Furi has a lot of great things going for it. Intriguing character designs from famed Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki, licensed electronic music from the likes of Carpenter Brut, and a super responsive, intense combat system combine to create something unique and sometimes brilliant – but as a whole, the game doesn't quite come together as well as it should.
Furi sticks you in the role of an unnamed, silent swordsman who's been locked away for reasons unknown. Standing between you and the exit are a series of Jailers – each of them a unique boss enemy that you'll have no choice but to take down in order to secure your freedom. It's a pretty simple premise, both in terms of story and gameplay, which results in an experience that feels focused.
You'll spend your time doing two things in Furi: fighting the Jailers, and slowly walking through visually interesting environments as you make your way to your next opponent. It's this latter activity that ends up holding the game back just a little – these walking segments are meant to act as downtime following each gripping boss battle, but sometimes they're a little too drawn out for their own good, and the vague narrative exposition that occurs during your trek is never really enough to keep your mind from wandering.
It's easy to see what developer The Game Bakers was going for here, offering some respite between battles, but in execution it's just a tiny bit overdone. Fortunately, if you're killed during a Jailer fight, you aren't forced to take these walks all over again in order to get back to the brawl – you're simply dropped right back into the action.
And by that, we mean you've got to restart the boss fight all the way from the beginning. Not an issue in most other games, but Furi's battles can end up lasting a heck of a long time – it took us almost 20 minutes to bring down a couple of Jailers in particular, with most duels clocking in at around the 10 to 15 minute mark. Needless to say, when you fall in battle, it really does feel like a swift kick to the gut – especially when you're on the brink of victory.
But Furi's meant to be tough. The title revels in the challenges that it throws at you, as its bosses change their tactics every time that they lose a chunk of health. Indeed, the game can be uncompromisingly brutal – one wrong move and you can pay dearly for your mistake. It's a release that demands concentration and fast reactions; it mixes elements of bullet hell with reactionary close quarters duels, and it never pulls any punches.
Success always seems to be within reach, however. As mentioned, the controls are incredibly tight and responsive; press a button and something happens instantly, whether you're dashing, cutting, or parrying. When you're in the zone, Furi is an absolute joy as you weave between projectiles, perform perfect counterattacks, and see through your enemy's patterns. When a specific fight really begins to click and you feel as though you and your opponent are on equal terms, Furi is right up there with some of the best action titles that the PlayStation 4 has to offer.
Getting to that point can be frustrating, though. Now and again, the game's difficulty can spike, meaning that trial and error comes into the equation. Attacks that you'll likely never see coming can finish you off and you'll have the urge to hurl your DualShock 4 into the nearest wall. Again, Furi is at its best when you're not thinking - when you're relying on your reactions and instincts to survive - and having to memorise attack patterns takes away from that fulfilling rush of adrenaline.
Thankfully, a superb licensed soundtrack that's made up of punchy, tense electronic beats is always on hand to amplify the aforementioned rush. The music merges seamlessly with the title's art style and particular brand of action; when you're halfway into a deathmatch with a jailer and the track erupts into a harrowing chorus, it's hard to stop the hairs on the back of your neck from standing on edge. Furi is a brilliant example of how a fitting soundtrack can push a project beyond its limits - take our advice and wear a good pair of headphones when you sit down to play.
Furi's able to stand tall thanks to its super tight combat system, but it's a real shame that the same level of polish is absent outside of battle. Cutscenes suffer from very noticeable screen tearing, and cinematics often stutter as the game cuts from one camera angle to the next. None of these issues should come as any real surprise, though, since the title's built on Unity – an engine that has a rather dismal track record on Sony's console.
Furi excels when you're in the heat of the moment, fighting for survival against great looking boss characters. Super responsive controls elevate the action, and a fantastic soundtrack only adds to the brilliant rush that the game's capable of providing - it's just a shame that everything outside of the crisp combat doesn't quite measure up. When Furi's on point, it looks, sounds, and feels incredible, but a little too often, it struggles to maintain its intensity.
When I saw it was going to be free for Ps+ I thought it would be rubbish but it actually sounds like the kind of thing I'll really enjoy.
Sounds like a challenge! I will definitely be giving this a go.
Man the game looks so badass! Hope it doesn't disappoint me
Looking forward to trying it out. It sounds pretty neat.
I will definitely give it a go, looking forward to hearing the soundtrack.
Isnt this the same dev that made Squids Odyssey? I like that one, charming but very repetitive and long so I never beat it.
Still this is "free" so I will pick it up.
Even if it got a 1 I wI'll try it out since we are getting it free.
Looking foward to it. I'm very intrigued!
Sounds nails. Bring it on! For freeeeeeeee.
Sound's great i'm looking forward to this.
Good review. Sounds like between fights are a good time to get a snack. For free it won't be too frustrating.
7 not bad for a new game. I am always up to supporting new ideas, even if its not my type off game. I give it a go.
Probably get round to this in 2017 lol
Should have probably mentioned this before but if anyone has an questions about the game feel free to ask.
I was a little worried with the first couple of sentences, but I'm glad to hear that it will probably still be exactly what I hoped for. Looking forward to it! Plus you can't beat free-ninety-nine.
Is it a short game?
"Super responsive controls elevate the action"
That's what matters most to me. Can't wait to play
@sinalefa Took me somewhere around 5-7 hours to beat, not sure of the exact number, and that included numerous retries on various fights.
If you knew every fight inside out and could breeze through it, that'd probably run you... 3 or 4 hours..
Sounds like it'll be worth a download! Been itching for a game like this lately
This sounds awesome but everytime I see a screen shot it makes me want to play el shaddai. Could just play both I suppose.
To be honest I actually like the thought of having these walking sections of downtime between the fights so I'm quite looking forward to this hope it's not too hard though!
More interested in Hyper Light Drifter personally, really wish those guys would give us a ps4 release date.
Thanks. Will definitely get it
One thing to add: once you completed the game the first time, a new difficulty will be unlocked. I think it's called Furier. It's not just your normal hard mode where the enemies deal more damge. They had more moves and tricks and damn it was hard
The final boss in this game was the absolute worst I've ever played in a video game. It's the pinnacle of horrible game design and enough to make me forget about all of the fun I had playing through. It felt like an afterthought with the questionable design choice to completely change how the Stranger moves, fights, and survives. It was boring, frustrating, and mind numbingly repetitive. It took away all of the things that made the game unique and left a shallow husk of a bullet hell shooter. It's like the devs had never played a video game before.
It's extremely disappointing for me as I was even looking foward to replaying this game. It was a complete waste of time. I was considering buying this, but it was a PS Plus freebie. I'm very grateful it was. I would have been very irritated had I spent $25 on this.
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