Fury Unleashed goes to show that a solid gameplay loop and great aesthetic can go a long way to alleviating some of the tribulations of the rogue-like genre. While I’m not sure I’ll ever fully get passed the need to restart (mostly) from scratch at this time in my life, I couldn’t put Fury Unleashed down, no matter how many times it’s high difficulty bested me.
We play as Fury, the titular character from fictional comic Fury Unleashed. It’s about as 80’s era bombastic as you might imagine, with time travelling Nazi’s and reborn Hellspawn all making fair fodder for her (you can play as male or female variants) endless barrage of bullets and grenades. It’s presented as though we’re working our way through the panels of the comic in question, with each room framed by a white boarder and story beats laid out in pop out text boxes at the edges of the screen. I’m reminded of Mega Drive classic Comix Zone in this manner, though naturally Fury Unleashed looks miles better, with some lovely stylised visuals encompassing stage design, through the unique enemies to the lavish bosses. The audio doesn’t quite have the same love poured on it perhaps, some fairly generic sound backing music is about all we get, though it’s hardly that bad.
The main gist of the story mode is to work through several chapters of each of the 3 comics (either solo or with a co-op buddy), defeating 3 sub bosses before confronting a final, tough boss. Each comic has three of these end bosses to find and beat across multiple playthrough’s before we can begin straight on the next comic in line. Before then, each time we die we need to start back at square one, page one of the first comic.
Beating all three big bosses is going to take a lot of time and patience though. On my first few plays I barely got to the end of chapter 2, and even the sub bosses were kicking my ass in no time at all. Each chapter is randomly laid out per run, and before we enter a panel it’s greyed out, so your guess is as good as mine in what it will hold. It pays off exploring fully though, as there are plenty of optional quests and hidden chests/shops to find to help us on the way. Armour and weapons can be found, as well as upgrades and temporary buffs. Sometimes, they’ll be offered up as rewards, while others require us to forfeit some currency or even health to purchase them – these often offer the biggest risk/reward, naturally.
Ink is dropped by defeated foes, and it can also be gained by converting unwanted items found in chests. After being killed, it converts into a levelling system, letting us upgrade Fury with various permanent perks, such as health upgrades (essential!!) or a better chance for item drops (there’s a fairly big range of perks to choose from though). I really liked the way Fury Unleashed implemented this system, as even on a terrible run I was usually able to eke out a few extra points to help me out next time round.
Which is good, as it’s not an easy game. Played on the default setting, it’s all too easy to get beat down in a matter of moments. To be fair, this was usually because I went gung-ho into a fight rather than picking my battles, but the fast, fluid combat often tempted me into this fate! We have a melee attack that is backed up by a projectile aimed with the right stick, as well as grenades, an instant kill stomp and a special power that needs a certain amount of kills to cool down.
These can all be further augmented by the aforementioned pickups, enhancing our grenade power, or granting our dodge ability in order to set anyone you move past on fire, for example. There is a good variety of enemy types to contend with, and I didn’t get very far just relying on one tactic or another. It absolutely pays to keep agile and use the full set of options. Successfully chaining hits racks up a combo meter, granting further bonuses depending on the perks/upgrades chosen. Enemies will also drop golden ink, health orbs or potions too, so even when uncertain of the outcome it can pay off trying to clear a room to hopefully bolster you’re outlook going forward.
Fury Unleashed nails a great feeling of progression by including the upgrade system, and constantly encourages us to play harder and braver, knowing we likely won’t succeed, but will come back that little bit more quipped to deal with the challenge. It can get frustrating to be going on a tear, accidently stumble in to a boss room unprepared and get blown away, but again, I found it only served to fuel my desire to get back in and have them next time. A good run will likely see you get through to the end boss in under 20 minutes too, so there’s not even too much of a time investment in trying again and again.
Fury Unleashed manages to bring some fun combat and exploration to the rogue like genre that, even when a run fails, feels rewarding. A well-executed upgrade system, as well as plentiful loot found along the way, means that it’s rare to not find something new to play with, or a new tactic to use on each go. The comic styling works well too, though the music could’ve been a bit more impactful; a small knock on an otherwise brilliant title.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.