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FRONTLINES: FUEL OF WAR is a team-based first-person shooter based over a war for oil, it is published by company THQ, and can be bought from STEAM or retail. The only DRM that this game employs is a serial check. The game was rated '15' by the BBFC and '16+' by PEGI.
I'm pinned, bullets swoop over my head as I dive to the ground. Time is short, and the troops that threatened my life were getting ever closer, their firey bullets itching ever nearer to my perfectly constructed face. I stand, revealing my body from cover and getting a chest-full of ammunition in doing so. My vision pulsates and I stare through my scope, the crosshairs inching ever closer to the head of my enemy. I pull the trigger. The sound of a bullet, a gunshot from my assault rifle echoed throughout the harsh urban location as the corpse of the unfortunate man on the other end of my scope flops lifelessly to the cold, hard ground. I swoop to the ground once again, covering my head under fear of death. I throw a grenade over the top of my cover and I get a brief glimpse of a lifeless corpse hurtling through the air. I sprint to the edge of my cover, firing relentlessly at passing enemies, swooning unstably as I fire rain of death in the general direction of my enemies. Then my bullet hits an explosive barrel. This battle just got incendiary, explosive to the highest degree. Bodies hurtle majestically through the air, firing final shells from their weapons as they swoop the skies, before landing with a crunch. I look at their crumpled, ragdoll corpses, and I know that it's the end of the fighting, at least for now.
Of course, the gameplay isn't quite that majestic. It's truly playable in singleplayer, with a few hiccups in the multiplayer. The singleplayer campaign has some really nice touches, such as when you are killed, you have the opportunity to rejoin the battle from where you were, but allowing you to pick a totally new loadout to play this segment of the level with, much like the system of some of the acclaimed by typically rubbish Delta Force games.
However, it's painfully obvious by the repeated sound files of the squad talking, the dodgy voice acting and the occasionally bland level design that this was primarily meant to be a multiplayer game. Brilliantly, multiplayer works well. Unlike several other modern shooters, it has premade classes of certain weapons. There's no mix and match here, and I think that really helps balance the game in a fantastic way, and it means that there is no calling of 'noob' at the person who uses the overpowered perks such as Juggernaught that is so prominent in the later Call of Duty series. This game, however, is as far from the Call of Duty series as I could possibly comprehend. If I was asked what the game resembled, I would tell you that the closest I place this game to is the epic from Dice, Battlefield 2. It's faster paced than Battlefield 2, but the idea remains the same, and the weapons feel similar. It's not fair to say it's a complete rip, but a very, very large amount of this game appears to be in Battlefield 2 also. There is vehicle combat online, you can pilot any vehicle fairly easily, using the general movement controls that you can use when you're the ground troops. The general range of vehicles means that there is a vehicle for anyone's piloting tastes, just as there is a weapon for everyone's gun love.
However, there are certainly problems in FRONTLINES, specifically in the multiplayer. It's not a problem with the core gameplay, but a problem with the network optimization in the game means that there is a problem with rubber-banding. Rubber-banding is just what you would expect it to be. It's like your character has been attached to a giant rubber band and is being flung about the game area. It's irritating to have happen to you, but ultimately, it doesn't ruin the entire gaming experience. Other problems involve the lack of servers, and how there may not be enough severs in your area to guarantee a lag-free experience, which could be problematic in a game so focused in weaponry accuracy which by a few milliseconds could be far altered.
The graphics in Frontlines are powered by Epics Unreal 3 engine. It's good enough looking, even if the colours that it uses are primarily on the brown spectrum. It's a grimy modern war game again, but it was made when they weren't really mainstream, so you cannot blame it for its setting and colours. In addition, the character design is nice, and the shadowing and lighting brilliant for the time that the game was created. When the game was released, it was very nice looking. Today, it fails to create the same awe that it might have created when it was first released. It still doesn't look bad, and the animations on the characters aren't that bad. Again, the visuals have an overwhelmingly similar look to that of Battlefield 2, and it does aid my theory of the game being a complete (if worse playing) clone of that game.
