Nov 20, 2007
Frontlines: Fuel of War takes place in the near future, extrapolating global climate change to a point that would make Al Gore ask for a disclaimer; envisaging a time not far off when chronic fossil fuel shortage has led to societal breakdown, food and fuel riots, transport disarray and an uneasy circling of the wagons as East hoards its natural supplies and West looks on with a growing hunger. The USA and the European Union join forces, as do Russia and China and before too long a real ground war has erupted to stake a final claim to the Earth’s last oilfields.
There is a very decent solo game to Frontlines, one narrated by a war journalist, both in comic book-style cutscene drawings and in the game itself. Said journo appears in several missions, and early on it’s no surprise that he goes and gets himself captured by the Russo-Sino coalition and has to be bailed out by you and your troops. Like the multiplayer game, solo play is constantly objective based - capture, defend, or destroy - but it’s a branching tree of progression where you’ll get to choose which objectives you want to pursue first, coming back to more difficult ones with fresh approaches, new tech and alternative strategies available elsewhere.
Your character is impersonal and should you fail to back off to regenerate health and actually die, you’ll replace yourself as just another anonymous Allied soldier. There’s no reloading and replaying objectives since your last save. Everything your previous avatar did remains and you just pick up where he left off. Although you’ll never see them spawn, your AI comrades do the same thing and at all times you should be with, or near, a team of six to ten soldiers. But you will need to look after them as they try to look after you. This is all about teamwork and the constant push to move the frontline forwards. It’s a war of attrition, where the line can sometimes move back in your direction.