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Ion Fury Aftershock review: Old school game, new school quality

ion fury aftershock

3D Realms has a storied history when it comes to first-person shooters. As the development studio behind Duke Nukem 3D, it’s no surprise to see them still producing great FPS games. While many of the names featured on the final credits are different now than they were in 1996, our review shows that the Ion Fury Aftershock DLC is another example of that expertise.

The Good:

  • Tight first-person shooting gameplay featuring a charismatic heroine.
  • Pacing issues from the original game are much-improved in the DLC.

The Bad:

  • If you’re not looking for an old-school FPS challenge, there’s not much for you here.

Review Details:

  • Platforms available: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Reviewed on: PC
  • Official release date: October 2, 2023

Ion Fury Aftershock the latest boomer shooter addition

In recent years, first-person shooters loosely defined as “boomer shooters” have been on the rise. These games typically de-emphasize modern game development standards, instead looking to create relatively simple and streamlined FPS experiences with a focus on tight gameplay and clear visuals.

It’s a throwback to a bygone era when such games as Quake and Half-Life were the dominant names in all of gaming, particularly on the PC. Not every game that takes on these values is equally successful, but Ion Fury stood out upon its 2019 release as a great example of what a boomer shooter could be.

Built in the same vein as Duke Nukem 3D, Ion Fury emphasizes precise shooting action and high-stakes, kinetic confrontations with a variety of enemy types.

As strong as Ion Fury was, it did have a few shortcomings. The most notable was its dragging pace. As the game wore on, developers and level designers at 3D Realms seemed to lose steam, throwing repetitive situations at players one after another. Fans of the game were hoping this issue might be resolved in the Aftershock DLC release, and our review finds that Ion Fury Aftershock does indeed address those concerns.

DLC emphasizing quick pace and quicker action

While our review confirms that Ion Fury Aftershock presents a much shorter campaign than what the original game offered, that brevity is really a bonus. 3D Realms more effectively concentrates the action from sequence to sequence, keeping things interesting and never falling into the grinding lull that the original Ion Fury was guilty of down its home stretch.

ion fury aftershock

New armaments and power-ups join new enemy types to further increase the variety on offer in the game. Lead heroine Shelly is as brusque and charming as ever, a perfect fit for the game’s theme, and the level design is typically strong. A dedicated vehicle section, often a landmine for games of this type, even works out swimmingly.

It’s hard to find much to complain about when discussing Ion Fury Aftershock, but some may take issue with just how distilled the experience is. This game knows exactly what it is, and that’s all it’s ever trying to be. Players not specifically interested in a honed-in FPS experience won’t find much to stick around for here.

gameland.gg’s bottom line: Ion Fury Aftershock improves upon the original game’s FPS formula with kinetic energy throughout its relatively brief ride.

Score: 9/10

Author image

Written by Jared Wynne

Jared Wynne has been covering gaming and esports for the past two decades. He's a former competitor in Counter-Strike, and still counts it among his favorite games along with RPGs like Baldur's Gate and Mass Effect. He studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, has been published at such outlets as The Daily Dot and The Esports Observer, and is the former Editor-in-Chief at WIN.gg. You can find him on Twitter / X at @JaredWynne.

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