Sadly, the graphics aren't really up to scratch now a days, however, the optimization of the game is beyond awful. You will find yourself walking throughout the games environments and suddenly the sound will stop, the picture freeze up for little longer than a millisecond and you've already been shot in the face by a mass-swearing ultra-skilled twelve year old that plays the game for twelve hours every day (kudos if you get the reference). This may be a large problem, but when it's not stuttering, it's well scaled onto computers and it runs at a good, if unstable, high framerate.
The sound in this game isn't bad, the echo of gunshots, and the sounds of the warzone. It's all in there, but it never really sounds above average. Rather irritatingly, the sounds of the soldiers are repeated agonisingly throughout the game, both in single and multiplayer. Also in an irritating fashion, the sounds are always really off. It doesn't sound like you'd expect it to in real life. It's by no means a terrible factor of the game, but it could be heavily improved on, and it's not got that quality that some other games of the genre have so well implemented. Therefore, the sound isn't really on the upper-end of the spectrum, but it isn't the very worst I have ever heard.
Value for Money/Longevity
It's hard to comment on this particular value for the game, especially with the onset of recently released Call of Duty: Black Ops, I haven't really been playing the game that much. However, if anything has come out of this, it is that the game isn't really good enough to have you coming back to it more than a few times, especially when there's something better you could be doing. The game isn't really comparable to the bigger names of the genre, but it's a perfect, cheap, little distraction. The game could have been one hell of a lot better in its addictive properties, its quality and its general gameplay, but it's a good distraction for the man that is short of money. However, if you can get a superior game of the same sort of genre, such as Battlefield 2, you'd end up getting a lot more playtimes out of that than you would this.
The learning curve of a game is how long it takes for you to learn the ups and downs of the gameplay. I'd say that Frontlines had a fairly shallow learning curve. Anyone who has ever played a first person shooter before should, almost immediately feel right at home with the controls and the gameplay. There isn't that much to the game, there is a control point capture system, but it's not really that impacting on the gameplay, nor is it that hard to learn (you stand by the flag until it's captured, and then you move on). The sniping is borderline too easy, the machine gunning a little flat (there is no recoil in the game), and for those reason, it's an easy game to pick up, and an easy game to master. The learning curve is very mild indeed.
There is a multiplayer in this game; however, it's not very active. There are a few loyal community members still playing the game, but other than that it's completely deserted. If you can get into the few populated servers, the multiplayer is the best part of the fairly flat game, but if you can't, there isn't really that much you can do other than sit there and wait for a space to become available or go and play something else. The PunkBuster system that is apparent in the multiplayer is also interesting. PunkBuster is a system devised for picking up hackers, those who exploit the games systems, but it has kicked me on multiple occasions for having a 'Duplicated CD Key'. I'm unsure if it's a glitch in the system, as it only occurred on a single server, but it's most definitely a legitimate CD Key as I acquired the game from STEAM. In the games that I did manage to get into, there were people calling hacker left right and centre. The game has hackers, and the PunkBuster Anti-Cheat system kicks those that are trying to play the game legitimately, while leaving be those who aren't. It's a flawed system and a real kick in the teeth for legitimate players. Other than that, it's a fairly balanced, easy to play multiplayer experience that I suspect most people will enjoy, if only for a minute.
There is, as you'd expect from a war game, some content in the game that some will find offensive.
Violence is featured in many prominent forms throughout the game, and it's a core gameplay feature. The violence includes violence on foot, where foot soldiers (which are played from a first person perspective) shoot at each other. Upon bullet impact, there is a brief, but barely noticeable, blood splurt. Should the gunshot have killed the character that you were aiming for, their body will ragdoll, turning into a lifeless dummy that rolls off buildings or flops to the ground. You cannot perform any post-mortem damage to the dead bodies.
Vehicle violence is also featured in the game, the vehicles can run over both friendly and enemy characters, there isn't a blood splurt in this occasion, but the characters ragdoll will tumble over the vehicle in a way that some may find disturbing. You can shoot a weapon from the passenger seat of the vehicle, which does result in a blood flash from the person you're shooting at.
