Our appetite for retro may be insatiable but I didn’t expect to be playing a new BUILD Engine game in 2020.
For those that don’t know, the engine is the foundation for some of the best games in the FPS genre – Shadow Warrior, Blood and, of course, Duke Nukem 3D.
Now we have Ion Fury, the first game to use the engine in twenty years, and amazingly, it still holds up quite well.
Set in a cyberpunk world, you play as Shelly ‘Bombshell’ Harrison, who is fighting against a cult leader trying to cause anarchy and chaos in the city with an army of enhanced soldiers.
Shelly will seem quite familiar at first. She’s basically a female Duke Nukem with her wisecracks, quips, and zest for destruction.
But there was something about this game that also reminded me of futuristic shooter Perfect Dark, and its super spy, Joanna Dark.
Perhaps its the cyberpunk world, the crawling into vents, use of small bombs, and problem solving. I’m not sure, but something rang a bell.
In true BUILD engine fashion, the flow of Ion Fury is fast paced and frantic – explosions going off to your left, enemies popping up to your right.
And as you’d expect, there’s a nice selection of weaponry to get to grips with, like a machine gun that causes your enemies to combust.
Unlike older BUILD Engine games, it’s also much easier to aim at your enemies with the right stick, especially convenient for the irritating cyber harpies.
Ion Fury is a blast for the most part. I feel like I can’t be too critical of an old engine, but as you’d expect there are issues, such as lag, and loading screens that freeze in the middle of the action.
The essence of the game also lacks the depth of a modern shooter with its reliance on keycards and limited story. This can also mean a lot of backpedalling through environments with repopulated enemies.
Still, Ion Fury is a surprising breath of fresh air. You don’t have to think too much about what you’re doing or where you’re going, but there’s still plenty of secrets to find and things to do.
Believe you me, Ion Fury is also hard as nails. This is a callback to the classic BUILD games in more ways than one and anything above the Rookie setting is ready to kick your ass.
Of course, this is all facilitated by classic FPS tropes like hunting for health and armor packs – no recharging health bars, sorry!
Ion Fury is a great reminder of how far First Person Shooters have come in twenty years, but it also shows that sometimes the old ways of doing things can still be very entertaining.
Ion Fury is now available on PC, PS4, XO, and Switch
Played on PS4
Code Supplied by 3D Realms