Frontlines: Fuel of War was not a game I was excited to play, but I picked it up because it was $5 at my local GameStop. It seemed too much like Battlefield and looked too much like every other modern shooter, but I was surprised at how much fun I had with this title. Granted it’s not perfect, the online is dead, the game is mostly brown war torn areas, and I don’t even remember the story; but the game play kept me entertained from beginning to end.
Let’s get this one thing out of the way; this game is a Battlefield clone. Playing through the campaign I couldn’t help but think of how similar it was to Battlefield’s conquest mode. You capture objectives crawling with enemies (bases, outposts, armories, etc…) in an order that you choose, defend your newly “acquired” base, and then head on to the next one. I thought this would get tedious, but it didn’t. Even though I was doing the same thing over and over, the locations (as brown as they were) varied just enough to keep my attention and the gunplay was fast paced and satisfying.
It seems as if the developers created this game specifically for fast paced action. Guns can be reloaded while sprinting. Crouching and going prone barely have a delay. Enemies are abundant and quite fun to dispatch because of their ragdoll physics. Even dying hardly slows the game down. When you die, you are simply brought to a redeployment screen where you can choose a weapon set and a spawn point, without losing any progress whatsoever.
Guns have a near-futuristic feel to them. They all look plausible and seem to be based on real-world designs. There aren’t any new ideas in this area, but there is a nice diversity. Assault rifles, SMG’s, shotguns, sniper rifles, and pistols are nicely rounded out by rocket launchers, RC drones, and airstrikes. I felt that a few of the guns could have had less recoil, but it was never unmanageable.
When the online was still active, it was nearly identical to the campaign. Two teams would attempt to capture all of the objectives on the map while defending theirs from the enemy. It was nothing special, but I bet it could have been fun with friends. Unfortunately, you would need a lot of friends to enjoy the online now, since this game is without AI bots and nobody plays online.
As for the single player campaign story, you are part of a strike force nicknamed “The Stray Dogs” and are in the middle of a war over oil against “The Red Star Alliance”. That’s about all I could figure out. The characters are bland and even though I watched all the cut scenes, I never really cared what was happening. Just give me something to shoot!
This game is brown. Very brown. Other than that, everything looks okay, textures are detailed enough and the explosions actually had some kick. I won’t spoil them, but a couple set pieces looked quite impressive. I had a few problems with texture pop-in when levels started, but this only happened a few times and disappeared within a few seconds.
Anyone who has played Halo will be right at home here; there are only a few minor differences using the default control setup. There are a few Frontline specific options, but you can’t map a function to any button. The land vehicles also control similarly to Halo’s, but they don’t fare as well. Cars have too much of a delay for turning that makes tighter turns near-impossible. Unfortunately, the RC-cars (yes, just like the ones in Black Ops) have the same problem. Thankfully, the other vehicles (tanks and apc’s) use different control schemes and they all work well enough.
This game definitely earns its T rating, but it’s not as bad as some other games released recently. Everything is pretty PG-13; some blood when people are shot, some cursing spread throughout, the Lord’s name is used in vain, and a sexual joke or two. You can avoid some of the cursing by skipping the cutscenes, but you can’t turn off the blood. There is no gore, but enemies will ragdoll when killed; however, after 15 seconds they disappear.
This isn't a perfect game, but it turned out to be better than I thought. It’s an interesting mix of fast-paced action and Battlefield-style gameplay. The online may be dead, but considering this game currently retails for under $10, I’d say it may be worth checking out for its relatively long campaign and T rating. It’s not a bad alternative to Battlefield for those who don’t want their children to be exposed to its more mature content.