Ion Fury Brings Back the Retro Build Engine in Explosive Fashion
To a lot of players out there, early PC shooters are timeless. That era saw a lot of experimentation with new technology that continuously pushed more complex visuals, eventually becoming a genre of game that just about any gamer has some familiarity with. Within the past few years though, more and more games are revisiting those old designs in new and exciting ways. We saw this in DUSK and the recent expansion to the first Doom, SIGIL (seems like CAPS titles are the way to go with these games) and we will soon be able to dive into the retro Build Engine that made Duke Nukem so popular with a new title from Voidpoint 1C Entertainment, and 3D Realms, Ion Fury.
This Build Engine title was originally called Ion Maiden but a trademark lawsuit with metal band Iron Maiden forced a name change. I was actually excited about the first name, as it felt like a play on the band, but apparently, it wasn’t as clever to whoever defends their branding. Either way, the game is now official Ion Fury but that won’t stop me from fist pumping to The Trooper while playing.
A new trailer was dropped for the game, while also adding in a release date for the full version of the game. Ion Fury had been in Steam Early Access for some time now where it has a positive reception from users. 3D Realms also announced that they will be a release a PC big box of the game, complete with a custom thumb drive rather than a DVD that is loaded with the game files and the soundtrack, as well as a poster, a keycard, a set of stickers, and a making-of booklet.
Ion Fury looks to be really pushing the limits of the Build Engine with lots of explosions, polished models, and lighting. Really what is most appealing about these retro-inspired games though is the fast and frantic gameplay, as well as the new spins brought to the genre. DUSK stood out with its level design and horror elements. SIGIL had an incredible (optional) soundtrack from Buckethead and the appeal of legendary auteur designer John Romero at the helm. It will be interesting to see if players gravitate towards Ion Fury when the market for these sort of FPS games is already filled with mastery of the genre.
One area that has failed to sell me personally on Ion Fury is the main character. Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison doesn’t seem to have the parody element that made Duke Nukem so likable and fun to play as. Each of the one-liners in the new trailer for Ion Fury seem pretty standard and lack the punch I was expecting. Her design also seems pretty basic, lacking an element to make her really stand out. Interestingly enough, the character has been around since the 90s, steadily changing over the years into what she is today.
Regardless it all comes down to gameplay and if the reviews on Steam are anything to judge by it seems like that aspect has been achieved. For most of these sort of games, I like to wait until the full package is available, so I’ll be waiting until the game officially launches on August 15th.
Truth be told, I didn’t grow up playing the games that inspired Ion Fury. My experience with them came much later when they weren’t as impressive on a technical level. This is why I find these retro-inspired shooters so fascinating as they take everything that was fun about those games and frame them in a modern lens. Based on my joy of other games in this style, I probably would have enjoyed having these games as a kid.