Fuel Review

By Jamie Courts on June 23, 2009

Fuel is an open world action racing game out of Asobo studios that features multiple car classes racing in an "open world" apocalyptic style environment, ranging from forests to country roads, to cities and mountains. In fact, the world of Fuel is so open that it touts a Guinness World Record for having the largest playable area in a console game.

The term "open world" is used loosely here since it all has to be unlocked, zone by zone, after completing challenges and races. Completing the requirements to unlock zones awards stars that are obtained by racing in different difficulties. Easy mode gets one star, two for medium, and hard mode gets three. Each zone unlocked enables new races and challenges worth more and more fuel, which is the game's currency, that is used to buy new vehicles.

The vehicles in the game are of a wide variety, starting at bikes and working all the way up to monster trucks. Each race or challenge in the game will require the choice of a vehicle in a specific class. The vehicles also range from a-lot-of-fun to monotonous-and-boring to drive. For example the ATVs are a lot of fun to drive and have a great sense of speed, but the SUV class vehicles can handle poorly and have bad collision detection as if there is an invisible box surrounding each SUV, which can mess up trying to pass another vehicle on a narrow ledge.

The overall design of the game is very crisp. The vehicles look really cool and make it worth unlocking new ones as the game progresses. One downside to the design choice of the game however is the colour palette. The vehicles have nice, wide colour options available, but there is a filter over the whole game that adds way too much brown and grey that makes Fuel very bland and murky. It's unfortunate there is such a poor colour filter over the game since when the colour comes through at times such as at sunset, it looks very crisp and colourful, making the environment more comfortable to be in.

Now this is the part where the story would be described. Unfortunately, there is no story to tell. Race. That's about it. The game starts by airlifting a vehicle into the starting zone and offers races, challenges, or free ride. Races consist of standard checkpoint racing and circuit races averaging 3 laps. Races can be a lot of fun or incredibly boring since the design of each race varies from great to poor layout. Challenges are usually more fun since they are generally a little more consistent in terms of the track layout and the challenges that are offered like chasing tornadoes, even though the weather system doesn't affect much other than occasional debris on the track. Free ride is also a waste of time since all there is to do is drive forever around fourteen thousand square kilometres of barren land to find races than can be started from the menu anyway or to find liveries for vehicles that probably aren't obtained yet.

Final Thoughts

Fuel may be an action racing game, but it does not always accurately define the term action. Sure there are a lot of fun races to be had, but some races can get very frustrating. Although there are a lot of imperfections in Fuel, there is definitely enough content to play on for quite a while and have an enjoyable overall experience with the game.

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