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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.