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Feb 2, 2010

FUEL,The Best Off Road Freeride Game For The PS3?

This is a fairly new game for the PS3 that has been out long enough for people to have their own opinions of the game. The game has received less than stellar reviews on places like Gamespot which has made me a bit leery to go out and purchase the game. When we saw the game, brand new, at the store for 20 bucks we finally spent the cash and took a chance. This game has to be one of the best games I've ever bought for $20. I think I may have been a bit disappointed spending $60, but at $20, it's a real bargain! Way better than Motorstorm that seems to have better reviews.

Some of the reviews I've read seem to focus on the bad instead of the good in this game. Gamespot states that the AI racers are not playing by the same rules as you are, sometimes jumping out to a huge lead that can't be reclaimed and/or climbing shortcuts that you can't climb yourself etc. I do have to agree with this from a pure racing standpoint as compared to games like Dirt where seconds count and to win means shaving seconds and accurate driving. They also stated that there was a lack of the "rubber band effect" that is present in many racing games to make it so faster racers don't get too far ahead and just run away with the race. This is also true, although this does not exist in real life either nor does a certain set of rules that says what can and can't be climbed or that the guy next to you can't stick on the road a bit better than you are etc. This is even more true in off-road racing where no vehicle is exactly the same and the terrain is ever changing. Perhaps if you are a "true racer" this game will frustrate you, but if not, or you think there might be more to gain from this game, continue reading.

Even though the machine physics could be improved, this game comes up big where other games of this type have fallen a bit short...FREERIDE! It's too bad they can't combine FUEL's world with MX vs ATV Reflex bikes. This game boasts 5,000 square miles of terrain! Gamespot claims that this is irrelevant because there is little reason to explore it. This is simply not true. The landscape is taken from satellite data and ranges from city streets to redrock canyons, wooded forests, rain, snow, hurricane, day, night, you name it! FUEL also rewards you for freeriding with not only liveries such as new paint schemes for vehicles, vistas etc. but also with "fuel" located in various locations that can be collected and used to be traded for more vehicles. This is especially cool for me since my kids would rather freeride than race, now they can drive around and collect fuel for themselves instead of having to compete in ultra competitive races geared towards older gamers that they can not win. Probably the coolest part of this game is that once an area is unlocked it becomes a part of a much larger world instead of just a world on it's own. You can drive between areas seamlessly or use "helipads" located throughout the world to instantly travel to that location on the map.

This game also has a night feature that many have said is only an annoyance. If ever you've gone off-roading or recreating outdoors, you know that the sun still does go down at night and come up in the morning. Not only is this a fact of being outdoors, but it is often a time where the area is most beautiful with sunsets and sunrises. Perhaps driving around in the dark doesn't appeal to many, but when you are wandering along a high ridge in full moonlight it can be a very peaceful time, as is sitting at camp under the same set of circumstances. There are areas in the game where you are driving under full moonlit skies through forest fires, torrential rain, hurricanes etc., then the sun comes up to reveal a landscape that can only be rivaled by actually being there. Perhaps a feature to instantly go to day mode would be a nice feature on future versions, or shorter nights since it can be frustrating to see where you are going in some areas. If you like to freeride, this game is the best I've played as far as the size of area and freedom to roam. As I said before, games like Reflex do a much better job at having a more pure riding experience with the machine, but I was really disappointed to end up with only 3 worlds in which to freeride that are separate and distinct from each other. The racing on Reflex is AMAZING though...same with Dirt 2.

If your like me and you've been waiting to buy this game, wait no further. It's a bargain and you won't find it much cheaper. I only hope there is a second version with better physics, but we may have to take the trade off until either Reflex catches up on the freeride or FUEL catches up on the physics.


  1. Cool! Is that one of the games you asked me to get you for Christmas? I don't remember.

  2. Yep, one of them. The one you got us is fun too, I just haven't figured out how to win the races consistently yet to unlock all the stuff..the snowmobile has a totally different feel, it's pretty cool!

  3. Glad you like the game I got you. Hope I can be able get a chance to try them all sometime.

  4. is there any off-road rock crawling/4X4 game that you know of? if so, how would you rate it? if not, are there any off road games you would strongly recommend? have you played Monster Jam?

  5. I haven't seen a game dedicated to rock crawling. Fuel does have one vehicle that is a really good rock crawler and you can free ride with it over rocks. It's fun and challenging. As far as a 4x4 game, I think baja edge of control is a great one. It's high speed trophy trucks and buggy's more than slow and controlled, but it's really a great truck/4x4 game in my opinion. Yes I have played monster jam. It's fun, but not in the same league as some other off road games I've mentioned. Monster jam is more directed to younger kids I believe..kind of a fun quick fix, but not much depth or realism.

  6. AnonymousMay 30, 2011

    Tony, have a look at a game called MotorM4X. It's realistic enough to have it's own friction model for the tires, even; something not too many newer games have today. Plenty of trial-type rock crawls, point to point, dirt circuit racing, uphill climbs, etc.

    It's not a hardcore sim, but a very pleasant arcade-sim mix. It lies along the arcade/sim spectrum where GT4 does, minus the long-term engine wear and body torsion.

    All in all, it's pretty cool, but difficult to find legitimately.