Frontlines: Fuel Of War Review

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We don't need another shooter...


You can almost picture the scene in Kaos Studios’ weekly planning meeting…

“Hey, dudes! You know what the Xbox 360 needs?” mused one sweaty coder, squeezed into a vintage Akira T-shirt. “Another shooting game!”

“Fuckin’ A!” agreed the man in a threadbare Star Wars jumper. “People loved Halo 3, BioShock and Call Of Duty 4… so let’s give them more of what they want.”

OK, that’s probably not what happened. In fact, in our experience game developers are actually quite fashionable. But why anyone thought another team blaster was just the ticket for 360 fans is beyond us.

That’s not to say Frontlines is a bad game; based in a possible future where nations are ripping each other apart for control of ever-decreasing oil reserves, the game strikes a poignant note often missing from more fantastical blasters. The ability to play a variety of military roles - from gung-ho grunts to the guy who calls in air strikes - also brings variety to the skirmishes, and the sense of freedom you have on the battlefields is thrilling, allowing you to commandeer a wide variety of vehicles whenever the mood takes you and choose your own path to victory in the sprawling single-player missions.

But the fact remains that Frontlines offers an identical experience to EA’s all-conquering Battlefield series, especially online where gargantuan teams battle for control of predetermined capture points. Only offering a single multiplayer mode also does little to enhance this familiar blaster’s appeal, while the drab visuals and leaden story sequences drag down the experience both on- and offline.