Frontlines Fuel of War: Multiplayer Demo Impressions

15 02 2008

A few days ago a multiplayer enabled demo for Frontlines Fuel of War was released on the Xbox LIVE marketplace. Being the impressionable man I am… I caved to peer pressure and downloaded it. I have had a hit-or-miss relationship with Frontlines, I love the concept of the physical frontline moving up, but the SP demo shoved me away with it’s wonky controls and seemingly broken shooting and damage system. Fortunately the MP Demo appears to have fixed the vehicle controls and the damage and physics are much much better now.

In the demo you can pick from 6 Classes (Assault, Heavy Assault, Anti-Vehicle, Sniper, Spec. Ops, and Close Combat, and then compliment your choice with a skill set (Countermeasures, Ground Support, Drone Technician, and Air Support), this leads to so many combinations that you will never find yourself unable to take on a threat. Your up in an oil tower sniping away at hapless infantry as they attempt to cross the bleak oil fields. A tank raises it’s barrel and takes you out with a shell to the face, no worries, respawn with an Anti-Vehicle loadout and Air Support, and go take that bugger out!

Here’s a quick breakdown of Loadouts and Skills

Loadouts

Assault: Assault Rifle, Pistol, Hand Grenades, Rifle mounted grenade launcher

Heavy Asssault: Light Machine-gun, Hand Grenades, Pistol

Anti-Vehicle: Rocket-launcher, Anti-Vehicle Mines, Pistol

Sniper: Sniper Rifle, Pistol, Hand Grenades

Spec. Ops: SMG, Demo Charges, Pistol

Close Combat: Shotgun, Pistol, Hand Grenades

Skills

Drone Technician: You can launch and control a variety of drones, airborne and tracked, able to take on infantry, and armor alike.

Countermeasures: You don’t show up on the Enemy Awareness system (a red triangle surrounding your character when spotted), you can place EMP Spikes to disable drones and vehicles in a given area, and are provided with an EMP Launcher, when fired it disables all electronics in it’s blast radius.

Ground Support: You can repair vehicles and gun emplacements, and place two types of mounted gun positions (Grenade, Rail-gun, Mini-gun, and Sentry-gun) depending on what faction your serving with.

Air Support: You can call in airstrikes (Precision Strike, Carpet Bomb, Fuel-Air Bomb, Vulcan Gunship support) depending on what faction your with.

The gameplay is epic, simply epic, most online console games support a max of 8-16 players per match, Frontlines supports up to 32 players per match, 16 on a side, it can get really chaotic out there. Two maps are included in the demo are called Street and Oilfield, each showcases a different aspect of Frontlines. Street is set in a war-torn deserted city, craters litter the roads, and gaping holes have been ripped in the sides of buildings. The combat here is focused on close quarters to mid-range, Drone use is ideal here, in a map where there could be a threat around every corner having an eye in the sky could make the difference between a kill or a respawn. Oilfield is set on a dessert plateau oil wells dot the landscape while a towering refinery stands in the center. This is a map tailor made for vehicular warfare, each base has an Attack Helicopter, several tanks, and a jeep, further into the desert sub-bases have tanks or jeeps.

The core mechanic in Frontlines is to capture control points to move your frontline further into enemy held territory, every time it’s moved up it forces them back closer and closer to their main base. Once you capture their base (or they use up their alloted lives) the round ends. Most objectives require you to simply sit around and shoot the breeze for a few seconds, while others require you to do something specific, like planting a demo charge on a generator. Once you’ve captured an Objective point you and anyone else on your team can spawn there until it is captured by the enemy.

The Multiplayer demo has me hooked, I’ll admit it, the massive scale, strategic thinking, and vehicular combat is awe-inspiring. There is nothing quite like watching a half-dozen tanks engage in the middle of a dessert while a helicopter launches flares to confuse the rocket on it’s tail. The sheer scale of the multiplayer alone makes it enjoyable, I personally can’t wait until the full game is released.

Advertisements