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whatshot Fuel PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.0
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.0
Value 7.0
Distributor: Atari
Review Date:
July 2009
Reviewer:
James Wright

7.0


Fuel

Probably one of the most ambitious car games to date, Fuel is Atari's latest off-road racer that is set in an alternate universe where Earth has been ravaged by climate change, turning the world into a harsh desert-like climate with endless wastelands.

So what makes Fuel so Ambitious? The answer is the gaming world which boasts 14,000 square kilometers of pure unadulterated freedom as you race against a plethora of "Racers", however the key to the game is Fuel as it is now a rare commodity and by winning races, you are awarded fuel which can fuel your thirst for this extreme sport.  

Features

  • No boundaries racing: FUEL is a groundbreaking racing game without boundaries – on and off-road, two and four-wheeled vehicles race a massively diverse environment inspired by the most challenging real areas of the American wilderness. Experience exhilarating races in a huge range of vehicles, explore over 5,000 square miles of wildly different terrain from deep snow to arid river-beds, battle the elements and pull off spectacular stunts in epic world on an unprecedented scale.

  • Vrooom with a view: In FUEL if you can see it you can drive to it. With a jaw-dropping draw distance of 40KM, there’s never been a world so large to explore or so many striking vistas to discover. The entire game world is available for players to explore in free-roam and provides a challenging, compelling environment for FUEL’s stunning race events.

  • Dramatic, dynamic extreme weather: Set in an environmentally damaged fictional future, the game world is further brought to life with real-time extreme weather that includes blizzards, lashing rainstorms, lightening strikes, sandstorms and tornados that transform the terrain and affect vehicle performance creating a unique race experience.

  • Choose your own route, win in your own style: With a huge range of vehicles, player choice lies at the heart of FUEL’s action-packed races as players speed across huge swathes of diverse terrain, carving out on-the-fly routes to take the chequered flag. Roadsters reach extraordinary speeds on the asphalt, monster trucks steam-roller through forests and dirt-bikes scramble down mountainsides as gamers take on dangerous short-cuts, death-defying jumps and clatter through spectacular cross-over points in a beautifully realised wilderness.

Even better is that load times are non-existent and as you race through a variety of different terrains, the gamer won't be annoyed with load times or load screens as you race through desert wastelands, snow and even forests. Graphically, the game is a visual treat on the PlayStation 3 that almost gives the game a Mad Max feel to it from the barren terrains to the vehicles that would not look out of place in this movie.

Boasting a few different gameplay modes that include your traditional quick races, where the game does shine is through the career mode and by visiting different camps in the gaming worlds, these are in turn the different areas that you will be racing in. Needless to say, exploring this barren world is pure bliss, however the unfortunate aspect of the game is the gameplay itself which seems a little surreal at the best of times.

For instance, you do race against other AI characters, however the vehicles handle a little light and at times, does not feel like it is interacting with the environment in the game itself. To compound the situation, you will eventually become a tad tired of the endless barren areas that you race in which unfortunately does become a tad repetitive. Sure, the graphics are quite nice from the lighting to the odd special effects here and there such as the electrical storms, however the "soul" of the game seems to be missing.

At its core, the game is a pure racer, whereas other developers such as Motorstorm or Pure added some uniqueness to this genre which is a little lacking in Fuel and feels like it was developed a few years ago. As you race through the different environments and come across a giant hill, it would have been nice to pull off some insane sports maneuvers, however Fuel is unfortunately lacking in this aspect.

The game does suffer from the Kevin Costner Waterworld syndrome of a brilliant premise, however a lack of true direction which is hampered by the constant race resets if you crash.

I would love to be able to pull over and take out a shotgun to liven up the game, however alas, all you do is drive and drive. Interesting enough, the online mode is actually a little more entertaining than single-player, probably because you are competing against real players and it's more fun to stick it to them rather than the AI.

In regards to AI, these racers are also a little too good which is a shame because you always have to be on your toes, yet this only comes into effect on a harder difficulty level. In single-player, the amount of races available to the player is truly awe-inspiring and as this is an alternate universe, the game does encourage you to cheat by finding shortcuts. 

Of course, the game is not all bad as there are a few twists and turns in the game such as racing against helicopters or finding various challenges littered through this post apocalyptic world.

In the main races, checkpoints are used to assist in the gameplay with red markers pointing you in the right direction plus a map for those who truly get lost. As you win more races and get awarded more fuel, you can also buy new vehicles from two wheels to four wheels, although my favourite was definitely the buggies.

It should also be noted that each vehicle drives differently and handles differently which is good news for a game that has quite a few vehicles available. The control system on the PS3 is perfect and gamers of all sorts of experience will have no issues in mastering this control system.

As mentioned earlier, the graphics are very impressive, although not as polished as Motorstorm, it's still a rather apt next generation looking game. The weather effects are pure bliss as is the realistic physics of the vehicles. Soundtrack wise, it works quite well with the "story" as do the sound effects.

At the end of the day, it seems that the developers were a little too ambitious with this game, although I must admit that we did enjoy the first half of this game, unfortunately after that it does become a little too repetitive. Graphically, the title is rather "neat" looking, however the endless freedom and lack of direction unfortunately hampers this rather good looking game which is a shame.





 

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10/10

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