Frontlines: Fuel of War
After making the Desert Combat mod for the legenday Battlefield 1942 and working along on Battlefield 2 under guidance from DICE, the guys from Kaos Studios wanted to proove themselves with their own multiplayer game. A lack of ambition is the last thing you can accuse them from, as next to offering a worthy BF-experience they also wanted gamers to experience a singleplayer story. Especially that last part of Frontlines: Fuel of War got some scepticism in the previews.
Kaos and THQ no doubt succeeded in imitating their big example and giving it its own turns and unique feel. The setting in the near future has delivered a rich and varied arsenal of weapons and deadly gadgets that no doubt will be appreciated by the hardcore gaming crowd. Thanks to stuff like remote controlled mini-choppers, artillery barrages and EMPs you won’t be able to get that grin off your face when something again gets blown to pieces in a spectacular way.
Als the variant on the classes structure is quite good and offers more freedom without falling down into unbalanced gameplay. The finding is in the fact that your choice of weapons is independent from your specialisation. Also, those choices will never limit you to only play a certain role. As you play longer, depending on your specialisation you just get more (and cooler) stuff from the genre EMP, drones and airial attacks and the weapon combinations are very flexible so that you can kick ass both from long range as well as short distance. You can really play as you like it!
If we believe the marketing boys, the biggest innovation however, is in the “Frontlines” from the title. Contrary to Battlefield you can only achieve objectives that are in the front line. That has as biggest advantage that the action is focused on a certain place and you’ll never end up “alone” or see the game degenerating to a piece of capture the undefended flag, but this design does get rid of the strategic freedom and challenge that was present in BF2.
Those that only play on public servers or only sporadically put on the combat boots will notice that there’s some more co-operation because you need to be on those frontlines and that there’s less advantage for those that know the maps well compared to in Battlefield. Personally I did miss the kick you got when you put up alternative strategies with a good-working team in BF and kicked the enemy’s arse by sneaking, flying or driving behind his lines.
Something that I could easily miss was the single player campaign as again we get proof that such games aren’t made for this. While in Call of Duty 4 you get dragged along with the preset action, here the feeling of playing a stupid multiplayer game against idiot AI opponents remains. Cut-scenes and a bit more freedom than in an average shooter can’t help the fact that the single player is again a training level and warm-up for the real deal: online!
The first real game from Kaos Studios has become quite a small success! The innovations are overall quite good, the multiplayer offers tons of explosive action, nice weapons and vehicles and also the presentation could please us. Too bad they didn’t succeed in making a worthy single player campaign (but who cares) and that the finishing is just a bit below that from the Battlefield series. Certainly worth a shot for those that like online class-based shooting, but the wait is still for a game that really brings the genre to the next level, instead of an entertaining step aside.