With the price of oil surpassing $100 a barrel, the apocalypse imagined in Frontlines: Fuel of War may not be so far away. In this vision of the future, the world’s remaining superpowers—split between two factions—clash in a winner-take-all war for Earth’s last oil reserves. Lucky for us, this makes a great backdrop for some intense multiplayer skirmishes.
On each map, teams of up to 32 players scuffle for control of capture points, which connect to create a “frontline” that divides the map between friendly and enemy territory. In order to win a match, a team must take control of the entire map by either moving the shifting frontline to the end of the level or killing enough enemy troops. While the premise is similar to Battlefield’s, the frontline concept prevents lone wolves from infiltrating enemy territory and capturing points away from the action.
In addition to selecting a weapon, players choose one of four roles, each of which comes with unique abilities that must be unlocked. An air-support player can call in air strikes, while a ground-support player can deploy mountable turrets. Our favorite role is drone technician, which gave us control of remote-controlled mini cars and helicopters to zoom around the map. These killer drones (which can self-destruct) were perfect for fishing out snipers hiding in the ruins of a fallen skyscraper and blowing up APCs filled with enemy troops.
Of the nine maps included, we favor the ones set in abandoned urban metropolises because they better accommodate infantry combat. Frontlines lets you pilot helicopters and jets too, but only one map was spacious enough for fun aerial dogfighting.
While the combat here feels solid, widespread bugs prevented us from joining servers, and glitches often crashed the game. Lack of joystick or voice-com support is unacceptable, and squad management feels like an afterthought. But if you can bear these frustrating shortcomings, Frontlines will adequately scratch your multiplayer itch until the next Battlefield game is released.
Concept prevents lone-wolf captures deep inside enemy lines. Fun Drone Technician class. Cool maps.
Down in Front
Most maps are too cramped for vehicle combat; bugs and crashes hamper online play.