In the distant future two world super-powers collide for control of the worlds natural resrouces. It is the frontline soldier and the fuel of war is infact fuel. THQ wants gamers to gear up and enter the battlefield, either online in massive battles, or against the enemy A.I. in the single player campagin. This is the big fight, supported online, fast paced, and one more reason to get the old squad togther. Lock and load soldier, it's going to be a long night.
At a quick glance you might mistake the cover of Frontlines: Fuel of War for a Tom Clancy Ghost Recon game. The look of the modern soldier has been molded into a quick moving modern warrior armed with technology and firepower. Like Ghost Recon, Frontlines also adapts the modern era solider into a battle won by not only the biggest guns, but also visual and robotic aids. The action is total first-person, fast paced and fun. In a way Frontlines feels like a mix between Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, and EA’s Battlefield. Frontlines might not have the best elements out of all these games, but what it does have is creditable gameplay and a highly addictive fun factor.
The focus in Frontlines is on the multiplayer front, however a single player campaign is added and despite what you might have heard, I found the quick snippets of story interesting with well acted performances from the digital actors. The plot isn’t shoved down your throat and only comes up briefly before mission chapters. The focus of the story is the battle for natural resources, mainly oil. In Frontlines, it speaks of a future where natural resources are on the brink of depletion around the globe. This steamrolls in to our way of life and economies falling into chaos as the world superpowers struggle to gain control.
During the game you will start in the start of the skirmish as a Western Coalition (North American/Europe) soldier fighting the newly aliened superpower the Red Star Alliance (Russia/China). The struggle the for the oil and the pressures of each country to supply enough resources for their homes turns into a struggle for more than these resources, but a struggle for humanity as the Red Star Alliance is rolling through the countries with an iron fist. On the brink of a third world war, you’ll be fighting for freedom, the Coalition and your life.
The presentation in Frontlines isn’t anything to write home about, yet during battle this is all forgiven with its fast paced and fun gameplay. The weaponry helps keep the game interesting switching out classes during battles, or the ability to hop in vehicles to help tip the balance of a fight. Like Battlefield, Frontlines relies on holding control points which double as spawn points. The single player game follows a story and loosely connects with a similar style as the multiplayer portion of the game. This makes Frontline feel more like an online shooter in the campaign with huge battles and mindless troops fighting along your side. Frontlines is always features large battles usually against the odds. This keeps the gameplay from getting stale while the pressure and speed is up.
For the stealth gamers, the snipers in the house, you still have a job to perform, but it's likely you are going to find more satisfaction online than off. Online, Frontlines takes on a new persona. Thankfully with the help of all the gamers online and dedicated servers, it is easy to find a game with 32 players blasting away at each other. Large battles are extremely fun, bringing back the chaos and fun of PC "server" shooters. If you’re not looking for a major battle and want to frag with some friends you can set reserve slots and have your private matches. Frontlines is flexible online letting every gamer find a map or group of people to find their stride and if you can’t, make your own map and rules and play it your way.
Similar to Call of Duty you can also gain upgrades as your solider grows by online experience. New skills or abilities are learnt that get attached to each job class. There are six unit classes in Frontlines consisting of the regular Assault solider, Heavy Assault, Sniper, Special Operations, Anti-Vehicle, and the Close Combat class. The ability to set up sentry guns, use remote controlled armour turrets or mini-copters is a lot of fun as long as you don’t get clipped while using them. The scouts seem to be better suited for the single player campaign where the A.I. isn’t as aggressive as real people. Online multiplayer is definitely the real battlefield, the blitzkrieg.
Vehicles also play a large role in multiplayer so it’s wise to have your hand at the single player campaign even if you have to treat it as an online preparation training ground. In Frontlines you’ll have armed tanks like the Red Star Blackbear, personnel carriers, light armour quick moving SUVs, helicopters and versatile jet fighters. Don’t think that hopping in a tank will solve your problems of securing that a tough waypoint; tanks can be put down with EMP’s and a few clever rockets. Using vehicles are an advantage, but the real trick is being able to use them for longer than it takes for the enemy to take you down. Once you start moving in with the big guns, spawned opponents will switch classes to take out the big threat.
The visuals in Frontlines aren’t as sharp as some of the other war games seen in the past. The good thing about Frontlines is that it looks up to par and runs smooth, a very important factor when you are dealing with large multiplayer games. Despite occasional lag, Frontlines is a well oiled out machine. It is clear KAOS took a lot of time balancing out the little nuances making the graphics streamlined. The audio is a little more capable, but nothing too memorable. Artillery shells, tank treads, explosive detonators, are all in check and sounding the part with a rocked out soundtrack helping you get into the battle.
THQ’s Frontlines: Fuel of War effectively gets the job done providing a fun large open space for gamers to unleash virtual war on each other. Either online, or offline, Frontlines will keep you busy for a few hours at the minimum blasting away on the latest superpower threat. There is enough variety in Frontlines to make 360 gamers forget about Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4 for a while and try something new. If Frontlines can remain on the top of the mountain only time can tell, but for now Frontlines: Fuel of War is worth the investment. I’d mark Frontlines: Fuel of War out as rental for gamers who want to blast through the single player campaign and grab a few achievements, for all the others who love online gaming, Frontlines is worth the price of admission.