Good old-fashioned fun
Hold up! Don’t like reading? Watch instead…
With games like Stray, Cult of the Lamb, and Scorn popping off recently, and God of War: Ragnarok and The Callisto Protocol dropping soon, I was starting to get jealous.
Where’s the love for unique, innovative, or just non-serious first-person shooters?
I stumbled on the trailer for Phantom Fury recently and I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew I’d seen its vibe somewhere before. If you’re a 90s kid like me, then you know what I’m talking about.
Phantom Fury is the sequel to Ion Fury, a 2019 cyberpunk first-person shooter that slipped under my radar, and is being developed by the same studio responsible for 2020’s Ghostrunner, Slipgate Ironworks. I completely blew off that title. I’m not a fan of first-person games that go heavy on melee combat — it doesn’t work.
But Phantom Fury isn’t that.
It’s guns, explosions, and a lot of cool.
The trailer has a sort of shovelware, MS-DOS — but upscaled to zap into the current year — appeal. Then I looked up who was publishing the title and it all made sense. 3D Realms.
I’ll be honest, I completely forgot they existed. I thought they fell off the map like a lot of old-school publishers. But I saw they’d hosted a Realms Deep 2022 event a couple of weeks ago and my 90s kid heart instantly rekindled.
You can see exactly where Phantom Fury draws inspiration from in its short 2-minute trailer. The gameplay, level & sound design, and voice acting all ooze Duke Nukem, Kingpin: Life of Crime, Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, and other iconic 90s, early 2000s first-person shooters.
I’m really digging the 32- or 64-bit textures — Half-life-esque but animated like something out of Timesplitters.
And just like the old-school, new-ish school graphics, the gameplay is par for the course for its style but with some upgrades thrown in to meet modern expectations.
Hopefully, Slipgate Ironworks also modernizes the product offering by including a multiplayer mode at some point. This is not a dig, but what they’ve shown off so far as a single-player experience doesn’t scream time, money, and labor bonanza. They could easily implement a multiplayer experience, especially with the backing of 3D Realms.
And it’s not like games of its narrow scope and gameplay style haven’t had competitive online play before.
The best part of the trailer came at the end when Blade — the hero of one of the coolest 90s-era games, SiN — made his cameo.
SiN had a good multiplayer mode back in the day — think along the lines of Half-Life Deathmatch. Just good old fragging fun. Nothing fancy. We’re getting some SiN-inspired single-player content, might as well throw in simple TDM and DM modes to complete the nostalgia bait.
If you didn’t catch 3D Realms’ Realms Deep 2022 event, go watch it.
It looks like they’re here to revive a certain style of shooter that the gaming industry is sorely lacking — a 90s vibe that saw the offspring of the GenXer latch-key kids come home and continue their devil-may-care escapades on the net.
The future of FPSes is looking bright!
Keep fragging and as always, stay cool, gentlemen.