The ragdoll scenes are generally unrealistic and they can occasionally be comical. The death sequences are very rarely horrible or disturbing to a degree that a young teenager wouldn't be able to handle.
There is some use of moderate language throughout the game, however, it is infrequent and only used in the heat of battle. Nothing a young teenager couldn't handle.
The violence isn't particularly brutal and the language is mild in comparison to similar games in the genre. The game is safe for a young teenager, as the impact caused by the game is minimal compared to other, similar games.
The game isn't really fantastic, the gameplay is fun for a while, but the graphics and sound are nothing to be admired. The game plays well, at least for a while. There are a few glitches, and it occasionally chugs. It's not a bad game as such, just one that could have been so much better than it turned out. A great shame.
3 stars of 5.
This game is advertised as being a modern multi player based fps game in a similar style to the battlefield series. I cannot confirm this since I can't launch a game on-line nor can I play a single player game for more then two minutes without a system crash; this game is simply unfinished it is shocking that this game made it through quality testing to get put onto consoles.
Please note that this may be due to the fact that the game was developed partially by a mod team, the same team that created the mod desert combat. Mods are created gradually with many patches, sometimes it can take years for a game to be fully finished and even then updates may still come.
When this method is applied to commercially development it can be hit or miss, I'm afraid that this is a miss. I was honestly looking forward to this game, following the development of the game whenever magazines covered it. After the game had long left my mind I found a steam sale for a low low price, after the download the game did not function. It is almost as if the video at the beginning was put in place to taunt the player.
Frontlines: Fuel of War is yet another take on the highly popular Battlefield-like conquest gametype; capturing objectives to secure over half of the map and secure victory for your team. To add some variation to this, Fuel of War implements a changing "frontline" throughout the course of the game, that advances or retreats depending on how much of the map you've captured. Basically this indicates how well you're doing, but instead of being able to capture any objective on the map at any given moment, you are limited to the next ones beyond your current frontline making the battle more focused. The other main component that makes Frontlines unique is the perks available to you independent of your weapons class, such as EMP, Drones and Airstrikes. These are what sets it apart from most shooters, as using these perks you can call in an airstrike, set up a turret, or control an RC helicopter drone to sneak up on and blow up an unfortunate unsuspecting enemy.
Singleplayer in Frontlines is fairly enjoyable, albeit very short at around 5-6 hours. But it's obvious this game was designed with multiplayer in mind, as even the main campaign is just a more fleshed-out variant on multiplayer with bots, and a vague storyline about the world running out of fuel supplies and the subsequent World War 3 that ensues. Its a welcome addition to the package but not something you should buy the game solely for. The missions have some variation, such as a tank battle on a battlefield hit by tactical nukes and infiltrating a bunker to avert the launch of a nuclear missile 30 times as powerful as the bomb that hit Hiroshima (yes, really!) There are some dull points however and because most missions just require capturing more objectives it starts to get repetitive by the end. Lastly, the AI is mostly generic and unintelligent cannon-fodder, frequently failing to notice you, and bravely ignoring saving their lives or taking cover. Overall, the singleplayer is worth a look because it's practice for the game mechanics and weapons ready for multiplayer combat, its just no Call of Duty 4.
The main meat and potatoes of the game. Most of the maps are decent, including a close combat infantry map on the streets, and a more vehicle-oriented map set in a huge solar farm in the middle of nowhere. One map called Invasion has an interesting premise; one team attack the enemy base at night by invading with helicopters, however it's hugely biased and the defending team can often easily hold them off.
The game has great potential for teamwork however this is completely ruined by the lack of communication possibilities. Text chat of course is slow, and your message is rarely seen before it just scrolls off screen. There is no quick-command function as seen in most shooters these days, for example in Battlefield 2 by holding Q you access a command wheel to offer basic but useful communication, alerting your teammates or sending them orders. Lastly, voice chat is limited to your squad only, and the squad mechanic is fairly basic, not giving any real incentive to join one. Another comparison to Battlefield where the teamwork falls short is that there are no medics or re-suppliers, as your soldier heals over time and can't be brought back to life, and you get ammo from points around the map. All of this adds up to make you feel very isolated within the game and makes it difficult to form a strategy, just everyone wanders around doing what they feel like.
