Version tested: PC
"fury; noun (pl. -ries); wild or violent anger, a surge of violent anger or other feeling; violence or energy displayed in natural phenomena or in someone's actions."
Okay, we all knew that one. However, anyone without a decent Classics education might have missed this one...
"Fury; noun (pl. -ries); In Greek Mythology, a spirit of punishment, often represented as one of three goddesses who executed the curses pronounced upon criminals, tortured the guilty with stings of conscience, and inflicted famines and pestilences."
After playing Fury for a week, the first definition did nothing for me, really. Maybe on the second or third day, when I numbly contemplated throwing the damned PC out the window, or snapping the keyboard over my knee, I'd have felt some sympathy for that first definition. But after a week, it's definition number two all the day.
I'm not sure what my crime is (there's a long list to choose from; let's just assume I downloaded some albums or something), but yes, I feel like I'm being punished. I'd go so far as to say that a curse is being pronounced upon me, through the medium of my computer's screen. I don't know about famines, but describing Fury as being "pestilent"? Oh yes, that rings bells. That rings all sorts of bells.
Fury is a massively mult... No, wait, stop there. Fury thinks that it's a massively multiplayer game. It's marketed as such, and indeed the first bullet point on the back of the box is "Intense free to play MMO with no monthly subscription."
This is a lie. On two counts. Firstly, we take issue with calling this a massively multiplayer game at all - in fact, it's a fantasy-themed deathmatch-style multiplayer game, which masquerades as a proper MMO by having persistent characters and a needlessly gigantic and bloated lobby area. There is no storyline, no quest system; the entire "fantasy world" is just a massive area stocked with NPCs who will sell you equipment and abilities between battles.
Secondly, the whole "no monthly subscription" thing. That's true, to the extent that you can play Fury without paying a subscription - but there's an eyebrow-raising system in place which means that players have to pay a monthly fee in order to do basic things like selling items on the Auction House. Those paying a fee also get better loot after battles, and are given free in-game gold. We're not actually totally opposed to the idea of paying for gold or in-game privileges, but Fury's implementation is cack-handed at best.
Then again, cack-handed is another phrase that comes to mind quite a lot when talking about Fury. It's a game which feels like it was designed by one of those hyperactive 12 year olds who watch too many action movies and then post on forums about how it would be MEGA KEWL if there was a game where you had a chaingun on that fired bullets in the shape of naked boobies. It's a school of game design where more is always better, and one which exists at a tangent to the real world - or to any idea of entertainment.
Consider this; when you go into battle in Fury, you have a bar full of skills on the bottom of the screen, much like every other RPG in the history of ever. Fury's designers, however, drank too much caffeine one day (or perhaps one year) and decided to give you twenty four skill slots. Yes, twenty four combat skills equipped at once.
More is better! Except it's not. In order to fill out those 24 skill slots, Fury has an array of skills available to your character which is so bloated we're surprised the box doesn't leak trans fats all over your floor when you open it. Countless skills do almost exactly the same thing, but with minor differences in their percentages; countless others are almost totally useless in combat, because they affect opponents' stats in a way that's nothing short of obtuse.
More is better! Except it's actually worse. The lobby area (or fantasy world, or whatever you want to call it- it's still a damned lobby, no matter how big you make it) is brimming with NPCs, a huge number of whom are totally redundant. You end up running all over the area in order to visit NPCs whose function is almost exactly the same, but very slightly different. We reckon about three out of four of them could be removed, their functions merged with the remaining NPC, to wonderful effect - but Fury's "more is better!" approach and its determination to pretend that its lobby is a vast fantasy world means it needs loads of NPCs to do jobs that are done by one simple menu in other games.
The thing is, the combat itself didn't have to be awful, once you get down to it. Oh, it's got problems - it's got more problems than Amy Winehouse accidentally locked in an off-license for a weekend. It's much too fast-paced, to the extent of being outright chaotic, and a combination of a terrible camera and some pretty awful lag make it utterly unplayable at times. Underneath it all, though, there's a simple, effective battle system at work - it's just that it's totally suffocated by the huge layers of pointless wadding and stupid decisions which smother the Good Idea at the heart of it all, and leave its swollen, blue-faced corpse by the side of the road while they run off to find a chaingun that fires boobie-bullets.
Technically, Fury is quite a stunning accomplishment; we didn't realise until now that the Unreal Engine 3, in the wrong hands, could be quite so bad. The game actually looks quite nice; nothing special, but far from awful. However, its mediocre visuals will tax your PC like an Inland Revenue man hopped up on crack; we had to scale the settings right down in order to make it remotely playable, and even then it crashed us back to the desktop with depressing regularity. Perhaps it was trying to tell us something.
Or perhaps we're trying to tell you something. What we're trying to tell you is that there are a hell of a lot of really good games coming out right about now - so there's absolutely no reason for you to lower yourself to playing this pestilent game. We're probably boosting its score by an entire mark on the basis that the uninstaller works, actually.
3 / 10