Frontlines: Fuel of War Multiplayer Hands-On - Large-Scale Warfare

Forget 16 or 24 players. Frontlines: Fuel of War will let you battle with up to 49 other players.

Frontlines: Fuel of War may very well be the first Xbox 360 game that comes close to capturing the sheer madness and wild nature of the famed Battlefield games on the PC. That's because the matches in Frontlines can go all the way up to 50 players instead of being limited to just 16 or 24 players. We know this because we had a chance very recently to play in some multiplayer matches against the testers at THQ. We also have to report that we got a lot of kills, died a lot of times, and saw a lot of really cool things on the screen.

We played with the same version of the game that was sent to submission approval at Microsoft. Frontlines can have such a high player count because THQ will host dedicated servers for the game; most Xbox 360 games rely on one player to serve as the host. While the matches that we played had about 55 to 56 players at a time, we're told that THQ plans on capping the limit at 50 when the game launches. That's mainly due to testing and the fact that while the maps are big, they aren't that big.

Multiplayer matches in Frontlines can have more than three times the number of players than in most Xbox 360 games. That's a lot of chaos.

The game is set several decades in the future when a brutal war for dwindling resources erupts between the Western Coalition and the Red Star Alliance. The three battles that we waged let you play as a member of either faction, and you can form squads to work as a team to help your side prevail.

Considering that the developers at Kaos Studios previously worked on Battlefield 2 and the popular Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942, it's not surprising that Frontlines feels quite a bit like--surprise!--Battlefield. However, it benefits from the larger player counts in the server. Battlefield 2: Modern Combat for the Xbox 360 never captured its cousin's sheer sense of wall-to-wall chaos, Battlefield 2, on the PC. However, Frontlines does capture that chaos because common sense dictates that the more people you have running around with assault rifles, rocket launchers, tanks, helicopters, and jets in a given area, the hairier the said area will be in battle. During the battle, we had all sorts of crazy things going on around us: helicopters exploded in midair and jets lawn darted into the ground right in front of us. Tanks and wheeled transports also careened around at high speed, with gunfire getting thick and heavy at times.

The action was almost a bit too heavy at times, though we were playing with slightly more players than that of the final population cap. And frankly, having to choose between empty battlefields versus battlefields with stuff going on everywhere, we'll choose the latter nine times out of 10.

The first map we played was called Invasion. It's a nighttime map where the Western Coalition has to conduct an air assault on a Red Star base. So the Westerners jump aboard their various futuristic helicopters and helicopter gunships to try to seize objectives, as well as blow up surface-to-air missile installations on the ground. The Red Star troopers have to stop them. This makes for a pretty intense battle with helicopters overhead, tanks and antiaircraft guns maneuvering on the ground, and small-unit battles for objective points.

Next, we played the Runabout map. It's an outdoor, daytime map set in a small valley where two bases oppose one another. We died quite a bit more on this map than we did on Invasion probably because both sides can open up on each other almost immediately. The Western Coalition doesn't have to helicopter in at the start of the match. The middle of the map consists of a killing zone, with long fields of fire letting snipers have fun, but machine gunners can just open up too.

Rocket launchers are your friend when helicopters roam the map.

The third and final map that we played was also the wildest. It's called Solar Farm, and it's a playground for aerial combat. There are jet fighters, as well as helicopter gunships galore on this one, and you can have fun engaging in some wild air-to-air battles. There's also plenty of action on the ground as the two sides battle for control of objective points. The geography on this map is really memorable, with giant solar collectors (they look like radio satellite dishes) providing bowls in the ground in which to fight. Our best moments occurred while serving as a gunner aboard a helicopter gunship. The chain gun is useful in air-to-air battles, as well as for mowing down opponents on the ground. Your lifespan can be measured in seconds, though. It seemed that helicopters and jets were blowing up constantly throughout the match.

Like we noted previously, these large-scale multiplayer battles come close to Battlefield 2's 64-player slugfests. The key difference is that the maps are not nearly as sprawling as they are in that PC game, but they're still big. Frontlines offers up some of the most frenzied online warfare that we've seen in a console game, which bodes well. It'll ship for the Xbox 360 and PC near the end of this month.

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277 comments
mhandschuh
mhandschuh

I've been playing this demo alot lately and it is pretty amazing. Yea the culling is a little crappy with the fog, but the gameplay is absolutely incredible. Reminiscent of BF2, can't wait until I have the 60 bucks. And oh yea, 25 on 25 would be so intense on maps like Street in the demo. PS. I am CoD4 fan and am replacing my CoD4 time with frontlines... demo.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

advandam, i agree, i think its great, im still playing the Demo untill i can afford to purchase it (After R6 Vegas 2).

advandam
advandam

this demo is amazin, ignore people talking about the lag i've played countless times no lag. the battlefields are well designed, the combat excellent. the weapons are accurate, people that complain they aren't can't be to good. this shows up the dissapointing turkey shoot that call of duty 4 descends into (and i am a fan of cd4). the tanks/ helicopters /armoured vehicles are so much fun, (if a little awkward to drive) ha ha i'll prob gets lots off thumbs down. i don't care each to there own huh

Streifen
Streifen

Is the actual game better than the demo? The weapons are weak and innaccurate and the explosions are boring. It's fun for a little bit, but I'm looking for something to replace CoD4.

