In the solo game, things kick off with a small squad of Western coalition soldiers flying to their new base of operations. Predictably, the base has been overrun and it’s a matter of seconds before some wag puts a rocket up the gunship’s tailpipe and forces a crash landing. From there, things get tricky - first there’s the attempt to secure the crash site, then it’s a question of taking territory so our brave boys can fire off a distress call from a radio tower.
What’s most impressive about Frontlines is the AI. Your team is smart, but the enemies are terrifying. Most basically, they’ll respond to what you’re doing - hole up and they’ll try to flank you, but press the action button and they’ll withdraw to cover or lead you into an ambush. Once, we were chasing an enemy trooper around a corner when he ran into three of his friends and took us down in a hail of bullets. They’ll even respond to what’s going on in their environment - leave a jeep lying around and they’ll hop into it and chase you down.
The main way Fuel of War improves on Battlefield, though, is in the “frontline” dynamic. In Battlefield, flags are dotted all over the map, which makes taking and holding one about people-management and luck as much as anything else - find an unattended spot and you can watch the points tick in without firing a shot. In Frontlines, you still capture flags, but there’s one difference: the only flags that change hands are the ones on the border between the sides’ territory. Once you’ve captured the two on the frontline of your own turf, the border gets pushed further up the map and you’re free to plow into enemy terrain. Not only does this mimic the ebb and flow of a real gunfight - you don’t want to stray too far into enemy terrain, and you can’t respawn behind enemy lines - but it also centralizes the action. Everyone heads for the frontline and, even if you take a flag, everyone around is going to be shooting at you.