realms

But, despite not being the total letdown that its opening suggests it might be, Phantom Fury just doesn’t fulfil its potential. Its pacing is a bit all over the place, for example, with too many instances of you being left to explore and traverse environments without any action. This is a Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison game, after all — we expect there to be enemies to shoot around nearly every corner. And again, being a Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison game, we expect plenty of witty one-liners that make you crack a smile or guffaw out loud. Unfortunately there are few here.

Ultimately, Phantom Fury’s biggest issue is that it just doesn’t impress in any particular way. It’s not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, but everything here, from exploration to combat encounters, is merely adequate. There are other first-person shooters out there with worlds that are more enjoyable to explore, other first person-shooters out there with more exciting and unpredictable combat encounters, and other first-person shooters out there with more thrilling and explosive set-pieces. Phantom Fury unfortunately doesn’t even rise above previous games starring Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison.

Chances are you’ll eke some enjoyment out of Phantom Fury if you throw yourself into it, then. But while it sells an attractive idea of a first-person action game crossed with a road movie adventure, it never comes close to truly fulfilling its potential. Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison may be back, but you might want to give this outing a miss unless you’re hellbent on following all of her exploits.

Phantom Fury is available now on PC, and will release on consoles on 30th May.

Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!