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Fuel Remix PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 7.5
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.0
Value 7.5
Distributor: Atari
Classification: G
Review Date: August 2009
Mark Beresford



When first hit with the press release regarding Codemasters take on an arcade post apocalyptic cross  vehicle rally game, it was easy to be sceptical. It appears as though they are taking many popular games and trying to jam them all into one disk. Now that we have our hands on said disk, we can take a look and see just how they did.

As before, Fuel is a off road racer, based in a fictional United States, one where global warming effects have left enormous areas of the land abandoned. From this has grown a racers playground, were people from all over the country come to tear up some death defying environment on various vehicles and in a series of different races.

The key element to the game is it's open ended environment that has you exploring over 5,000 square miles of terrain, from forests, desert, snow and suburban areas, all littered with various jumps, obstacles and scattered roads. From here you can drive around to various icons on your GPS map, revealing new paint liveries, fresh races and some intense challenges. With these races you will unlock stars depending on your performance, when you get enough stars you can unlock 'camps', which are basically a series of challenges that allow you to actually progress through the game. Each challenge or race will have a certain type of vehicle limitation, you may have to thrash a ATV, or bash in a Buggy, or even rip around forest chaos in a mad max style sedan. Each vehicle has its own style and will differ greatly on the lines and approaches you can take around the runs.

The open ended environment is a brilliant playground, with unlimited little nooks and corners, containing any number of jumps or hidden tracks for you to discover when not racing. The issue is that it's a little too big, it's so big that due to the fact that the game has a day/night cycle ala GTA, you can go for days and nights without running into a challenge or race which takes a massive chunk out of the entertainment value of the title due to roaming these environments somewhat aimlessly.

When you do eventually come across a race though, the action is fairly intense. Codemasters have used a very similar style to the already immensely popular Motorstorm series, but they've given it a shot of red bull. The racing is frantic and fast, with trees flying at you as you bullet down a hill and dodge other racers, you really are on the edge of your seat for the majority of the race. There is also quiet a selection of game modes, from point to point racing to lapped, from helicopter chases to seek'n'destroys. It's a good amount of variety without stretching for ridiculous races for the sake of having them. The AI is also a little on the week side in the early difficulty settings and you can easily win races by minutes, it isn't until you get to the mid range that the opposition racers begin to follow the correct track patterns and are able to match your speed at all. If your game enough to go to the harder settings than it's a great free for all battle that will surely match your wit. Each of the difficulty settings will also change the number of stars you collect per race win, so the lower you go, the slower your career goes.

Starting out in the game is a touch on the disorientating side, as you are thrown in the deep end of the game with onscreen hints that really don't explain what each of the modes or even aims are. So diving right in appears to be the best strategy, luckily the game has a short learning curve. The control system is as is expected on rally games of the PS3 console. With the analog stick taking up much of the slack and a pretty standard movement system, you practically know all the controls without even using the manual. As has already been covered, the environments are something to behold and the graphics stand up to this task, with beautiful weathering effects such as electrical and sand storms, as well as the always entertaining screen mud splatters, both of which contain some fairly epic sound detailing of sweeping winds and toppling bass. Again, this isn't without it's flaw as there are a number of very noticeable frame rate issues when tearing through some of the larger environments in a full race scenario which continually lag and pull the title down.

It was a very ambitious step by Codemasters to take on this title, and there are a massive list of pro's and con's for this title, on first play you will be impressed and disappointed at the same time. It's not a game that will make you fall in love with it straight away, but the more you play it, the more you will enjoy it. Certainly not the most polished racing game to hit the PS3, but it's certainly has some of the most fun and exciting racing action, worth the purchase.


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