PS3 Reviews: Fuel Review

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Fuel Review

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Graphics:

 

6.5

Gameplay:

 

5.5

Sound:

 

5.5

Control:

 

7.5

Replay Value:

 

6.5

Online Gameplay:

 

6.0

Overall Rating:       5.7

 

 

Publisher:

Codemasters

Developer:

Asobo Studios

Number Of Players:

1 (2-16 Online)

Genre:

Genre

Release Date:

June 2, 2009

You'd expect that the moment you boot this game you'd be greeted with a certain Metallica song, after all, it'd only make sense. Hey, if Burnout Paradise kicks off with Guns'N'Roses, then why not give us some 'tallica? Ah, well, understandably, licenses are expensive these days. Anywho...this is Codemasters' newest next-gen racer, which, unlike DiRT and GRiD, boasts very little elements of realism. Simply imagine MotorStorm on a much, much grander scale. We're talking thousands of square miles grand here, folks. But despite the massive accomplishments, such as entering into the Guinness World Book of Records for the largest game world, does Fuel have what it takes to...er...pump your engine?

First off, I am terribly sorry for making the above pun. My brain said 'no', but my fingers said 'yes', and there's no turning back now. Having said that, Fuel is an impressive game, no doubt about it. I'm dropped into a world that is made up of 5000 square miles of drivable terrain, and that's absolutely incredible. Once the entire game world is accessible, as soon as you unlock all of the zones, you're able to see just how long it takes you to get from one side of the map to the other. And honestly, it takes a while.

The races are scattered all throughout the zones on the map, and you can either drive to those races or complete them in a linear fashion via pause screen. Each zone has its own set of races for you to complete, and upon doing so will unlock more and more. You are set to use a certain kind of vehicle per race, so there is a limitation of what you can drive in a race as it's selected for you.

You can customize the vehicles you have, but those customizations are very slim and do not include performance, so the aspect of personalization feels limited, which is kind of an anomaly for a game like this. The other problem I have with this game is that the story is largely absent and doesn't really comes into play. And before you find yourself surprised that there's a story, allow me to explain it to 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.

You see, despite the massive terrain, which has actually measured at over 5500 square miles, there isn't a whole lot of fun to be had here. The story seems to be more of an excuse for a game world that is utterly deserted, as the only thing you'll see on the road is a transport truck of some sort every now and then and that's it. There is absolutely no life around you, no racers to drive up to and challenge, and nothing exciting to see, aside from the weather conditions that occur. Furthermore, the game suffers from a terrible case of rubberband A.I., where your opponents could be whipping you like mad all throughout, only to lose to you at the final seconds. Later on into the game, though, the rubberbanding changes as you'll end up passing every racer except for two or three of them, and man does it make this game frustrating. There is an online mode good for up to 16, and co-op for up to four, but none of it felt at all exciting, either. The bottomline is that Fuel feels hollow and those looking for an off-road game are better off sticking to MotorStorm and Pure for both the offline and online experience.

Even visually I don't find the game all too appealing. The vehicles are ugly as far as artistry goes. The muscle cars look like boxes with awkward shapes, where as the off-roaders are a bit less offensive to look at. As mentioned already, the game world is huge, and that means it requires a draw-in distance as far as the eye can see...which it has. But because the world is so empty of life, it's not such a difficult task to accomplish. On the other hand, there are some really nice monumental sights to witness, although they don't really help much. I do think that the floor textures are nice and environment (such as tress) looks pretty. The lighting is typical Codemasters and has a tendency to come off as too bright, causing you to lose track of where you're going in a race. There is also some aliasing to be found, but not much. Still, the framerate holds up consistently, ensuring that your races aren't compromised. But ultimately, Fuel doesn't spark a fire for my eyes...oh, there I go again.

The audio presentation doesn't fare any better, unfortunately. The game boasts a monotonous soundtrack that does absolutely nothing for excitement, and worst of all, there's no custom soundtrack support. Vehicles sound bland and generic and do not convey the same sense of personality that games such as MotorStorm and Burnout do. So not only do you drive around a largely dull game world, but you're also devoid of any aural presentation too.

All in all, a novel concept ultimately does not translate to a proper game, as Fuel is missing some of the standard gameplay traits that define a game like this. Despite its massive terrain, a barren game world, a poorly structured and limited scope prevents Fuel from being anything worth your time. Furthermore, with uninspired visuals and audio that fails to impress across the board this game doesn't even cause a spark. And with that pun, I shall end this review.

6/26/2009 Arnold Katayev

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Comments (22 posts)

Jed
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 12:55:42 AM
Reply

so what you're saying is, Fuel is missing fire and that which I desire? Oh well, on I burn.

