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Phantom Fury review – An explosive road trip

Home » Reviews » Phantom Fury review – An explosive road trip

Taking place years after the events of Ion Fury: Aftershock, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison is back, now sporting a bionic arm. You see, pulled out of a coma by an old colleague, mankind is in need of a saviour. And so begins Phantom Fury, described as a “highly interactive mix of first person action and road movie adventure.”

Despite being a follow up to Ion Fury, Phantom Fury deviates from the formula quite considerably. It still has firefights that can get chaotic at times, and you still have a varied arsenal of weapons to discover. But, being a road movie adventure, Phantom Fury has much more forward momentum, and many moments of downtime between battles filled with exploration or other diversions.

It doesn’t necessarily make Phantom Fury worse than Ion Fury, but the change of pace might not be appreciated by all. No doubt some players would rather have more enemies to shoot, for example, than spend time avoiding searchlights in a desert, or move wrecked cars with a crane arm. It all depends on your personal tastes. What objectively isn’t great, however, is how often it feels like you’ve hit a dead end in the game, only to realise it’s because you’ve missed a minor detail, like interacting with the lock of a door to open it after finding a key, rather than the door itself.

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Image: Slipgate Ironworks/3D Realms

Once you’ve accepted Phantom Fury’s continual flow of high and low action, you find a game that’s actually rather enjoyable. Thanks to her new bionic arm, Shelly can now basically explode enemies when in melee range, and also punch certain objects to move them. For the most part, though, you’ll be taking enemies apart – often literally – with a wide range of firearms, most of which can be upgraded in interesting ways to expand your combat options.

There’s one thing for sure: you can never anticipate what’s around the next corner. One minute you might be in a bar, having a nifty go on a pinball machine in order to set a new high score. The next you might in a mine, using a laser beam to obliterate zombies and unblock shafts in order to find an exit. After that, you might be searching for codes to launch artillery strikes in a military base to clear a path, all the while facing off against powerful mutants.

Not all of Phantom Fury is spent with you on foot, either. Sometimes you’ll take control of vehicles, adding even more variety into the mix . Needless to say, there’s a hell of lot to like about Shelly’s latest adventure, which makes it even more a shame when it’s not firing on all cylinders. In addition to sometimes feeling like you’re lost, there’s a distinct lack of funny one-liners.

Phantom Fury review
Image: Slipgate Ironworks/3D Realms

Playing on PS5 for the purposes of this review, there are some console-specific troubles, too. You might encounter some performance issues as you make your way through the game for one. We imagine such instances are bugs, as we’ve been in some gnarly firefights without a hitch, but every now and again you might find yourself in a scenario where things get a bit choppy. Less troublesome but still problematic are things like a tutorial pop-up telling you how to quickly change weapons when the feature isn’t available on console.

Still, if you’re after an old-fashioned first-person shooter to spend some time with on PS5 you can do far worse than Phantom Fury. This may not be Shelly’s best outing, but it’s an engaging one nonetheless, offering plenty of action and some interesting diversions. It’s just a shame that it feels a bit directionless at times, and that Shelly isn’t quite as spunky as we remember her to be.

This review of Phantom Fury is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

Phantom Fury review - GameSpew's score

Phantom Fury
7 10 0 1
Taking place after the events of Ion Fury: Aftershock, Phantom Fury finds Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison fighting for mankind in this enjoyable first-person shooter combined with a road adventure. It's just a shame that Shelly isn't as spunky as we remember her to be, and the pacing can be all over the place at times.
Taking place after the events of Ion Fury: Aftershock, Phantom Fury finds Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison fighting for mankind in this enjoyable first-person shooter combined with a road adventure. It's just a shame that Shelly isn't as spunky as we remember her to be, and the pacing can be all over the place at times.
7/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Some exciting shootouts
  • Lots of variety

We don't like...

  • Pacing is all over the place
  • Some technical issues

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