Fuel Overdose contains just about everything that would turn you off from a racing game.
In the first twenty minutes that I spent with Fuel Overdose I ran into a major game breaking bug that certainly set the tone for how the next few hours were going to go. In my third race of the game’s first Championship set of races I found myself and all other AI cars frozen on the track. While the game itself remained in motion the cars no longer moved. Naturally I tried restarting that race only to see this. I quit out of everything and even tried starting up another race only to see the same mess on screen with the cars all frozen. Jumping into a story race presented me with this. If I wanted to continue playing the game I would need to delete my save file and start over. Luckily I ran into this bug early. I only lost the progress of two races and about fifteen minutes. I can’t say how often something like this might happen but I’m thankful it didn’t happen near the end of my time with the game.
Fuel Overdose mixes post-apocalyptic car combat, which in a weird sort of way contains a plot similar to the movie Death Race, with fighting game mechanics in that each character has Super and Ultra moves preformed with the right analog stick. Much of the gameplay in fact is based around the idea of building up your meter in order to unleash Super or Ultra attacks onto your opponents. In addition to this your cars are also equipped with machine guns, rockets, mines and a grappling hook. Unfortunately none of these things are ever fun to use. Sometimes the special attacks would simply just not respond or I’d find that they were essentially useless. Rockets can be useful sometimes but only in the moments that the game wasn’t telling me that the target was out of reach (despite the fact that I was just a couple feet away). That proved to be the case with much of the game overall. I saw the ‘out of range’ message countless times throughout the game even in moments where I was very clearly in range of my opponent. The biggest culprit of this being the grappling hook. The grappling hook allows you to grapple onto cars to propel yourself forward or onto corners to swing around turns and boost ahead of other racers. This should have been one of the best parts of the game but it hardly ever works. As mentioned before it’ll sometimes just flat out refuse to do anything when pressing the grapple button or in other cases it’s just too inconsistent to be any fun to use.
Inconsistency felt like a major theme for Fuel Overdose. I never felt like I was truly in control of anything. Whether it was controls proving to be totally unresponsive or the fact that I’d randomly spin out for no apparent reason; I always felt as if anything could go wrong and it wouldn’t be my own fault. It’s a game that features many things that would immediately turn you off of any racing game. Poor handling, rubber banding AI and a pretty choppy framerate being the most notable. All of that said the worst part of the game by far has to be the camera. Throughout the stage the camera will swing all over the place and in some instances even make it incredibly hard to actually see your car due to the fact that the HUD is blocking your view. Not only that but it seems to purposely obscure upcoming obstacles just to make racing that much harder on you.
My time with the game also exposed me to some pretty crazy bugs or just flat out weird moments. Numerous times I found myself being respawned outside of the track only to find myself respawning again and losing way too much time. I also found that in many instances I would respawn on the track and immediately explode for no apparent reason. In other instances my car would just flat out refuse to move for a few moments, once again, for no apparent reason. I did find one particular instance quite amusing however. In one of the final story mode races I had to go up against another character who was driving a semi-truck. This particular stage we were dueling on had an overpass that the AI literally could not pass under because of the size of their truck. I watched as he would back up and try to drive through over and over again without any kind of success. I then sat there and aimed numerous rockets at him until I eventually won.
Outside of the racing itself Fuel Overdose does actually offer a lot of content between Championship, Challenge, and Story modes. Between the four championships in the game you’ll compete in five races for each championship trying to score the most points to win the gold medal. Playing through each championship will be enough to unlock all four variations on the game’s five tracks. Challenge mode asks you to compete in races, time trials, drifting challenges and more across thirty separate challenges. Then story mode, much like fighting games, allows you to choose one of eight characters to take through a short five race story which, after finishing every character, will unlock the full ending. To be completely honest the story mode offers some incredibly cringe worthy dialog and will likely leave you wondering why you even wasted your time with it. Which is too bad because, as mentioned before, there’s a lot of neat ideas in this game but none of them are used to their advantage.
Fuel Overdose also offers online multiplayer but I think it’s safe to say that you won’t be finding anyone to race against. Chris and I played a few races and it seemed about as unremarkable as playing against AI. Apparently the EU release of the game featured some pretty nasty frame rate and while that is still present I have to imagine that it’s not as bad as before.
I didn’t expect Fuel Overdose to be a great game. It has a lot of problems both from the gameplay perspective as well as just how buggy it can be. I don’t think it’s completely terrible but I can honestly say I had any fun with it. Throughout most of the game I was ready for it to completely break over and over again. That didn’t happen. But it doesn’t change the fact that, throughout playing it, I felt as if I was staring at a wobbling Jenga tower just waiting for it to crash.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
What I Dislike: