In the near future, natural resources are running on “E” while the major military powers in the world are fighting for the last drops of black gold. The story is told through a journalist’s point of view while the player does all the work fighting back the Red Star Alliance, a merger between China and Russia, through a first-person perspective. The Stray Dogs are an elite infantry group leading the fight against the Reds. The narrative itself is passable and will provide enough incentive for gamers to play all the way through the story mode. Just don’t expect any memorable gaming moments here.
The single player mode will hold the attention of the player not so much for the story, but rather for the easier Achievement points. With shoddy AI and the lack of major battlefield experiences, the single player mode almost feels like you are playing a multiplayer game with lame bots. If the player manages to beat a level without dying, then extra Achievements points are granted to the player. And while I took extra precautions when playing a later level in the game, I died simply because my friendly AI teammate would not get out of my way, trapping me in a corner for the enemy to feed me bullets and bring me to my doom. Frustrating. And when the friendly AI does decide to follow you, they never kill anybody. Plus, the enemy AI only attacks the player, not my friend AI buddies. For many reasons, this game would have been better lone wolf style.
Spicing up the lame AI, the player has a number of ways to kill the enemy including the typical machine guns, grenades, and melee attacks. One of the highlighting points of the game are the remote controlled tanks and helicopters…think of the remote control cars you played with when you were 8 years old. Now just think of them being a lot more deadly. Calling in air strikes are entertaining as well.
When on foot, the play control is very comfortable and responsive. This, however, is not the case when driving vehicles such as the tank. These things are almost impossible to turn and often get hung up on random parts of the environment. You are almost always better off fighting an incoming tank with an RPG on foot than in a tank simply due to the poor play control.
The single player mode can be finished well under the 10 hour mark, but the replay value lies within the multiplayer mode. In a mix between Star Wars Battlefront and/or Battlefield, combined with a touch of Call of Duty, Frontlines contains a pretty fast paced but still structured multiplayer mode. Using dedicated servers and customized weapon kits, players will strive to balance out their team, trying to capitalize on your opponent’s weaknesses. All weapons and items are available right when you turn the power on, so there is no worrying about unlocking special weapons. In many ways, this keeps the game better balanced. But on the other hand, the game lacks any type of ranking system and character customization options. Achievement points can be unlocked and added to the player’s gamerscore for playing well in online matches, but there is no other reward. Unlike other next gen shooters, as the player grows in skill, the gameplay options do not.
No where near the visual quality of Gears of War, Frontlines still packs a decent graphical punch. Cut scenes are well done, lips sync up with voices, and explosions and particle effects are thrown in all over the place. Playing this game in 5.1 surround sound with a solid subwoofer is definitely the way to go with this title.
Is Frontline: Fuel of War a Halo 3 or CoD4 killer? Absolutely not. But this is definitely one title that I would not mind picking up when I grow tired of the other big-named games and it is a lot better than you expect. In the end, this title will definitely entertain and stands are one of the better FPS on the system. It is too bad that a few minor problems really bog this game down such as stupid AI, terrible vehicle play control, and a multiplayer mode that lacks any form of leveling up/ranking system. If these kinks get ironed out in a sequel, I will be taking careful consideration as to where I spend my pre-order money.