|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Asobo Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Codemasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 2, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1, 2-4 (Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
However, this is where Fuel starts to develop some issues. Although the world is plenty big, there's just not that much to do within it. The game is not set up like Burnout Paradise, where you just pull up to an intersection to start a race, and the huge world seems wasted when all the races are just a menu away. Sure, you can come across a race in the wild, but there is no real reason to drive to it when you can just use the menu. You can also drive around and look for cars to add to your garage, but that just didn't seem like enough of a motivation to really drive around the expansive world.
Another issue I had with Fuel early on was with the visuals. Honestly, the tracks and vehicles are a bit simplistic. Although the world is huge, the truth is that its not filled with terribly much, and repeated obstacle elements punctuate the landscape again and again. However, the one exception to this rule has to be the weather effects. Honestly, I found them quite impressive, and riding through the rain, high winds, tornadoes, and lightning storms to be quite the exhilarating experience.
Control in this game falls squarely in the arcade genre, with speed and quick turns being emphasized over precision driving. The game never punishes you for going off-road or damaging your vehicle (after smashing an ATV right into a tree at 50 MPH I was able to just reverse and drive away), and if you get too far off course or have a colossal wreck, the game will just reset you back on the track. The game even forgives you for being lost, and you have your own reset button you can use to right yourself if you have gotten too far away from the action.
Fuel is definitely not a bad game. In fact, I liked it a lot. However, it is not the standout title that I was expecting it to be. Last year's GRID was such a memorable racing game, and I was really expecting Fuel to be another standout title in the same vein. Despite being a very competent racer, and one fans of arcade-style racing will enjoy, Fuel just doesn't ever cross the line into amazing territory. If you were expecting lightning in a bottle, Fuel keeps the electricity in the environmental elements and out of the gameplay.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor