In all the games I have Reviewed to date none of them were more anticipated by me then Frontlines Fuel of War. I kept an eye on this game from its very early stages all the way to its release to the stores and finally I have my own copy to take a look at. The big question though remains was this game worth the multi year wait or not?
The reason I anticipated the game so much was do to who was making the game. Several years ago now there was a mod out there called Desert Combat and that mod for me was really something else. Very few games I have played kept me coming back day after day and Desert Combat was one of those games.
The mod was run by a guy called Frank Delise and with the help of other modders he had he was able to build this mod called Desert Combat. I first heard about this mod in a IGN article I think it was and when I seen the screen shots of the early mod I quickly ran out and purchased Battlefield 1942 because the Desert Combat mod was based off that game.
I even remember when I purchased battlefield 1942 I purchased the Road to Rome expansion as well just to make sure I could run the Desert Combat mod. As it turns out I didn’t need to buy the Road to Rome expansion since the Desert Combat mod never used anything from that expansion, however I wanted to make sure the mod would run and I wasn’t taking any chances.
After getting the mod working I was hooked on that mod. For me this mod was the best thing since sliced bread. Its not that the mod was perfect by any means but despite that it was a hell of a lot of fun to play. For me and the friends I met playing the game with which I still talk to on a daily basis we all thought this mod was truly something great. We would all sit around like kids at christmas time when we heard there was going to be a new version of the mod with bigger and better things. As soon as a new version of the mod was out the race was on to get that version of the mod installed so we could go see what new things were put in the mod.
The Desert Combat mod was around quite a long time and as time went on more and more people started to play the mod. Near the end of the mods life the mod had been getting millions of downloads and was more successful then the game it was based on in terms of people playing it online.
Frank Delise and the boys though after spending quite a bit time on the mod wanted to go onto other things. It was at this point the mod was picked up by the Desert Combat community and survived a bit longer till people slowly lost interest. As for Frank and his team of guys he assembled they for a time managed to snag a job doing prototyping for EA and their new games they were working on. After being with EA a while EA wanted to change its operations around and in so doing they caused Frank and his team to quit EA and goto greener pastures.
It was at this time Frank wanted to stay in New York and open his own game studio there. So after some shopping around Frank managed to hook up with Publisher THQ and they funded him the money to start his next venture and that venture of course was Frontlines Fuel of War.
I always thought if Frank and his team of guys were given the chance and the money they would make a game that would put all other games in that genre on their asses. I really wanted to see these guys succeed and was hoping they would make it to the top of the game industry.
Below is a screen shot of the main menu you see when the game is loaded up.
So now lets get on with the actual Review of Frontlines Fuel of War. It should be noted before we get into this Review I have the bar set quite high for this game based on what I have seen these guys do on the mod Desert Combat so with out further ado lets begin.
For those that don’t know Frontlines Fuel of War is a game that comes with both Single player and Multiplayer. When you play the single player portion of the game your playing a game thats set in the future and you are at war with other countries over the last few oil reserves remaining on the planet.
Over all the single player is nothing to write home about. I played only a few missions because to me the AI was really bad. When your playing the single player portion of the game in the missions I was doing I had team mates with me but they didn’t really do much if anything at all. As for the enemy AI well that was as bad as the team mates I had do to the fact they were pretty dumb.
The one single player mission I was playing I come to this spot where I had to make my way into this base but out front of the base there are of course guards. I took aim and killed the one guard from quite a distance away and his buddy only a few feet away didn’t even respond to his buddy dieing. When the AI is this bad you might as well forget about the single player and only use it to see how the weapons work like the drones and all that.
Below is a screen shot of the one drone with the nasty machine gun on it.
I think for the most part the single player is a waste of time on the game developers part. They could have taken the time and money it took to do the single player and sunk that into the multiplayer, I think that would have been a much better move. When I seen how bad the AI was I lost interest in playing the single player portion of the game.
Next on the list was the multiplayer part of the game and this is what I had been looking forward to from day one with this game. Overall the multiplayer isn’t bad but its also not great. When your playing the multiplayer on my machine I can notice quite a bit of slow down and thats with the graphics on medium. This game pushes my machine to hard and thats despite the fact your not seeing GREAT graphics. I could understand the graphic slowdown if it looked like Crysys or something but the fact is it don’t look any better then any of the Battlefield 2 games and above from EA.
Below is a screen shot of some of the in game weapons.
Aside from the graphics and the performance issues I run into I just don’t think there is enough to separate this game from games that are a few years old. When your playing the multiplayer part of the game you run into the same crap you did with battlefield 2 such as vehicles barley making it over the slightest bit of grade. You have tanks in the game that take multiple shots to shoot down a chopper. The anti-tank missile launcher that your guy can carry with him takes 3 shots to kill a tank.
