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Fuel is a mostly offroad racing game set in a world where large parts of the globe have been ravaged by climate change brought on by decades of environmental abuse – yes it’s a racing game with a subtle environmental conscience! Oil prices have rocketed as fossil fuels have become scarce and the sensible portions of earths population have moved to sustainable living in the major cities. But in true Mad Max style, a new era of racers have claimed the wastelands as their playground. Racing their scrapheap challenge vehicles against each other in flag to flag races with no rules, they compete to win all important fuel supplies.
Fuel is the only currency worth fighting over in the wastelands, and it’s the key to your progress through the game.
Though I’ve yet to explore the entire wasteland available to me, Codemasters promise 5,000+ square miles of wasteland created from the most compelling and diverse areas of the North American wilderness, from the Utah bad lands, to Yellowstone Park and Arizona. Recognisable landmarks, including Death Valley and Mount Rushmore, are modelled from satellite data and stunningly rendered by the game engine. The effects of accelerated global warming – from sandstorms, blizzards and brush fires to tsunamis and tornadoes – create uniquely unpredictable and spectacular races.
Of course none of this is worth a drop of oil if the racing doesn’t cut the mustard. So what is Fuel like to drive?
Codemasters have taken the success of Grid, which proved that people like a bit of fun over an all out simulation and gone one step further – or, you could say, one step back… in time. Fuel is an old school racer with Hi Def graphics. It keeps the action pumping through catch up physics – crash out and fall behind and you’ll have a good chance of catching up. Take the lead, and no matter how good a driver you are, the competition will stick to you like a bad smell.
Some might see this as unfair, but it keeps the game fun and most importantly keeps you coming back for more.
Fuel is huge in scope, with a variety of racing styles and vehicles to collect, along with numerous regions to unlock. These new regions give you new racing challenges and the ability to go driving around exploring the new terrain.
Whilst it’s never going to replace Grid for competitive online racing, or Dirt 2 for realism, Fuel does offer up a healthy dose of pick up and play off road racing that has enough variety and challenge to keep you interested for the long run.