Ion Maiden - 3D Realms Build Engine retro shooter

I love Digital Foundry’s video on the game!

Also, I’m happy to see a former RPS writer come out and basically say that the site’s review is pretty poor.

I was sad to see Dominic Tarason didn’t get his contract renewed at RPS. Every time I skimmed down and saw an article about a game that interested me, he would be the writer.

Anyway, I grew up with these games and I hate backtracking, so we’ll see how it goes.

Yep, me too. I realised the only reason I ever visited RPS was to read one of his articles or reviews. I’d better check twitter and see where he’s gone now. [edit] Apparently nowhere yet, I hope he finds work soon.

I really enjoyed Evan Lahti’s review over on PC Gamer:

Even alongside other recent, excellent retro FPSes, Ion Fury reminds us of how much this period of PC gaming has to offer. It’s surely the best thing that’s ever happened in the Build Engine, and although limitations of enemy and weapon design reveal themselves over time, the swift movement and sleek maps make Ion Fury a worthy indulgence in the past.

That explains why my RPS-RSS feed is so empty. I lazed out most of their writers ages ago.

Yes, it’s a shame but Tim Stone is really the only non-kid they have left, and it shows…starkly.

Generally agree, but hiring Nate Crowley is a good sign - his twitter stuff is great.

The Digital Foundry video is excellent. dark (John Linneman) was always one of the best posters on the original GAF. I’m glad to see him be successful.

He posted on Twitter that all the footage of Shadow Warrior, Duke, and Quake in the video is taken from a newly built Pentium III running DOS. That’s attention to detail. :)

It’s funny – I grew up during the maturation of the 3D shooters, yet I didn’t fall in love with any of them until Half Life, and then System Shock once I found it. Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Duke3d, Shadow Warrior – I find all of them to be messy, unfocused, lack suspension of disbelief, and are therefore mostly boring. They’re almost a direct translation of generic 2D side-scrollers to 3D in my mind. Put in a decent plot or some character development, as in Ultimate Underworld, System Shock, Half Life, Thief and so on, and you get a ‘real’ game. The appeal to nostalgia falls on deaf ears here.

My quick first impressions.

The best part of the game is the level design. It’s colorful, super detailed, both in the ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ sense, and it’s in the Goldilocks area of complexity. Complex enough to be interesting, not huge or complex enough to be a pain in the ass to traverse or explore, with just the right amount of secondary routes. And they are full of secrets. They are a joy to play.

That said… I’m not too hot on the combat by itself. First, the sound. I’m finding the two main weapons (revolver, shotgun) to be weak and without a noteworthy sound effect. It doesn’t sound as good feedback for the weapons they represent. In general all the sounds are a bit too old school, they sound a bit muddled.
Second, the combat itself. The AI sucks. And I don’t mean ‘they aren’t a crack elite squad that coordinates superb between them and flush me like an expert’, I mean in the sense of enemies mostly staying on the spawn position and shooting, or move very slowly. In a few occasions they were like trying to move against a corner so add also possible AI pathfinding issues.
You may argue “they don’t have to be SMART, they have to be fun to fight! Demons in Doom weren’t exactly smart” (insert smug emoji here). But in old school games like Doom combat is fun thanks to most enemies projectiles being avoidable and variety of enemies (enemies that spawn other enemies, that resurrect allies, that charge at you in a straight line, etc) that allows for a variety of combat encounters. Here most enemies are hitscan enemies, beyond a pair of ‘small annoying’ enemies, without any special ability or pattern of attack, and in fact a slower and more careful pace is promoted thanks to the hit location damage (aim for the heads).
Oh, one more flaw of the combat: there are not pain animations. Tsk tsk.

I think you’re correct. The best thing about this is the levels, both in aesthetic appeal and basic layout design. It’s very impressive. They really push Build in some crazy ways.

The weapons are surprisingly meh. You’ll pretty much use the pistol, shotgun, and bombs from level 1 throughout the rest of the game. The other weapons are okay, but ammo is very scarce and they’re just not all that memorable. That’s an odd thing in a game that pulls much of its design from games that had shrink rays, demon heads, rocket launchers, electro blasters, and other wacky guns. The enemies are also not that distinctive. They’re mostly humanoid hitscan baddies, with the exception of a super-annoying spider thing and a couple other guys including the bosses.

And that boss fight at the end suuuuuuuuuucks.

Civvie 11’s video review is up. He’s one of my favorite Youtubers when it comes to creating humorous and information videos about classic shooters.

Super important post from the game’s technical director, Build wiz and all-around smart guy Evan Ramos, including helpful information about how to make your own levels, and info on what’s happening with Steam achievements.

I’m so happy to see this game in the top 5 of the Steam global sellers and sitting at number 3 on GoG’s bestselling chart. It’s all-time concurrent player peak is already significantly higher than DUSK and Amid Evil.

…and climbing. Currently at number 2.

I suspect that we remember early shooter AI as being better than it actually was. The Duke Nukem engine is from 1991 & Half Life wasn’t released until 1998.Half Life was a watershed moment for FPS AI.

Diego

Pre-Half Life games made combat fun in other ways, as I explained. This isn’t.

edit: an example of AI pathfinding

The two guys on front of the glass are doing the running animation in the spot, but going nowhere, it seems they aren’t able to notice the glass, nor the door on the left side that communicates their room with mine.

Okay, we get it, you don’t like arcade games. Now kindly stop spattering Grey Poupon all over the place.

Oh dang.

“Members of Voidpoint’s Ion Fury team have made sexist and transphobic comments, and included homophobic language in Ion Fury,” the statement sent to Game Informer reads. "We recognize these statements are insensitive, unacceptable, and counterproductive to causes of equality. We unequivocally apologize both for these comments and language as well as for any pain they have caused the gaming community, particularly women and members of the LGBTQ community. We take full responsibility for any damage that has been done to the relationships we’ve worked so hard to build.

“Moving forward, Voidpoint will institute a zero-tolerance policy for this type of language and all employees and contractors will undergo mandatory sensitivity training. As part of our efforts to contribute to the work that must be done to further support these communities, we are donating $10,000 from Ion Fury’s release day proceeds to The Trevor Project. We are also patching Ion Fury ASAP to remove all unacceptable language.”

Which they should’ve had from the beginning…

Which shouldn’t have been there in the first place and we’re removing only because we got caught.

Frankly, the single example mentioned from the game (Olay into Ogay) is so shocking i am trying to recover, and the article rewrites what I perceived from the screenshots of the chat: a critic of some people going nuts on social media for nothing but to get pissed at something. Oh, the irony.
The thing I really learned is that the publisher is smart and understand the insanity of social media.

Outrage: a gay slur (?) in a video game
No outrage: children thrown into cages in the U.S.

I want to become a shut-in even more now