Fuel, a game review

March 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Random for this blog, I realize, but I think I need to expand my content a bit.

Fuel, the game; I thought, was brilliant.

I’ve always like the post-apocalypse, ever since playing Powerslide (which is a video game that really deserves a remake). The mud and grime, the lowest of tribal human emotion. It’s cut throat and raw, which translates well into the racing universe. Fuel has very little of the above. In fact, you aren’t even a character, you don’t even have a name.

Everyone trashed it because of shallow gameplay and although it has the Guinness World Record for largest game world, it’s largely empty. These are both true, it’s hard to deny. The world goes forever in every direction, it would take days to drive in a straight line across the map. There are hills and mountains, lakes, streams, forests, deserts and everything in between. Perhaps it’s my exploring nature, but I really like driving around and finding the barrels of fuel (game currency) hidden behind trees.

I would suggest that the people who review the game found it boring because they are expecting so much to pop out and wow them, but this game is a very subtle beast. It’s fantastically relaxing to drive around and forget about fast paced objectives found in most games. I prefer this, really.

The racing aspect is completely whacked. The AI is either incredibly dumb or master racer with very little middle ground. It seems like they’re designed to put up a fight and then back off – sometimes very obviously – just before the finish line, allowing you to win. It’s a hollow victory, certainly not the adrenaline rush that winning against NFS AI gives you, who take some skill to beat.

Bike and Lightning

My PC renders soooo much nicer than this.

The physics are completely arcade. And by that I mean completely unrealistic. Like every Michael Bay film, it’s a good thing to turn the mind off and just enjoy the pretty visuals. Don’t think too hard or too deeply, stop thinking about real physics and a complete lack of motivation for character’s actions. Try to forget that your grip-tired dune buggy in grassy mud handles like a shopping cart on polished ice (which is funny, since it works perfectly for the hover craft you unlock at the end of the game). Think of it as you being a really good drifter. All the time. On every terrain. Man, you’re good.

It’s beautiful. Running on the DiRT engine, as far as I know, it comes across so crisp and dirty, perfectly portraying that post apocalyptic grunge. I do wish I could control time (the day/night cycle) more akin to Burnout Paradise’s time of day menu; pausing the sun at that burning red dawn that shines through the forest or at night when the white fuel barrels glow in the headlights. You get really good at picking out the shape of barrels amongst heavy foliage while driving past it at 120 km/h after a while. It’s kinda funny how you can train your mind.

I bought it for xbox 360 for $62, and sold it for $20. The market dropped once everybody realized they didn’t like it. When I bought it again for PC, it was a mere $12, making an easy purchase for hours of gameplay and literally weeks of free roam exploring.

So, I liked it, despite what everyone else says. And for that price, how can you resist?

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