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Phantom Fury Review (PS5) – A Fun But Imperfect Quake-Inspired Shooter 

Phantom Fury Review (PS5) – First appearing as a poster girl in the Duke Nukem games, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison broke away from that tropey foundation and has her own series of games.

Her latest game is called Phantom Fury, making a jump from the old-school Doom aesthetic to more of the Quake look and feel of the mid-2000s.

While the game doesn’t push the genre forward or take many chances, Phantom Fury is still a pretty fun ride to take.

Phantom Fury Review (PS5) – A Fun But Imperfect Quake-Inspired Shooter

Phantom Fury marks the third game that features the bomb disposal, gun-toting Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison. Once again, Shelly takes up her arms for another dangerous mission.

This time around, she must recover a very dangerous object, a relic called the Demon Core. With the support of her radio team, she takes to traveling the United States in search of the Demon Core.

Visually speaking, fans of the old Quake franchise will feel right at home with Phantom Fury. The move from the 2D Doom style to the 3D style of games like Quake both feels like a major change in terms of the franchise but a rather minor one in the grand scheme of things.

From the first person perspective, everything attached to or held by Shelly holds a pristine, clean aesthetic, with smooth edges and very little pixelation.

However, the rest of the game, while not pixelated by any means, doesn’t share the same kind of visual polish. When up close, objects and characters look less jagged, but they grow less discernible the further away they go.

The visual difference between the foreground and background does create that arcade aesthetic, but that style could pop more with some modernization of the original look.

Take It To The Baddies

Personally, the flat Doom style looks better for what they want to do with Shelly’s series of games. The difference in detail between the foreground and background looks more natural during gameplay while in that flatter state while still flexing the same combat mechanics.

If a better balance between the two planes had been implemented, the final product would have looked and felt more complete than what Phantom Fury has on offer.

Again, this is a personal nitpick that should not be considered for those who don’t mind the difference. Hell, I don’t even mind that much, but I mind enough that it’s still worth mentioning.

As to be expected, combat is the strength of Phantom Fury. This isn’t just about the impact sounds and gun animations and the chunky deaths either. The overall experience asks of you different approaches in different situations.

Using the same weapons all the time does not make things easier for you. Sometimes you need the shotgun or grenades to take out groups, or you need the automatic to inflict burn damage on tank-y enemies, or you just feel great using your rifle to auto lock on enemies for satisfying strings of headshots.

Just like in Ion Fury, Shelly uses the arsenal to full effect.

Movement also feels wonderful. Both old time-y but fluid, it asks you to balance the loose navigation with tight, responsive aiming. Constantly playing in the middle ground between these two aspects feels rewarding as hell once you find that balance.

It’s a shooter standard from the arcade days, which I didn’t appreciate when I was younger. First person games weren’t my thing then anyway, but I still feel a little regret in missing out on that time for shooters.

Ups And Downs

The sheer map variety offers a wide array of scenery to navigate. There are day missions, night missions, missions in the desert, some in bases, and some in sewers. Right around the time a zone starts to grow stale, a new one presents itself. It makes for a healthy sense of progression and variety.

The maps sometimes provide an engaging experience, and other times they deliver cumbersome ones, with each map generally leaning both ways at different points.

As you would expect, puzzle areas, for example, place a code or card somewhere that you need to progress. In the engaging areas, these items hide in places near where the action happens.

In the dull places, you need to run around blindly, often in previous areas, to figure out where to go. These puzzles never tax you in terms of challenge, but seeing some feel organic and fun makes the boring ones feel even more dull.

It’s also worth mentioning that the few mini-games you find in certain levels, all being either arcade machines or claw machines, do not provide a great experience.

Controls are clunky and cannot be customized for these mini-games, but the base game allows you to completely remap your buttons alongside adjusting camera sensitivity.

These mini-games don’t offer much variety and aren’t that fun, but they don’t get in the way of the core experience and can easily be ignored. Since they’re tied to trophies, though, plenty of people will find this out eventually.

A Fine Option For Quake And Doom Fans

It make not break the mold, but Phantom Fury does enough right to merit a place in your collection, especially if you love shooters. Gameplay feels iconic, channeling perfectly the mechanics of the 2000s shooters, and gunplay feels impactful and chunky.

Map design tends to either hit or miss, leading you in the right direction or asking you to wander around before finding the next route. Depending on preference, if you liked the 2D Doom style more in Ion Fury, you may have trouble enjoying Phantom Fury.

Either way, the gameplay offers a good time and releases in quite a favorable window for a small game. For what it offers, $25 is a decent asking price for a fun 10-hour experience.

Phantom Fury is now available on PS5.

Review code generously provided by publisher.



The Final Word

Fans of the shooter genre will find a good time with Phantom Fury. While not perfect, slipping a bit with map design and pacing among some other smaller things, Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison's latest outing still hits more than it misses.