From developer Kaos Studios, Frontlines: Fuel of War was aiming to be one of the smash-hits of the spring release season. However, we were disappointed to discover that this newest addition to the 360s veritable heap of First Person Shooters doesn’t quite have what it takes to draw too many gamers away from their Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3 disks.
Frontlines: Fuel of War is set in the future although it is based around oil conflicts that seem quite similar to issues of today. And brace yourselves for this surprise; most of it takes place in the Middle East. Unfortunately the gameplay, like the setting, is nothing new either, although that’s not to say it’s bad. The game’s mechanics are quite similar to those in Battlefield 2: Modern Combat and controls for vehicles are what you would expect, although jets are just as frustrating to fly as the fighters were in Battlefield 1942.
Frontlines: Fuel of War can be compared so easily to the Battlefield series because it uses an almost identical mission system. That is to say that you must go around the map capturing pre-determined points that, if you capture enough of them, lead to victory. The open battlefield style doesn’t lend itself too well to a campaign although the game does have a single player story mode. The narrative and mission events are decent but certainly nothing to rival the creativity of bioshock or the intensity of Call of Duty 4.
The game’s graphics aren’t great when you think about the possibilities displayed in other next-gen shooters. Luckily however, the destruction does look pretty nice and the environments aren’t too bad if you can overlook texture pop-in.
If Frontlines: Fuel of War isn’t quite the graphics spectacle we’d hoped and if it doesn’t have the best campaign in the ever growing FPS pond, then how can it stand up to other modern shooters? With the ever increasing popularity of online multiplayer, the developers at Kaos made sure that Frontlines: Fuel of War could make it’s mark even against the high standards set by Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3. FFOW features 50 player multiplayer. Yeah, you heard me right, fifty! So long as your connection can handle it, then you can have massive battles online over many huge, fairly well designed maps. Online battles are gigantic, with players using different weapon classes and a variety of vehicles and abilities to try and shift the balance in their favor. Having 25 players on each team really allows for groups of friends to launch large coordinated assaults on enemy positions which makes the online experience quite rewarding. The only downside to the otherwise great online setup is the fact that you can only play one game type which detracts from the long term value. Kaos missed an opportunity here and it’s disappointing that they couldn’t add a little more.
Nevertheless, the sheer scale of multiplayer battles in an already tested open battlefield system is enough to make Frontlines: Fuel of War a worthwhile purchase, albeit if not at its starting sixty bucks. The single player campaign is enjoyable though nothing special, and the graphics are decent but don’t live up to their potential. However the sound is good as is the variety of vehicles you can command. The game also has a good set of maps to choose from which helps boost its online appeal. Overall I would say that Frontlines: Fuel of War is worth the purchase if you are looking for a great online shooter that you can sit down and play with your friends for a couple hours on a Saturday. The game doesn’t do anything revolutionary but it does have some pretty awesome action.
Positives: Fun FPS action, good gameplay design for multiplayer, huge 50 player battles online.
Negatives: Future conflict in the Middle East....hmm....deja vu..., not the best single player campaign, graphics could be better.
Graphics: Good 7.5
Sound: Very Good 8.5
Controls: Very Good 8
Campaign: Good 7
Gameplay: Very Good 9
Total (not an average): Very Good 8