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Frontlines: Fuel of War is a first-person shooter game for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. It was released February 25, 2008 in North America. It was produced by Kaos Studios (previously known as Trauma Studios, producers of Desert Combat, an extremely popular modification for Battlefield 1942). Frontlines: Fuel of War was also originally in development for the PlayStation 3, although THQ announced it had canceled work on this version on January 24, 2008, seemingly as a result of problems with developing for the PS3, issues that had been referenced in interviews prior to the PS3 version's cancellation. Frontlines includes a multiplayer mode as well as a single-player campaign that uses the Frontlines system found in the multiplayer component. Single-player mode limits the players to the fictional Western Coalition, while online modes let players play as either the Western Coalition (WC) or Red Star Alliance (RSA), It is not bot compatible.A multiplayer demo of the game was released for the Xbox 360 on February 11, 2008.

Setting

Frontlines: Fuel of War is set in a dystopian 2024 in the midst of a global energy crisis. As supplies of oil and natural gas wane, diplomatic relationships between the East and West are strained, causing new alliances to be formed. The two major alliances in the Frontlines era are the Western Coalition, consisting of the United Statesmarker and the European Union, and the Red Star Alliance, made up of the Russian Federationmarker and the People's Republic of Chinamarker. The Red Star Alliance launches a surprise attack on the Western Coalition in retaliation to proof of the Western Coalition supporting a coup d'état in an oil rich Red Star country. As the last oil fields start to go dry, the countries move to secure what resources are left, leading to several small outbreaks that turn quickly into full scale war. The game also contains some political commentary on how much wars cost in terms of fuel; no matter who wins, they will already be on the losing side.

Gameplay

The gameplay focuses on a central mechanic, the frontline. This is designed to keep the action in one place, by focusing objectives closer together on the battlefield. The frontline also has bonuses. By moving it back and forth across the battlefield, the player may gain or lose weapons and equipment. The frontline mechanic will be used in all gametypes, which forces players to choose which objectives they will pursue or defend, adding a strategic level to the gameplay.

The UCAV Drone will play a crucial role in gathering information in real time on the battlefield. The drone will reconnoiter enemy units, which are visible through walls, and then show them on the player's HUD and map. Some drones can also be used as a kamikaze bomb, by running them into enemy infantry and self destructing them.

There are four other drones, the Assault Drone, a small treaded vehicle with a mounted Gatling gun, a Mortar Drone, with a mounted four barrelled mortar, an RC drone, which can be packed with C4 and used to destroy armored targets and finally a variant of the UAV drone equipped with anti-infantry rockets.

In an interview, Kaos stated that there will be more than 60 vehicles and weapons in the final game.Airstrikes will also play a large part in gameplay, being an effective way to destroy an opposing force from a distance.

In an interview with developer Joe Halper, Kaos has stated that 32 player multiplayer will be supported for the console version. Near release the maximum player count was raised to 50. The PC version of the game will support 64 players online. Near release it was confirmed that the game will not support cross-platform play, but the developers have stated that they are considering eventually moving the franchise towards becoming a Live Anywhere title.

Unit Classes

There are six unit classes in total, and four different roles. The six classes are Anti-Vehicle, Assault, Heavy Assault, Sniper, Special Operations, and Close Combat classes.

Anti-Vehicle

Designed to combat enemy armor, the Anti-Vehicle class is armed with anti-tank landmines capable of dealing large damage to enemy armor. The Anti-Vehicle class also utilizes a heat seeking rocket launcher that allows him to track the target, lock on, and select the rocket’s trajectory before firing. These missiles can be blocked by vehicles by deploying thermal flares.

Assault

The Assault classes comes equipped with a standard Assault Rifle, as well as a grenade launcher that allows him to deal with lightly armored threats.

Heavy Assault

The Heavy Assault class trades mobility and accuracy for firepower. Their heavy assault rifle is capable of firing a constant stream of bullets, helping suppress enemy soldiers. By using the crouch or prone position, the Heavy Assault soldier can become more accurate at the cost of mobility.

Sniper

Utilizing a sniper rifle, the sniper can locate and eliminate enemy infantry at long range. However, the class is weak at short distances or against large numbers of infantry, or armored vehicles.

Special Operations

Armed with a scoped Sub-Machine Gun, the Spec Ops class is designed for both short and medium ranged combat. Spec Ops can also use their C4 to destroy armored vehicles. In the single-player campaign, the C4 can also be utilized to destroy cover and some barricades.

Close Combat

Carrying a combat shotgun, the Close Combat class specializes in close combat against small crowds.

Roles

The roles are as follows: Ground Support, EMP Tech, Drone Tech, and Air Support. Ground Support focuses on in its first stage is passive, repairing vehicles, but the next two stages allow powerful weapon emplacements to be put in place. EMP, or countermeasures Tech is a somewhat passive, but essential role, with the ability to disable vehicles and communications. Drone Tech has the ability to use remote controlled drones for reconnaissance and fighting. Air Support mostly consists of the ability to call in airstrikes. The roles are upgradeable three times. Depending on the role, each upgrade gives the player access to better equipment or new abilities such as Radar Absorption.

Each of these classes allow three different uses. They vary depending on the player's faction.

