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Presenting Gameffine’s Phantom Fury review.

3D Realms have been going through a rough patch for the past two years. Ripout, The Kinderman Remedy, Graven, and Kingpin: Reloaded launched to lukewarm-negative reviews and the publisher has been hit with severe layoffs following the collapse of Embracer Group. It’s not a reach to say that Phantom Fury, their much-awaited follow-up to the 2019 Retro FPS Ion Fury has so much riding on it. Phantom Fury’s 2023 demo did not inspire much confidence in many and 6 months later, Phantom Fury is gearing up for launch later today. There’s no better time than the present to unleash our Phantom Fury review.

Back in Action

We here at Gameffine are huge Ion Fury fans. Heck, we loved it so much that we reviewed it twice (PC and PS4). I also gave last year’s Aftershock expansion a whopping 90/100. Despite the awful demo, I was willing to gave Slipgate Ironworks the benefit of the doubt. 13 hours and a single playthrough on hard, I take no pleasure in admitting that Phantom Fury is a disappointment. From the outset, Phantom Fury had everything going for it. An experienced FPS developer, a supportive publisher, gorgeous visuals, decades of inspirations and even a strange tie-in with SiN. But these ideas do not translate well into the gameplay.

Phantom Fury begins as Shelly ‘Bombshell’ Harrison awakens from a coma in a secret GDF facility, her right arm now replaced with a robotic prosthetic. She breaks out from the facility with the help of the Colonel and proceeds to save the world from a weapon of mass destruction, in true millennial FPS fashion. I must admit, for the most part, I had no idea what the hell was going on. This is not because the narrative is complex or deep, but it’s because it’s too bland to stay focused on. Slipgate has tried to make the story feel epic with lots of twists and turns in between. It just doesn’t come across that way. Despite the writers trying so hard, Shelly is no Duke and her one-liners here are worse than the ones from Ion Fury. That being said, I do not mind a bad story in my Boomer Shooter, so there’s that.

Phantom Fury review


While Ion Fury was a throwback to 2.5D Build Engine shooters, Phantom Fury is a fully 3D game that seems to follow the evolutionary trajectory of late ’90s to early 2000s FPS. Phantom Fury follows in the footsteps of Half Life, SiN and Halo when it comes to level design and exploration. The game is spliced up into traditional corridor gunplay, physics-based exploration, puzzle solving and gigantic boss fights. But the difference in quality is noticeable from the get-go.

When everything works, Phantom Fury is a decent-enough shooter. But there are plenty (and I mean plenty) of moments where it does not. The first few hours of the game are undoubtedly the best, due to a good blend of fast-paced corridor shooting, exploration and a vehicle section straight from Halo. The game drips-feed you with new weapons, enemy types and environmental puzzles that I genuinely found myself having a blast. The gunplay is decent, levels are packed to the brim with interactive objects, the level variety is refreshing, there are various kinds of upgrades to unlock, and the repetitive gunplay is broken down by sections where you control various vehicles.

But the more you play, the worse it gets. The mid-late sections are the game at its worst. Phantom Fury drops all its momentum to drop you in a series of levels set in a research facility with some truly awful puzzles. The experience is made even more excruciating because Slipgate has done a bad job at conveying the objectives to the player. I found myself stuck, not knowing where to go and what to do (more times than I’d like to admit) thanks to the poor visibility of key items and obtuse and vague objectives. While the gunplay is decent, Phantom Fury’s idea of exciting encounter design is overwhelming the player with grunts and tanky elites non-stop.

The last few levels are nothing but hopping alone confusing levels fighting the same enemies in waves. Of the six boss fights, only one is even worth mentioning. By the time of reaching the penultimate level, I was mindlessly running past enemies, hoping to get to the last boss fight and get it over with. A far cry from the excellent level design of Ion Fury and Aftershock. You know something is wrong when Voidpoint’s 2.5 Build Engine game has better drivable sections than your shiny 3D shooter.

Bugs Galore

Then there are the plethora of bugs that accompany these. I’ve experienced missing objective triggers, broken achievements, doors that won’t budge, broken AI, missing abilities, weapons and wonky physics. While most of these bugs can be resolved by loading an earlier autosave (good thing that there are more than one slot), one particular bug hard-locked me out of the last tier of the upgrade system. This remains unsolved at the time of writing this review.

The PC performance also leaves a lot to be desired. You’d think that an RTX 3070 or even a 4060 would be enough to run the game at max graphics at a higher refresh rate (at 1080p no less). But Phantom Fury doesn’t like to stay locked at 144 fps. The fps were all over the place between 80–144 fps and the last few levels even saw it dropping below 60 frames on occasion. It’s certainly playable, but not ideal, judging by how the game looks.

Real Talk

Phantom Fury needed more time in the oven. It’s certainly not that raw, but it’s not well-cooked either. Even if Slipgate Ironworks ‘irons out’ all the bugs, the game would still be an above-average FPS in a market dominated by nu-Boomer Shooters. Certainly not the sequel Voidpoint’s Shelly deserved.


Phantom Fury Review

Phantom Fury Review
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Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison is back in this highly interactive mix of first person action and road movie adventure. Embark on an adrenaline-fueled journey around the USA. Use an enormous arsenal of weapons and skills to battle treacherous soldiers and vile mutants, all while trying to save mankind.
Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison is back in this highly interactive mix of first person action and road movie adventure. Embark on an adrenaline-fueled journey around the USA. Use an enormous arsenal of weapons and skills to battle treacherous soldiers and vile mutants, all while trying to save mankind.
Total Score

The Good

  • Looks good
  • Decent gunplay
  • Highly interactive environments

The Bad

  • Bugs
  • Less-than stellar performance
  • Badly designed second half
Phantom Fury

Presenting Gameffine's Phantom Fury review. Phantom Fury is the much-awaited sequel to 3D Realm's boomer shooter Ion Fury

Product Brand: 3D Realms

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $24.99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
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