Frontlines: Fuel of War Updated Multiplayer Hands-On

We head back to the battlefield and try out some new maps and vehicles in THQ's upcoming first-person shooter Frontlines: Fuel of War.


We've looked at Frontlines: Fuel of War on several occasions in the months leading up to launch, and at every turn we've been greeted with a game brimming with features and a dev team eager to show them off. Yesterday was no exception, and we were given the chance to really put the game through the stress-test wringer by pitting ourselves against 15 other game journalists for an eight-a-side Xbox 360 multiplayer session across a range of maps, including a few new ones.

Gnaw was our first multiplayer map and was perfectly suited for the number of players on hand. The level was wide and dilapidated enough that regardless of your preferred class type--be it a sniper lurking somewhere high atop a building and lying in wait, or an in-your-face heavy machine gunner--you weren't constantly bumping into allies or members of the opposite team. That said, a few of the back-alley paths do have choke points, which makes them great for ambushes or crafty explosives experts. A particular feature of this map is its flying debris, which litters the sky and keeps you constantly on edge in the knowledge that somewhere above there could be a hovering drone ready to blow you to smithereens.

Drones will play an important part.
Drones will play an important part.

Street was our second arena, and much like Gnaw was set in a drab and broken-down urban environment. Like all the multiplayer maps, Street features various capture objectives that will require you and members of your team to either occupy a zone or interact with an object at a designated location. Successfully taking a point will move your frontline forward, with the goal of occupying the most territory. Although you can play Frontlines as a free-for-all first-person shooter, doing this doesn't help your team all that much. Controlling the most ground and having a rolling frontline is the name of the game here, and an added incentive is that each objective gained acts as a potential spawn point that lets you get back to the action faster after you're killed. Slightly larger than Gnaw, Street also has a range of vehicles, including light armored hummers, as well as medium and heavy tanks. Roles (think Call of Duty 4 perks) come into play here, given that a carefully placed tactical missile is capable of destroying a tank and its occupants.

Mountain Top was the other new playable map at the event, and its open-plan battlefield and spaced-out objectives were quite different than both Street and Gnaw. In the middle of the map was a huge warehouse with a capture point smack in the center. This was a particularly hard one to both take and hold because of its multiple points of access. Even a dedicated attack and guard team would come under fire from various angles, and as a result the spot became the focus of raging battles. Drones and C4 specialists did well here, with players setting up traps and suicide runs with their robotic toys. Outdoor objectives became targets for players with itchy air-strike trigger fingers, and the action saw them launching cluster bombs and attack choppers. A handful of vehicles were available to take for a spin, but most opted to go it on foot because the steep hillside made for rough driving, and being sedentary in any spot for even a brief amount of time was guaranteed death.

Village and Solar Farm--maps we played in our last multiplayer hands-on--made another appearance, and offer very different experiences. Village is a midsize and frantic map with long, open corridors and semidestroyed houses to occupy. Although close-combat encounters are far from infrequent, snipers and resourceful engineers tended to dominate, either by taking out their prey at long range or by deploying sentry guns to guard key objectives. By contrast, Solar Farm is huge and would best suit the game's PC-only 64-player team deathmatch mode. A vast array of light vehicles, medium and heavy tanks, and mobile antiaircraft trucks will have your ground troops covered. The rear of the map also includes multiple helipads stocked with AH67 Mohawk and K-55 Hyper choppers, as well as an airstrip that plays temporary home to two of one type of fighter jet per team. Our demo had jets disabled, but our last multiplayer session included them, and though we were told they were still in the tweaking phase, we found them considerably more difficult to fly than the helicopters.

Multiplayer will play a huge part in the success of Frontlines: Fuel of War, and with launch day rapidly approaching in the latter part of February, we're hoping all the bugs are ironed out in time. We can see this one pulling military and team-based shooter fans alike. Check GameSpot soon for our full review of the game.

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