Last edited by Jed on 6/27/2009 12:57:12 AM

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 1:23:54 AM

Lmao. Precisely.

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Totalz
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 1:31:56 AM
Reply

The whole map isn't open from the off you have to unlock it zone by zone.

So what you're saying is FUEL's running on empty? Sorry...that was just awful

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 2:23:33 AM

I think you're right. I looked at the map and saw the whole thing displayed, and assumed it was open. I must've never noticed because I just did a bunch of races, drove around freely without catching any snags, and didn't realize I was opening up the world. I knew I was unlocking zones, I just thought that meant I was getting more races.

Still, because during my free roam session at the start of the game I didn't get stuck anywhere, I thought "wow, freedom". But that's sort of a testament to how massive just one zone in the game could be.

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BikerSaint
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 2:12:58 AM
Reply

Well from your review Arnold, I guess you're telling me that some bad Fuel has really gummed up the motor, so it can't run properly on all 8 cylinders. That's why I never buy the 1st year model, just way too damned many NTSB recalls.

Hey, but if you want to get under the hood & tinker around a bit, I have WD-40 & duct tape.



Last edited by BikerSaint on 6/27/2009 2:15:47 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 2:20:33 AM
Reply

Not running on all cylinders eh?

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BikerSaint
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 9:43:20 PM

@World,
Yeah, the whole 9 yards...putter, gasp, choke & cough

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 2:24:11 AM
Reply

And man, I love the puns.

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BikerSaint
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 2:41:13 AM
Reply

Ahh, I know what's wrong........
Fuel's sputtering along from the old "potato up the tailpipe" trick

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slayerkillemall
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 5:35:34 AM
Reply

lol....seems to be one of those games you wait for
the greatest hits....

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Killsignal
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 6:03:57 AM
Reply

or the greatest hit to become a greatest hit...

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coldbore
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 8:23:09 AM
Reply

I'm sure this game was just a demonstration of what they can do with the map, but it is almost too big, it took me like2-3 hours just to get across one section of the map, I almost got fed up and gave up on it. also I wish we had the option to use all the vehicles (from a cheat or something) fresh from the beginning, I bought this game so I could go 4x4ing, but can't enjoy it because I only have like 20 vehicles, I can't even find a game save for it... and they need to make an update that includes a flyable helicopter or plane, it would make things much easier

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kevinater321
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 8:35:53 AM
Reply

Okay everyone, I am leaving to my friends cotttage fot 2 weeks...i will be back later cya guys :D

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Karosso
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 9:44:27 AM
Reply

Why the heck don't they make another Smugler's Run?
That game was so much fun and if they made an online mode, that game would rock so hard.
Come on Rockstar/Angel Studios! Show them how its done!

Last edited by Karosso on 6/27/2009 9:44:41 AM

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Bugzbunny109
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 10:26:07 AM
Reply

I guess the fuel just couldn't burn...

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tlpn99
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 11:06:04 AM
Reply

I have Fuel and I am enjoying it. Ok all of what Arnold said is true but I cant stop playing it lol :)

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dillonthebunny
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 12:20:14 PM
Reply

Codemasters also do Operation Flashpoint yeh?

imagine what they could do with Fuels playing field!

I didnt mind Fuel that much, in fact I liked it a lot. AK is right in his review, but we all have our guilty pleasures.

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KING313
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 12:34:03 PM
Reply

That's higher than game trailers'. lol

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Jed
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 4:54:52 PM
Reply

One thing that really makes me wat to check out this game is just the free roaming aspect. Smuggler's Run was one of my favorite games becuause you could just drive anywhere you want on a huge map.

At over 5000, Fuel mileage is impressive, but It's kind of troubling that Arnold guaged the landscape as empty. I quess we wont see a refuel anytime soon, as it seems this is not renewable Fuel.

I'm sorry, but they just kept popping into my head.

Last edited by Jed on 6/27/2009 4:55:21 PM

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Karosso
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 8:03:13 PM

That was one of my favorites games also as you can see from my post above.
Hey Ben! Any rumors of a possible sequel for Smuggler's Run?

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Russell Burrows
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 11:07:44 PM
Reply

As a game with a stuck turbo Fuel needs to be napalmed into the bargain bin.

A low octane game whose burning ambition seems to be failure to start a fire at the register with a mistuned and underpowered game engine that forgets to ignite the supercharger of good game features.



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Banky A
Monday, June 29, 2009 @ 1:32:30 AM
Reply

Maybe they need to use Caltex.

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