When I see these problems I wonder if Frank and they boys ever listened to what the community behind Desert Combat told them about how to balance the game. I was shocked to see that nearly every bad thing about how battlefield 2 played had made its way into this game.
Two things I did like about this game were the drones and the way you could deploy your guy onto the battlefield. The drones add some what of a unique twist on the game the fact you can take the little remote helicopter and fly around and see what people are up to is pretty cool. The little tank drone that has the tracks is a nasty thing too its machine gun can rip through stuff despite how small the vehicle is. The little remote car that can blow tanks up is cool as well. The problem with all these things is they get old fast once you mess around with them and get over the cool factor you hardly use them at all.
The other thing I liked was how you could deploy your guy. In battlefield 2 and even Desert Combat if you wanted to be say a medic you had a load out that you had to take. You couldn’t for example pick what gun you have or any of that. With Frontlines Fuel of War you can select to be any class of guy and then select what roll you do such as being a medic. This allows the medic to have some serious fire power and not get stuck with crappy weapons.
The screen shot below shows how you select your weapon load out and what class you want to be. In the same screen shot you can also see where you pick to spawn on a multiplayer map.
The graphics in the game including Vehicles and the weapons the soldiers have for the most part look alright. I personally don’t think the weapons or the vehicles in the game are done any better then any of the other fps games out there however they are not really any worse ether.
The sound in the game for the most part was alright but again nothing that blew your mind. The one thing I couldn’t figure out is why the Humvee like vehicle sounded like a sports car. When entering water on foot there is a slight sound but when your walking on the water its like your walking on land, there is no splashing sound that you would hear while walking in the river/streams. In fact if it weren’t for the entry and exit sound of the water you wouldn’t even know you are in water. Like a lot of parts in this game the sound was clearly rushed or wasn’t given much thought.
I think where the game really took a nose dive though was what was missing from the game at retail launch. First let me say I could have done this Review a day after this game was released instead I decided to wait and see if any patches were released that would address some of the issues.
So far in the month I have had the game there have been two patches made for the game. Both of them patches address some of the games many issues but the important issues have been missed in the first two patches. Now you might be asking what are the important issues and they are the following…
The first thing that blew my mind was Frontlines Fuel of War came with no cheat protection at all. I don’t know what brain dead person made that decision but whoever did should loose their job for it. If you go onto the Frontlines Fuel of war forums you will see loads of complaints that are aimed at the fact the game has no cheat protection. I seriously don’t remember any online first person shooters coming without cheat protection, at least the games in the last 5 years anyway. The choice to leave out PunkBuster was really stupid and no doubt has cost this game a few customers.
The other big problem is the fact the game comes with no dedicated server at all. Like the Punkbuster situation i don’t recall any of the popular FPS not coming with a dedicated server on the day the game was launched at retail. On the community site for Frontlines Fuel of War they are saying the next patch do out version 1.0.3 will include the dedicated server files that patch is do out on April 7 2008.
Then of course you have another set of users who are pissed off about something else and that something is the lack of VOIP in game. It would seem before the game was launched the game was going to have VOIP but for whatever reason it was dropped as well.
Along with all these issues the game has a lot of little problems to when playing that make the game seem very unpolished. One thing that really made me laugh was on the solar farm map I decided to take a jet up for a ride. What amazed me the most was if you strayed off the runway a bit the game would start telling you that you were out of bounds. They have the out of bounds area way to small on a lot of the maps. One thing about Desert Combat you had to really go out of your way to be out of bounds to bad thats not the case in this game.
One of the problems Frank and the boys may have had was they were building two games at once. They made the xbox360 version and the PC version launch on the same day and maybe that was just to much of a workload for them and so therefore they had to make sacrifices. The problem with what they did though was I think they disappointed a lot of the PC users such as myself who had really high hopes for this game.
Below are the computer specs I run Frontlines Fuel of War on.
AMD 64 X2 4800
ASUS A8N-SLI DELUXE
GEFORCE 7950 GT/OC VIDEO CARD 512 MEG OF RAM
2 GIGS OF PC3200 RAM
2 MAXTOR 120 GIG 7200 RPM 8 MEG CACHE EIDE ATA 133 DRIVES
SOUND BLASTER AUDIGY SOUND CARD
In conclusion I don’t think this game is worth buying. I think like in real life you have one chance to make a good impression and for me this game blew that one chance. I really did try and give the game a fair shake but in the end it just doesn’t separate itself from the rest of the games and when you couple that with some of the huge blunders mentioned above its just not a good game to run out and buy. At the time of this Review you could purchase Front Lines Fuel of War for $49.99 Canadian.
If you would like more information on Frontlines Fuel of War you can go to their web site here.
Below are a few more extra screen shots of the game in action..