Frontlines: Fuel of War
For: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: Teen (13+)
Frontlines: Fuel of War
Frontlines: Fuel of War imagines a world a decade-and-a-half hence in which oil wells are quickly drying up. Rioting erupts on the streets of once calm cities, and the only way the superpowers can keep their countries running is to go to war over the few remaining drops of crude. Players control an American soldier on the frontline as his unit engages Russian and Chinese forces in battles for overseas refineries and wells.
At your disposal is an armory of futuristic weaponry that includes not just high powered rifles and advanced armor, but also a fleet of remotely-controlled drones; small helicopters and tiny tanks that can be piloted behind enemy lines from relative safety to help thin out enemy ranks and provide intelligence on the whereabouts of remaining troops.
In both campaign and online multiplayer modes, the action takes place on large, free-to-roam levels and players can tackle open objectives in whatever order they choose. This liberty of choice is the game's shtick, as it were, designed to provide players the ability to develop their own strategies for each mission (and perhaps make attractive the prospect of replaying missions several times over).
However, in practice, tactics are largely unnecessary. Players will usually find just as much success rushing headlong toward whichever objective appears closest on the map. In fact, taking the time to do recon usually just alerts the enemy to your presence.
The only time any sort of strategizing becomes interesting is when we come into possession of the game's futuristic flying drones, which can be great fun to pilot. They have the ability provide a bird's eye view of a battlefield, which is useful for identifying enemy troop locations. They also typically carry a heavy load of ammunition, making them surprisingly effective offensive tools.
But the attack prowess of these machines can be a double-edged sword; they are so powerful that they can take some enemy objectives all their own, which has the effect of making the campaign mode feel, at times, too easy.
In the end, Frontlines: Fuel of War is a perfectly competent shooter with an interesting hook, but it simply doesn't do anything all that fresh. The online mode, which sees teams battling for control points in action that feels vaguely reminiscent to EA's popular Battlefield (and all of its sequels and copycats), simply enforces its nothing-new-here vibe. Good for shooter junkies, skippable for everyone else.