However, the combat even by yourself is good fun. There are a lot of things to do and ways to kill your enemy thanks to the different classes and perks, and you can play the game in many different ways. For example, a Sniper with EMP is an effective combo; you are hidden on radar, can lay down an EMP to protect you from drones, and using an EMP launcher can disable enemy vehicles - they jump out frustrated and you can just shoot them in the head. With Special Ops and Drones, you are effective in close combat, can lay down C4 for approaching enemies, and can hide in a corner to deploy your remote controlled buddies. The drones are a big plus for the game, as driving them around the map is fun and lets you get kills without endangering yourself. To experiment with this, I found a good hiding spot and proceeded to get a score of 30 kills and 0 deaths in the round. Unbalanced you might say, but enjoyable at least.
The vehicles are what you would come to expect, tanks, jeeps and helicopters, these are implemented quite well and in some maps are vital for success. Crucially though, they're not as invincible as in other games, because not only is there an Anti-vehicle class but most of the perk classes can be used to take out vehicles as well. This is a good decision, and as a result amateurs can't roll around in tanks slaughtering the whole enemy team.
Overall, the multiplayer battles are usually fun but there are some more flaws. The weapons aren't too good, they're fairly generic but can be hard to use, and the pistols are quite useless. The game is also open to spawn-killing, "base-rape," throwing grenades randomly to score lucky kills and just about anything of this nature you can think of. Some more problems with the game are discussed later. Don't get me wrong though, Frontlines is on a huge scale and can be very entertaining indeed. It's a good alternative to the battlefield series, and the perks system sets it apart from similar games.
The graphics are a mixed bag. It uses the Unreal 3 engine and can look quite nice but has a lot of problems. Firstly because of the game engine used, no anti-aliasing can be enabled in the game options. This makes the game look very jagged and unappealing. Textures are of a reasonable quality but there are some flaws, such as some textures randomly disappearing and looking blurry. Even on maximum graphical settings the game doesn't look brilliant, but it's functional at least.
Bottom line, this game needed more testing and working on. It's in dire need of patching and is arguably not in a totally finished state. When Frontlines first released, a lot of Vista users had to wait a few days before a hotfix was released and they could even start the game. The server browser is shockingly bad, often not displaying a server's ping, takes a long time to refresh and darts around while it loads making it very hard to select a server to play on. Hit detection when you're shooting at times can be appalling, completely ignoring the bullets you've just pumped into someone. The shooting controls in general need to be refined and tightened. On a singleplayer mission, the building around me went completely invisible and for a minute I had to navigate myself around without being able to see what was around me. Some computers handle it better than others, XP is usually better than Vista (no surprise there, and yes I'm a Vista user.) Many people even with excellent computers have had problems with the game stuttering and freezing, a temporary fix for this is to set Foliage in the options to "low." Unfortunately, the list goes on. With more time to have worked on Frontlines, or if some good patches are released, this could become a brilliant game that rivals the Battlefield series but as it stands is terminally flawed.
It may disappoint some people to learn that there are no persistent stats whatsoever of any kind, whether online or offline. There are also no weapons or items that are unlockable permanently, perks unlocked in-game are just temporary. Added to the short singleplayer campaign, one gametype and 8 multiplayer maps this raises some serious concerns about longevity. Luckily, there is a variety of things you can do during a battle, and with the different classes, vehicles and perks to try out it should keep you entertained for a while at least.
It may seem like I've spoke quite harshly of the game overall. This is because Frontlines desperately needs patching and generally sorting out because at the core, lies an immensely enjoyable game with tons of potential. The game needs saving before it falls by the way-side and is forgotten. As it is now, it's still entertaining but it could be much more. I recommend you try this before you buy, it's not going to appeal to everyone but Battlefield fans should lap it up, and it could attract some gamers new to the genre.
Written and submitted by me on other sites such as www.gamefaqs.com