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I love racing games, and the thought of making a TRUE sandbox-style racer was music to my ears. Burnout Paradise has probably been the best attempt so far, yet given that Fuel boasts reportedly the largest surface area of any video game in history, I had to give it a go.
What's first noticeable is how impressive the visuals are. Although not a particularly strong competitor to the impending Gran Turismo 5, it looks good, particularly the lighting effects, and the surrounding environments are also well rendered. The problem, though, is that the environments are very repetitive, and it's clear to see why the mountains are so well-rendered when that's one of only about 10 environmental objects they've had to render!
The plot is quite daft: Earth has become a desolate landscape after some unknown disaster, and so everyone just...races around...the same dull area...of a GIANT LANDSCAPE...Yes, it's very flimsy indeed, but quite laughably so when you think about it. However, the gameplay sadly doesn't fare much better; it's race-based, so your main goal is to win, but it's just quite a bland and boring game despite the promise of open-ended gameplay that it has on the tin. It is also a very glitch game, and a large amount of the vehicles will get caught in the environment a lot of the time, which is VERY frustrating.
The most disappointing aspect, though, is the multiplayer element. I thought that combining the sandbox with online capabilities might prove fun, but the servers are frequently plagued with lag which means that players flash all over the place and it's hard to really have any fun with them.
Needless to say, I'm glad I just rented this one as it doesn't live up to the hype and is a pretty straightforward disappointment.
With environmental detail inspired by America's most incredible landscapes, Fuel will be the ultimate competitive go-anywhere racing experience. Fuel will have players competing across wildly different terrain from deep snow to open wilderness and arid river-beds, and executing spectacular death-defying stunts as they race and explore this epic world on an unprecedented scale.