Octane79
Octane79

Thia game sucks man! the shooting is garbage! Dont waste your money. Go back to cod4!

CyberKnight500
CyberKnight500

This looks like such an awesome game. Modern like CoD4, but with Sci-Fi mixed in.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

alcari, It isnt the 360's ability that dictates a good RTS, but more the developer taking time & effort to implement features, and not palming us off with a half as5ed excuse for an RTS.

alcari
alcari

"anyone who has played a console RTS knows that you can be just as quick with a controller as a mouse." you're kidding right? PC RTSs need some serious crippling before a controller works as well as a mouse. If you want an example, look at the monster that is UAW, about 16 units max, no zoom, no tactical mobility,

Vrygar777
Vrygar777

Along the lines of the whole mouse & keyboard Vs. Controller thing. anyone who has played a console RTS knows that you can be just as quick with a controller as a mouse. Still this games looks and seems great but has anyone been wondering when ET: quake wars will be coming to the 360?

Lost_Soul84
Lost_Soul84

It's a fair game. The textures are pretty bad especially on surrounding environments. The concept of having 49 players is intriguing, but is quickly over-shadowed by the thick pea-soup colored fog. Seriously, are we reverting back to N64 and PSX years? I haven't seen fog that bad since Castlevania 64!!!

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Like others on here, i've been playing this for a while now and have really grown to enjoy it, Just need to resolve the lag issue. Its great fun knocking the Helicopter noobs out o the sky with the EMP rockets then watching the fall to the ground! hehehe

100starz
100starz

For me, the only craziness of bf2 is on small maps with 64 players. Happens in demo on small gulf of oman. soooo awsome,specially cause those servers have team players on em! :)

tbone95677
tbone95677

The demo is very enjoyable, and I'm the dude who seems to get tooled more often than not. The squad idea is cool, though I laugh when requested to join one (I just suck at this point. :). Great graphics, sound, and smooth gameplay. With so many players at once, I'm hoping we see a game that rivals the craziness of BF2 on PC.

guhlaktik
guhlaktik

I've been playing the demo the last couple nights... I think it is really fun, especially if you can get a good squad together. Looking forward to buying this one. Not a perfect game, but it oughta be fun.

danielterrell8
danielterrell8

This game is the beat game on live yes i sade it i like this game more than COD4 and!! Halo 3 online, COD4 his the single player locked Down... but win it comes to Xbox live this is the game for u.... I have sprint MBB and my connection sucks, but i can play about 60% of the matches with no Laggg!!!...... i all so have a $2,000 PC and yes i think the mouse& keyboard are faster i still like the 360 more.....

devjmoore
devjmoore

I still haven't really played COD 4, so please share your opinion, comparing this game to COD 4. The reason that I need to know is because a friend suggested that I wait for this game instead of buying COD 4. I'd like to own both, but unfortunately, I can't afford both.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

colinfirst002 "360 controller is nothing compared to mouse+keyboard" i beg to differ! and thats exactly what was said when 'Shadowrun' came out, except that they had to alter the levels as PC gamers were having thier a5ses handed to them by 360 players! The Console controller is easily as easy to use as a Mouse & Keyboard!

colinfirst002
colinfirst002

Can't wait to own console boys when I get my hands on this game on a PC. 360 controller is nothing compared to mouse+keyboard.

beanies12345678
beanies12345678

i cant wait till it comes out, but the sad thing is i wont have x box live untill 2 or 3 weeks after

ir0xurs0x
ir0xurs0x

I downloaded the 360 demo and it was laggy as hell, and the choppers are kinda overpowered. The game is cool, but the lag really kills it.

gww101
gww101

ya but this is consoles, pc has a connection to the www and internet with better connections, if you don't like it go somewhere else. some people don't have 2 grand for an amazing gamin pc

Canitbe
Canitbe

I don't see 50 players as news, this has been done before, and much better on the PC. In fact, I can remember a game on the PC that had 150 running around per map. Try and guess it's name!

nhatnheo
nhatnheo

how come people won't buy this game. it looks fun

Spixter534
Spixter534

its sad because not a lot of people will buy this game

Merl57
Merl57

yeah the demo is just that a demo. I had fun playing it but I won't see myself getting as frustrated with all the lag and bugs as I am with Gears of war because you do get to respawn

resident-shell
resident-shell

The multiplayer seems sub-par. The drones are a little infuriating at times, but they're just a mechanic that needs to be gotten used to. The levels with helis in them are going to be noob bait. Whenever a helicopter appears on the map there are always four or five people sprinting towards the helicopter pad. As long as the game has good clan support, those matches should be a treat. The combinations of weapons and classes are many, and if utilized by team work, some of the matches will be superb. Overall the multiplayer is pretty good, hopefully it will be fine tuned before release. The Western Coalition's sniper pisses me off... a lot.

