When you look at the box for Fuel you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the Xbox 360’s answer to Motorstorm. However, instead of providing crazy off-road racing with a whole heap of different vehicles racing at once, this game’s all about a variety of races and challenges set over an open world which boasts 5,000 square miles of satellite-mapped terrain.
Set in a near future where everyone is now living in I guess houses with solar panels, riding bikes to work and being a lot greener, you’re one of the petrol heads who are still burning petrol and diesel in order to race round barren landscapes and earn more fuel in the process.
There are standard races where you must hit checkpoints, missions where you must catch up and tag a car in the lead by taking shortcuts before the time runs out and even challenges where you must race against a helicopter which is travelling from A to B as the crow flies. You won’t be penalised for taking shortcuts off road in this game – sometimes the risk pays off, but equally you could end up hitting a rock in the middle of nowhere or landing in deep water and restarting behind the rest of the pack.
There are dozens of vehicles to buy and ride in, including buggies, jeeps, bikes, quad bikes etc and specific vehicles are chosen for you for each event. You’re free to explore the game world to find new challenges, races and livery to make your cars look nicer but to be honest, these are a bit too spaced out and it’s a bit of a chore driving about to find them. Luckily, you can also opt to go straight into races from the menu which is what I did the majority of the time.
The game looks great and there’s lots of variety, it’s just a pity the AI you race against wasn’t more balanced. Sometimes they stick rigidly to the course while you take shortcuts to win races by miles, other times they seem to own the road whilst you skid and slide all over the place. There’s also not that much sense of speed even when you’re going hell for leather.
When it all comes out in the wash, Fuel ends up being standard unleaded as opposed to high-octane rocket fuel. If you’re REALLY into racing games then you may wish to check it out. For everyone else, there are better games out there. Fuel gets an average 5 out of 10.
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