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Monday | June 14, 2021
Frontlines: Fuel Of War

Frontlines: Fuel Of War

Surely not ANOTHER First Person Shooter game on the X360!? Yep, today we have a review of one of the latest titles to hit the 360 this year. We have had some killer titles like Bioshock and Call Of Duty 4, but this year hasn’t seen a killer FPS. Can Frontlines: Fuel Of War deliver a good gaming experience after the raft of medicore FPS titles in 2008?

The game is set in the future and is based around the struggle for oil between warring nations. These issues are very much real, however after watching some trailers I had my doubts as to whether THQ could deliver a fun experience. It all seemed to be taking itself way too seriously.

If you are a Battlefield fanatic the core gameplay mechanics will immediately be familar, the maps are full of preset "capture points". With everyone you steal, the further the game progresses until you eventually have control over the full map, therfore beating the level. There is some variety over the basic capture rule in that sometimes you have to stand next to a building or object for a certain period of time. Other times you will have to plant C4 to blow up a key enemy building or installation. Personally I felt this concept in a single player campaign was a little cheap however it does work reasonably well. I would prefer a more Call Of Duty 4 kind of experience in which the story was developed further but if you are looking for that kind of single player campaign then you need to look elsewhere.

Their are two factions in Frontlines, The Western Coalition Army (United States and European Union) and the Red Star Alliance (Russia and China) and the majority of the game develops throughout the Middle East. Between each level the cutscenes are dealt with via the view of a news reporter and I quite liked this style of approach instead of the usual army jock comadarie we are so used to seeing. You are part of a squad, however this, like much of the single player storyline never really develops any form of depth and everyone is really a "nameless" identity on the field. There are no "Soap McTavish" Call Of Duty 4 character moments here unfortunately.

To be fair to the game, the single player storyline isn’t really a major downfall, after all it makes no allusions to being the next Bioshock, however my main gripe is that with so many first person shooter titles on our shelves, this game doesn’t really deliver anything truly original.

With regards to the multiplayer, this is where the game starts to deliver. With a 50 player possible configuration via Xbox live this is sure to be a massive selling point. Do you have 30 or 40 buddies on xbox live? You are beginning to see where I am coming from I hope, the potential for one of the best online multiplayer experiences.

Not only are you able to play with a huge number of people but you also have planes, tanks, helicopters and a plethora of drones and devices at your disposal. The multiplayer experience really is a lot of fun. I spent most of my weekend immersed in an online fragfest with most of my family and friends !

As with many other online games there are certain classes and roles available. You can choose to have air strike capability and command of EMP attacks to take out enemy vehicles. Every role you take has a further 3 levels of advancement with a new ability added after each level. If you play well enough and reach the top level you have some seriously powerful attacks to level your opponents.

The controls have been well constructed and playtested as they work very well, and with all the different classes and possible player abilities it is just as well, because this is a make or break game deal. They are intuitive and easy to pick up, I think it took me around 30 minutes to feel comfortable with a wide variety of characters and units. The planes can be a little difficult to master however once you adapt to the method it really doesn’t prove that big an ordeal. Weapon selection is handled via a circular style onscreen menu and it works rather painlessly.

I mentioned early than the game supports up to 50 people in multiplayer maps, unfortunately this is only an option via THQ servers so you won’t be hosting your own games. The upsides to this would be that I doubt many home internet connections would be able to handle this many people so with the THQ servers are you almost certainly assured a good lag free online gaming experience. Another negative point would be the fact that there is only one online game mode so after considerable time it could be said that some people would find this boring. I didn’t, however I know there are many gamers much more demanding when it comes to online game play and variety.

The strongest point of Frontlines is the sheer epic feel of the online gameplay, the battles are simply gargantuan. You can play the game in a variety of ways depending on who you are playing with, and there are always multiple ways to claim capture points. The drones in the game add a huge amount of gameplay options as well, because if one of your enemies is holding a point with several tanks, a well placed drone under its belly will send it exploding skywards.

A good tactic is to always have one or two people around a tank as backup support for sneak attacks.

Although I am reviewing the Xbox 360 version, I have had the luxury of playing the game on a high end Pc as well (quad core processor with 8800 ultra) and it does run considerably smoother than the equivalent Xbox 360 version. Obviously this is to be expected, however I frequently noticed texture pop in on the 360 as well as some frame rate issues. I am only guessing that the 360’s limited memory is starting to prove a little bit of an issue for crowded and detailed graphic scenes with explosions and moving debris. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t bad however if you have access to a high end PC then you will start to notice sacrifices on the console version.

The audio is excellent, with well constructed sound and rock music which helps to add tension and excitment to the level design. The dialogue is also decent, and while not class leading certainly won’t detract from the enjoyment of the game. The weapon sounds are great and they are very detailed so there are no issues on the audio side of the game.

Frontlines: Fuel Of War has clearly been developed with multiplayer more in mind and to this end it succeeds, in fact if I was being totally honest, I have spent more time with the multiplayer side of this game than anything I have played in the last year. This is why my review was delayed, the game has well and truly sunk its teeth into my gaming hand and will not let go!

The single player side of the game is not so fulfilling and will bring nothing original to the table, however if you like what you hear from the review, then you will not be disappointed. There are still achievement points to win, the game looks pretty and is very well polished. Whether it is original or exciting enough for you is going to be a hard call for me to make, however if you like the concept and gaming online in a FPS war setting then I highly recommend this title, Frontlines is at the end of the day, a lot of fun.

We have several Xbox 360 versions of this game to give away ! Find out how to win one over here!

Single player may very well be limited for many people with nothing unique to offer. It is however still enjoyable. Most of the fun happens online however and it is one of the best online 360 games right now (see multiplayer).
The game looks very good and has been designed with care. There are however some possible limitations of the 360 hardware showing now especially when this is directly compared to a modern day high end PC.
Sound effects and music are all very highly polished. No complaints.
Up to 50 people in one epic fragfest leads to many lost hours and sweaty palms. Very highly recommended.
(not an average)
A game which is defined by the fun online experience. If you have no interest in gaming online then caution is advised. For the target audience however this game is highly recommended.


About Author

Stuart Davidson

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