dkdk999
dkdk999

i lovvvvvvveeeeeeeeedddddddd the demo

gww101
gww101

hopefully they will patch it up....a lot before release or just have lots of patches. Has great potential, probably something to play until BF:BC comes out.

marq6969
marq6969

ok first off let me tell you. The single player expierance and the MP are like to different games. The single player was horrible the MP was better NOT UP TO COD4 standards or even BF2 modern combat in its current state standards but if your looking for something different then download the demo and you be the judge. The guns look really hookie they dont look interesting or cool at all. They look like dark grey super soakers at best. Another thing is BS factor game you know the ole routine " WTF I just emptied a clip in his head and he didnt go down WTF?" You know how it goes. YES THIS GAME ALOT OF THAT I DONT SEE HOW KAOS CAN GET 50 PEOPLE IN THOSE SERVERS WHEN IN FACT THEY ARE HAVING ISSUES WITH JUST 24 PEOPLE ONLINE. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME ON THIS. I was also very pissed after playing both versions due to the fact that there was just a lil too much hype on this game. To buffer a game for an entire year before you see a video gameplay and then deliever crap really pisses me off to no end. Anyways I highly doubt the actual game will deliever any \thing except a filler for the 360 at best.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Being a previous player of the BF series on PC and having the Desert Combat mod, i gotta say i actually quite liked the MP demo, YES! there are lag issues and bugs present, however it has the potential to be a great FUN game, just hope the developer rectifies these issues for the General release. However with the imminent release of R6 Vegas 2 and COD4 already kicking a5s i think it will be a challenge for this game to establish itself as a 'Top Notch Shooter'.

Mike0193
Mike0193

Well i will surely get this game, after more of playing the demo, i really enjoyed playing the game.

Sydwynder
Sydwynder

I'm gonna try the multiplayer demo, but why do we need that many players. In the last 2 days, while playing COD4, I had 4 games in a row that were defeats for me because the HOST ended the match so they could win. What a load of crap. Doesn't having that many players on create more lag? Isn't more lag what we don't need?

Masaru_Kato
Masaru_Kato

while all this hype around 40+ players seems pretty chill, if we were to look back at that game "black hawk down" 40+ players begins to loose some appeal. Granted Black Hawk Down was a pseudo sim fps, so to try and have a game not meant for the Haloish death match have 50 player battles just makes no sense at all. I hope this game can pull it off because it LOOKS nice.

1407
1407

damn, 46 players, thats insane!!!!, but i like it, more you can kill!! and tag team with!!! yeah

BurningChrome
BurningChrome

"Your lifespan can be measured in seconds, though. It seemed that helicopters and jets were blowing up constantly throughout the match." This was my biggest problem with the demo.There is not enough cover for when you're on foot in the Oil Field map.And I wish you could carry two weapons,i.e. the rocket launcher and a SMG.The pistols just feel too weak. I will probably rent this before I buy it. And 50 player MP is not as fun as it sounds.I used to play Delta Force on the p.c. and they had 64 player matches,it is total chaos and fun for about 4 minutes! Too many people is too many people.

homie13_9
homie13_9

this game looks like a really good multyplayer game..am plnning on gettin it....

vahid_xbox_360
vahid_xbox_360

this game looks mediocre in all aspects but eventully gamers find themselves enjoyning this game.

renknram
renknram

Played the single demo back in DEC07, didn't think much to it from the early stages, nearer the end when I took control of an APC then I did take interest not much. Anyway downloaded the MP DEMO & all I can say what a different experience totally enjoyed it. So whoever moans about graphics don't know #### about team play cooperation. The Games open end maps i.e from Infantry small maps, Medium Inf/Armour & lastly Large Maps/Vehicles makes it a must for teamwork & planning. I think the developers have done a very good job with this game & this one is gonna be a MUST on my list I can't wait, The Graphics, Sound & Game play is a bonus for my tactical, strategic mind & I'm gonna thoroughly enjoy this Title. I remember when Operation Flashpoint came out for the pc & peeps where moaning about the graphical elements, however never seeing the deep game play from this Gr8 title. I totally studied FFOW & tell you this I am very pleased in how they got the sound & effects of gun tracers arcing in the sky etc. ROLL ON FLFOW I CAN'T W8 50+ player's Damn Amazing!!!!

Stavr0s
Stavr0s

Voodoo, since when does someone have to own a 360 to be a "serious gamer"? I own a three (Wii, PS3, 360), are you gonna call me a mostly serious gamer? I will admit that santiagochile could've said something better than what he did, but you all don't have to flame him for it, just ignore him, it's not that hard. I wouldn't of even realised what he said, if you hadn't said anything. And yes, there will be noobs.

Vood00_people
Vood00_people

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Rowr14
Rowr14

I hope this has 5 more layers of polish on it than the demo did. Graphics not inspiring, bland. While vehicles could be fun - (if not a little basic), as infantry the weapons are entirely unsatisfying, generally if you dont have a rocket launcher, i found it pointless being outside a vehicle. (the toys are fun, although didnt seem very balanced class wise, i found auto-turrets winning the day way to much)