Roguelikes are one of my favorite genres because it’s mostly about skill and tactics. You can beat Enter the Gungeon or Dead Cells with subpar weapons, on your first attempt or through clever use of the mechanics of the game. It also makes progression interesting, as might gain new powers, weapons, and abilities but being able to handle situations you couldn’t before is how you really overcome challenges. So when Fury Unleashed wanted to take the genre, add in some new things and give players something to work towards beating, I was excited. With tons of bosses, a good number of stages, guns, unlockables, and more, is Fury Unleashed a winner, or is it a dud? Here’s our Fury Unleashed Review.
Fury Unleashed might not have the most complicated story, but it’s relatable. While the game itself takes place in the fictional comic world that exists within the games real world, it chronicles the author who went from being passionate about losing interest. This eventually results in things changing, possibly for the better but you need to complete the adventure to find the outcome.
As mentioned above, Fury Unleashed is a roguelike, but it is a lot different from many of the ones I’ve played. Where Enter the Gungeon, RAD and Dead Cells differ, is the general sense of progression. The aforementioned games present challenges and your ability to overcome them is the challenge, you just get a bunch of resources that may or may not help you do so. Fury Unleashed opts out and makes it more level based than anything.
Initially, I had no issue getting past the first or second level but there was a wide array of seemingly difficult enemies that would, for better or worse, defeat me. Just looking at the hero skills, unless you’re absurdly skills or plan on practicing an extremely long time, this is more about leveling than anything else.
For instance, you might start at 100 health, but it is possible to level health up to 300. At the start, you get a small number of grenades, whereas leveling those skills will make them a somewhat common drop and something you can hold a number of and start every level with. You don’t even have a critical hit chance until you level it and that can be increased to 40 percent with damage hitting a potential 200. These are the things that will determine whether or not you’re successful and as a result, the difficulty curve is kind of weird.
Given you start off with extremely low health, almost no resources to maintain combos, an invaluable resource that will yield one free hit per five kill combo, a couple of grenades and practically no way to retrieve health, things seem unforgiving. It isn’t until after you fail a couple of times, which case you’ll probably start to progress much further and have far fewer problems, only to eventually hit a wall. Regardless of how much of a difference these elements make, difficulty will eventually plateau. When this happens you need to learn move sets and get lucky, though don’t expect much.
There really isn’t a whole lot that goes into Fury Unleashed. There basically three worlds, each with three levels, the main boss, and the potential for a wide number of mini-bosses. Most of your runs will come down to figuring out the mechanics. Some enemies can shoot through walls, explode on touch, appear out of nowhere or just offer some kind of annoyance and you need to know how to handle them. Thankfully, you’re given a wide number of modifiers, that depending on your luck will impact things.
Sometimes you’ll trade life or cash for a different gun, armor, or some kind of perk. Occasionally there will be optional challenges, free loot, deals with the devil to exchange X for Y, and more to help you progress. Regardless of how you choose to play, most levels will come down to pointing your gun in a given direction and avoiding attacks. However, don’t expect a lot from your enemies.
The phrase less is more would really go far in Fury Unleashed. Almost every boss comes down to the same core routine. They attack, you avoid bullets and then one of you dies. Admittedly, this could probably be said of practically any game boss in the history of gaming but the reality is that they aren’t that deep. In the first area, I fought Steatoda, Widow Spider, Bloody Sundew, King Sundew, Master of Souls, Priest of Souls, Lord of Souls and the Corrupted Hive. As near as I can tell, this is every boss, excluding the main boss, besides one or possibly in that area, but that is basically like four different fights with a reskin here or a slight change in mechanic there. The spiders (Steatoda/Widow Spider) rush you and shoot some venom at you, the two Sundew flowers rain bullets, and then first some vines and it just goes in this pattern. More often than not, you can expect to play a bullet hell game, which is oddly methodical. Very few of the bosses are dynamic, most actually follow pretty strict patterns, making them easy to predict, even if you can’t actually avoid them.
Unfortunately, that general sense of been there and seen that holds true for much of Fury Unleashed. In the four hours that it took to beat the game, I saw every basic enemy, most of the main bosses, about half of the bosses, a little less than half the guns and every accessory, armor, grenade, special move and melee weapon besides two. To put this into perspective, I’ve put something like 200 hours in Enter the Gungeon and got every trophy/achievement and still haven’t seen every item, yet with this adventure, I’m about halfway there in four hours.
The unfortunate thing isn’t that this is an adventure that hinges almost entirely on your desire to climb leaderboards and complete things more efficiently, it’s that it really is fun when you get the hang of it. There will be many times when you realize you need to do drop stomp an enemy or a grenade is invaluable and either improve or come to understand how each upgrade will better help you achieve your goals.
Fury Unleashed Verdict
In my honest opinion, Fury Unleashed is a fun game that stumbles to get the best part of roguelike games right. You could get halfway through the game, die, upgrade your health and increase health drops, combo time, or shield charges (they let you take a free hit) and win, even if you don’t actually improve. In this sense, things can be underwhelming, as the biggest limit will be how many upgrades does it take to win but there are harder modes and elements if you want to seek them out. As a result, unless you’re looking for a quick and action-packed 2D shooter, you’ll probably be underwhelmed with this experience. Thankfully, you’ll probably have fun, it just simply falls short of some of the other options out there.
[Editor’s Note: Fury Unleashed was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]