3D Realms, the legendary publisher of Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem 3D, is working on a large number of upcoming games – we should see a few of them in 2023 and we’re checking out two of them here – RIPOUT and Phantom Fury.
We took an immediate liking to RIPOUT when it popped up on our radar, as early footage and gameplay immediately reminded us of DOOM 3. Developed by Pet Project Games, a new studio with an experienced team, it takes a different approach to the sci-fi shooter genre though – emphasizing co-op gameplay over a single player focus.
There’s still a story premise though, and even though it doesn’t feature a gateway to hell it has a bit of a DOOM feel to it. You’re a soldier in a scenario where mankind is moving to another planet, but experiments that have gone horribly wrong have caused mutants to rise up against humanity. You have to head in and put a stop to it, before they overrun us and wipe us all out. And with its mix of organic material and cold and dark space stations, there’s a definite Aliens meets DOOM vibe to the atmosphere.
There are plenty of differences with DOOM 3 as well, like the mutant pet that you have with you and the fact that RIPOUT doesn’t feel scripted (because it’s all randomized), which makes for some tense horror moments as you never fully know what to expect. This greatly enhances the replay value for the game, which due to its short (approximately half hour) missions is easy to jump into for a quick session.
While most enemies are a mixture of fleshy bits and mechanical parts, there’s a good bit of diversity between them – both visually and in the way you need to approach them. The cool thing about that? You can do so cooperatively with a friend, which offers some fun ways to use that strange pet mutant gun of yours. Besides firing it, you can also throw it at enemies for an extra attack or let it fetch upgrades for you, so coordinate those moves well and you can quickly take down most of the enemies while growing stronger in the process. Adding a tactical layer, RIPOUT is one of the first shooters we’ve seen where enemies can also pick up these upgrades, so that creates some additional time pressure.
With an attractive visual style and easy “pick up and play” gameplay, RIPOUT is one to look forward to when it launches.
3D Realms announced Phantom Fury a few months ago, and by that time we had already attended a behind the scenes look at the game, which is a spiritual successor to the retro shooter Ion Fury. It’s coming out later this year for all major console systems and PCs.
It’s worth pointing out that Phantom Fury isn’t a direct sequel to Ion Fury (or Bombshell), but it does have connections to earlier 3D Realms games as developer Slipgate Ironworks is bringing back Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison for another adventure. They’re doing so while swapping out Ion Fury’s mid-90s look and feel with something that more closely resembles the era of Half-Life and the early Medal of Honor and Call of Duty games.
For us, it feels like a major leap forward, with levels of freedom and interaction that just weren’t around in those other titles, resulting in games that were far more story-driven and immersive. And although we haven’t seen much of Phantom Fury’s storyline, that immersive nature is definitely there, as you can interact with so much of the game world you travel through – from vending machines to arcade games and (going with a more practical point of view) from vehicles to consoles you can hack.
And it’s hard to realize this now, but the shooters from that era weren’t actually as immersive as Phantom Fury is looking to be – beyond the interactivity mentioned above, there are also some impressive destructible environments, multiple routes and different gameplay approaches. Despite the retro look, this game feels like a fun shooter with surprisingly modern mechanics – a bit like some of the more mature shooters of the era it borrows from. And since those include some of our favorite shooters of all time, we can’t wait to go hands on with this one as well.