2008 Reviews

Frontlines: Fuel Of War

  • Review Date: 2012-01
  • Release Date: 2008-02
  • Developer: Kaos Studios
  • Rating: 6.5

Frontlines is one of only two games by Kaos Studios (the other Homefront in 2011) before being shut down. However they were previously known as Trauma Studios and collaborated on Battlefield 2. So it's no surprise that Frontlines is a bit of a Battlefield clone, only not so good.

Frontlines feels like it's been created for multiplayer with just a single player campaign glued on the side. It's very short - only seven large levels which take place around 5-6 hours to complete. For Unreal Engine 3.0, it's not particularly impressive. I've seen plenty games put this engine to better use. We have the typical desaturated, brown and washed out tones for 3.0, yet again. Boy am I sick of this. Plain textures and structures that all look fairly similar. The outdoor terrain is a bit more appealing but soon enough you return to small towns with large open areas (so you can use your tank) and half-destroyed concrete buildings. It's about the most done-to-death setting in shooters I can think of. And I haven't even played any COD4 or Battlefield yet!

Still, it might be a common theme but it's not ugly. I'm just a bit over seeing this theme.

What I mean by this game feeling like single player is tacked on, comes from the bot-type gameplay. There's linearity as you progress through one objective at a time, but enemies seem to keep re-spawning until you've achieved this. They do dwindle in numbers the more you kill, but re-spawning enemies is a cheap tactic. They're also all identical - even the characters faces are all identical! The only change in weaponry are the odd, annoying as hell, guys carrying rocket launchers.

Weapons aren't very fun to use either, at least those that you're given for most of the game. Even when scoping, your bullets spray everywhere instead of where your cursor is actually pointing. Recoil is overdone. If you can hit an enemy in the head then props to you, if you can't then you'll endessly be firing into their body waiting for them to die. There's also all sorts of gadgets that you can use; mostly remote controlled vehicles that can be used to take enemies out without putting yourself in harms way. Nice idea, but I really didn't use them all that much. If I played multiplayer perhaps they'd be more useful.

Frontlines can only be considered part first person shooter. The other part is a tank game, because you're in a tank for almost half of the game. Which is not a good thing - I hate tank games. You can just hop out but trying to take on other tanks and copters with your handheld rocket launcher is no fun. The tanks make mince-meat of everything.

The story I'll rush over because I've got better things to do then review such a short game, but it's about a war between Russia, China, the rest of the world (meaning America) over fuel. It's all a little interesting, but doesn't really go anywhere and other than being an underlying plot, the story isn't bought into the game much. The in-between cinematic sequences were nothing but gloss. I don't even know who I was playing as in the game, let alone anything about any of the characters apart from one of them being a camera man. Perhaps that was me?

Anyway, overall Frontlines is a short war shooter, same old visuals and gameplay we've seen. It's not a bad game; perhaps a nice little excursion on a Sunday afternoon if you can put up with all the tank driving. I dislike how critics hate on games just because they haven't done anything new, and I don't want to do the same, but ultimately I was bored with this after five hours. Saints Row 2 I played for over 30 hours.

A couple final notes: firstly, this game gives me slight motion sickness.

Secondly, don't attempt to install any of the very recommended patches. For me as soon as I applied a patch the game would crash after the splash screen every time. Many other users report the same problems without any known fixes. But prior to the patches, the game works fine. And I don't know what the patches attempt to fix, but I didn't find any bugs in Frontlines.