No, this isn't a game based on Metallica's song, or even the band of the same name. This is Codemasters' newest next-gen racer, which, unlike DiRT and GRiD, boasts very little elements of realism. Instead, Fuel takes the best elements of games like MotorStorm and Pure, and breaks down every scope limiting barrier to give the gamer perhaps the largest, most open terrain a racing game has ever seen.
Just how large is this terrain? Does 5000 square miles seem like enough for you? The story behind the game revolves around a group of daredevils and a world that's being attacked by never-ending forces of nature thanks to a global climate pattern that has been completely thrown out of whack. Tornadoes, sandstorms, thunderstorms, blizzards, lightning strikes, and many other dangerous weather effects come and go unexpectedly, complete with a day and night cycle.
The world is your race track, and you can bet your bottom dollar that all of the destructive elements will wreck havoc on the terrain you'll be using. The goal of the races is to win supplies of fuel, as oil prices have skyrocketed to an extraordinary amount that makes the price-hike of summer 2008 look like a bargain at a thrift store. You'll employ a large variety of two and four-wheeled vehicles that must withstand the torturous weather climates that you will have to roar through. Just because they look sturdy, doesn't mean you shouldn't drive carefully, because you can get hurled up in a tornado, or get smashed by an object that a tornado has gusted at you.
With 5000 square miles of terrain, you'll run through a plethora of different environments and scenery, which should help keep the races fresh and entertaining. You'll see everything from a forest, to the Grand Canyon, to a tsunami-wrecked Pacific coast, Nevada wastelands, snow-capped mountains, and much more. Furthermore, because this is an off-roading experience, there will be stunts and massive jumps that you'll find yourself leaping over.
Online will be good for up to 16 gamers, and Codemasters promises hundreds of multiplayer challenges, and that sounds exciting. Fuel is currently pinned for a Spring release, so keep your eyes open for it.
1/29/2009 Arnold Katayev