THQ closed down Kaos Studios in 2011 following the mixed response to their newest title, Homefront. Prior to this, Kaos Studios was Trauma Studios, the developer of Desert Combat, a mod of DICE’s Battlefield 1942. In 2004, DICE actually obtained Trauma to help with Battlefield 2, but shut it down a year later. THQ hired the team, creating Kaos Studios. Their first project was 2008′s futuristic FPS Frontlines: Fuel of War. In a distant future, the Western Coalition (USA and the EU) must fight the Red Star Alliance (China and Russia) over control of the world’s dwindling fuel reserves. It’s pretty straightforward.
The game controls like a hybrid between the Call of Duty and Battlefield games. The player can access various unmanned drones and drive futuristic vehicles around the battlefield. The drones also spot and mark targets through walls, allowing the player to devise new combat strategies. The setting and weapons, while futuristic, maintain a degree of realism, very much like the gadgets that appear in more current games like Black Ops 2.
The single player campaign lacks any surprises with a paper-thin story. The game lazily paints the enemies and allies in a blatantly black and white light. The only non-soldier main character, a journalist, reinforces this mentality by repeatedly proclaiming the Red Star Alliance’s evil intentions and the Western Coalition as a benevolent cause. With a 4 hour campaign, the developers obviously focused the most on the multiplayer experience. Unfortunately, multiplayer mode is no longer available, making the dismal single player experience stand out even further.
While Frontlines: Fuel of War aims to be a top-tier modern shooter, it ultimately comes off as generic. It’s difficult to not compare the game to its spiritual successor, Homefront, since the latter essentially rehashed Frontlines’s plot and game mechanics with a preference for demonizing the game’s enemies and trumpeting the protagonists’ pure motives. However, by fixing some of its predecessor’s issues, Kaos Studios managed to make Homefront stand out as a competitor to EA and Activision’s flagship franchises. Otherwise, despite helping to lay the foundations for Homefront, Frontlines: Fuel of War is fairly forgettable.