- Game world is awesome, spectacular weather effects, short load time between races
- Not as graphically impressive as Motorstorm and Pure
An intriguing take on the classic arcade racer formula, there's no doubt that Fuel is an absolute blast as a racing game, but it won't make you forget other recent rubber-burning release from Burnout: Paradise to Pure.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
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I wasn't very impressed with Fuel when I first started reviewing it. Sure, it had great graphics and the racing was slick but I couldn't stop comparing it to Motorstorm and Pure; I wasn't sure what Fuel offered that those two games didn't. I'm still not sure but I have to admit that the game grew on me, enough that I stopped comparing it to other games and just started to enjoy it.
While it's not as graphically impressive as Motorstorm and Pure, Fuel more than holds its own when it comes to visuals. The only weak spot is, strangely enough, the vehicles and the racers; for some reason, they looked a little dull and jagged around the edges. The game world, though, is awesome; the sheer size of it is impressive and I never once noticed a loading screen or a pause as I tore my way around the detailed scenery. There is a short load time between races but you'll barely notice it.
The game also sports some spectacular weather effects. So far, I've driven through hellacious dirt storms, saw lightening come down and set nearby trees on fire and withstood hurricane force winds. The game also has a full day/night cycle and it's pretty cool to watch the sun go down and come back up as you cruise around.
Running on empty
But Fuel isn't perfect and its flaws keep it from overtaking its competitors. First, I hated the fact that the accelerator is assigned to the R2 trigger; having to keep that button pressed down during races does not feel good at all. The game also has a useful "respawn" feature that puts you back on track if you go off-course but it's less helpful than it sounds. There's also a 'free ride' mode where you can explore the world to find new activities and while it's technically impressive, the experience is a little sterile especially because so much barren real estate exists between trigger points.
Still, for all its faults, I ended up liking Fuel; it's a solid racing title and if Motorstorm or Pure didn't exist, I probably would have rated it higher. As it stands, it's the third best next-gen off-road racing title I've played and while third place won't get you the checkered flag, it still gets you onto the winner's podium.
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