Ground Support

The Ground Support subclass has a repair torch that allows you to fix any vehicle, turret, or drone. In some cases only the ground support class can take objectives back because of his ability to repair structures. Depending on which faction you play as in multiplayer you can acquire different turrets as you rank up in your class. Western Coalition has the grenade launcher which is effective at taking out groups of infantry. Red Star Alliance has the mini-gun which is effective against light armor and infantry. High ranking Ground Support allows for the rail gun (WC) and an automated turret (RS). The rail gun is effective against all vehicles with the exception of fighter jets. The automated turret can be placed in strategic locations for defense, firing rockets and a machine gun.

EMP Tech

The EMP tech Role starts out with "mini-map stealth". It allows one to walk past a UAV Drone without showing up on the enemy radar. Mid role EMP techs are granted a lighting rod that disables any electronic device in its radius. It also removes any threat of air-strikes in the vicinity. High ranking EMP Techs have a prototype EMP Rocket launcher, which releases an EMP rocket on impact instead of exploding. It doesn't affect infantry unless they're in a vehicle.

Drone Tech

Drone Techs use a wide variety of drones. They start out with UAVs that highlight any enemy in the vicinity (with the exception of the EMP Tech Class). Mid-ranked Drone Techs have access to two different types of drones. The C4 drone is available to the Red Star Alliance and uses a RC car to deliver its ordinance. It is powerful enough to take out any armored vehicle. Western Coalition uses a drone outfitted with a mini-gun. While it has the edge in firepower, it is also slow and useless against armored vehicles. High ranking Red Star Drone techs use a Tiger Claw Attack Drone which is outfitted with mini rockets. The Western Coalition uses a mortar drone which uses four mortars.

Air Support

The Western Coalition Air Support role has a precision bombing which will destroy anything in one hit. These bombs are easily dodged, though, so they work best when they target a checkpoint or objective. The second level can use a cluster bomb that is very efficient at taking out men and clearing objective points. The third level can use a gunship that flies above a designated area and kills any enemy in that location.

Red Star Alliance Air Support subclass has the same precision bomb but instead of a cluster bomb they receive a carpet bomb instead, which can easily clear an enemy battle line. Their third level is a fuel air bomb that will kill anyone in a wide area.

Downloadable Content

As well as Gamer Pictures and 3 Frontlines Themes for the Xbox 360 dashboard, along with various gameplay videos from the developers, a new game mode has recently been released for download. Called 'Conquer' it allows the game to be played in a similar way to that of Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, in that instead of trying to push the Frontline forward, all spawn points are available for capture by both teams. To win, one team must capture all points on the map, and eliminate the other team members to claim the win. It is free to download.

Maps

Frontlines shipped with a total of eight multiplayer maps. These maps range in size and location from a small city block to a solar array over in size.. Kaos Studios stated they were looking into releasing extra maps in the future as downloadable content.

This began with the brand new map: "Boneyard". The map was released as a free download on Xbox 360's Marketplace. The map not only offered another well-sized map, but more Weapons and Vehicles. This included: an all-new Automatic Shotgun, a Carrier Helicopter for the Red Star Alliance and a "Rocket Jeep".

In addition, the downloadable content clearly stated that this new Map was the first of Five to be released.

The other Four Maps are named "Sunder", "Wide Awake", "Hind Sight" and "Infiltration". On Sep. 19th, Kaos released these maps on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 800MSP (Microsoft Points).

Dedicated Servers

The game features dedicated servers similar to Battlefield 2: Modern Combat as well as client-side hosting found in the majority of Live-enabled Xbox 360 games. This is done in order to support the 50 player limit, which is unprecedented on the console. Client-side hosting will still be available, but will only support a 16 player maximum.

Retail bonuses

Collector's Edition

A Collector's Edition of the game was released in the UK, Australia, Denmark and New Zealand. The Xbox 360 Collector's Edition contained a t-shirt, an Art of Frontlines book, a poster, and a bonus disk containing the game sound, behind the scenes videos, and more. The PC Collector's Edition contained an official strategy guide, Stray Dogs insignia patch, a deck of Frontlines playing cards, an Art of Frontlines book, a poster, and a collectors tin. This edition was never released in North America. In Denmark the PC Collector's Edition contained A "Stray Dogs" t-shirt, art book, CD with the soundtrack and a 60X42cm poster and sold as a Special Edition instead of Collector's Edition.

GameStop & Best Buy

Players who ordered Frontlines: Fuel of War from GameStop or Best Buy were given a special code which gave access to one of two Challenge Maps. This code has since been distributed on the Internet.

Circuit City

Players who purchased Frontlines: Fuel of War from Circuit City received a copy of the Frontlines: Fuel of War soundtrack.

Amazon.com

Players who ordered Frontlines from online retailer Amazon.com were given a limited edition Collector's Tin.

Alternate Reality Game

THQ announced the launch of an alternate reality game (ARG) for Frontlines: Fuel of War in order to promote the game via the website http://www.exeoinc.com. Visitors are challenged to unearth the mystery surrounding Exeo Incorporated by finding ten passwords scattered across the net. Users who find all 10 passwords are eligible to win a grand prize, including fighter pilot training, and a complimentary copy of the game. The contest is now closed.

Reception

References



See also



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