Saturday, 1 August 2009

Video Game Reviews

Fuel
(PS3 (Version Tested), Xbox 360, PC)
Codemasters

I’m beginning to wonder that despite the evolution of gaming that has happened over the last few years. Developers have run out of ideas to reinvent the traditional gaming genres without using some sort of pad. With Fuel, Codemasters seem to have decided to have as little originality as possible, but instead take elements from other games and try and do it better than their competition, and in some respects they do succeed.

For those who don’t know the premise behind the game, Fuel is set in the non-too-distant future in a Mad Max-style world where civilisation has crumbled and the only commodity is fuel. How do you earn fuel I hear you ask? Simple, by burning as much as possible to win races, time trials and other assorted challenges in an open world environment in an assortment of bikes buggies and other off road vehicles. You can then use the fuel you’ve won to buy new vehicles and clothes for your racer.

If none of that description sounded original to you, you would be right, but Fuel tries to go one better than its competition. Fuel outdoes the huge bustling world of Burnout’s Paradise city, by delivering what feels like an entire country with about 5,000 square miles to explore. And it tries to outdo other off-road racers like Motorstorm by offering more game play variety and harsh terrain with great weather effects. Each of the vehicles handle well and offer a good sense of speed and are different enough from the other vehicles in the game to offer a well rounded play experience. It also has a track creator that allows you to make your own racetracks, and race other people online with them as well as share them with the gaming community. Sure, level editors are not an original concept, but it is very rare that you get the option to do so on a console so it’s great to see it included here.

The game does have its problems though. Despite all of its ambitions and giving you a world full of possibilities. It still tries to hold you to boundaries. Take Fuel’s races for example, rather than allowing you to race from point A-B going whatever route you prefer, which you think would be possible considering the huge game world (and something that Burnout Paradise allows you to do). You still have to travel through checkpoints. The weather in the game, whilst incredibly pretty, seldom factors into the race and doesn’t challenge the player to win the race through extreme conditions.

Overall this is a fun game with good graphics and weather effects. I just find it hard to recommend it to lovers of open world racing where Burnout Paradise rules supreme, or lovers of off-road racing games where I would recommend PS3 owners to stick to Motorstorm. However, if you’re an X-Box owner, you probably won’t find a better off road game out there. 7/10

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