AMERICAN FUGITIVE
Give him the shiv.


REVIEW
By JAY TEE
03/06/19

Navigating menus is fiddly, but driving / aiming works very well. The combat lacks depth, but there’s a lot to see and do in the world.

I absolutely love the soundtrack, and the weapon sound effects are great. The lack of voice acting is a huge shame.    

Once you get through the opening hour, things really kick into gear, and the learning curve takes a leap.

The visual design is by far the standout feature here. Character models and environments are heavily stylised, and it works.

THE LAST WORD

American Fugitive is a solid action shooter, with excellent driving mechanics and a stylish aesthetic.

THE FINAL SCORE

3/5

REVIEW POLICY

We use a simple “out of 5” rating criteria for all reviews.

3 out of 5 is GOOD.

Something with this rating is absolutely worth checking out, but it’s flawed with a couple of mis-steps.

*Reviewed on PC, with a copy provided by Curve Digital*


The INTER ACTABLE badge is for a game with lots of things in the game that can be interacted with, within the game.

The SLICK RICK badge is earned when the soundtrack, effects, and / or overall audio design is fantastic across the board.

The SKYPE RINGTONE badge is for a game with a catchy soundtrack that you can’t help but love.

The SARU’S GANGLIA badge is for a game that does a great job of visually immersing you in its world.

The DISNEY PIXAR badge is for a game with a unique and / or interesting graphical style.

The SMALL FRY badge is for a title from a smaller development team that is absolutely worth your time and should not be ignored.

The PUMPKIN LOOK badge is for a game where the art style, graphics, and/or presentation are on top form.

IS IT FUN?

*Yes, but patience is a virtue*

The opening hour is quite slow, allowing the story to build and set the stage for when things eventually open up. The lack of combat, and drip feed of gameplay mechanics, may be off putting to some players expecting to be able to dive headfirst into a gun fight. However, the added context to your actions does make it easier to understand where things are going. Personally speaking, I’m glad developer Fallen Tree Games took the time to let the narrative breathe and introduce things gradually. Once you do get behind the wheel, the different handling states and environmental destruction make driving a blast, and also quite challenging. Prepare to run yourself off the road and hit plenty of trees! Melee combat is functional at best, and doesn’t have the necessary heft to feel satisfying. However, the twin stick gunplay controls work a treat.

American Fugitive is an instantly likeable slice of top down GTA style action. The chosen perspective lends itself well to the action, combining solid gunplay with excellent driving mechanics. There is also a surprising amount of environmental destructibility, with all manner of object deformation and realistic physics. Graphically speaking, the stylised look (a cross between XIII and Cel Damage) won’t be to everyone’s liking, but it definitely falls in line with the graphic novel style character boxes. Fully voiced dialogue is sadly not included, with simple animated text in its place, but thankfully the soundtrack redeems the audio design. Part Country Rock, part Sons of Anarchy, the music is perfectly suited to the experience, and is definitely a highlight. Story wise, things are kept pretty simple, with various characters serving as quest givers for you to track down the folks that framed you.  

MEMORABLE MOMENTS?

*Yes, and often when things go wrong*

Enraging the cops is often unintentionally hilarious. Most of the fuzz have stormtrooper aim, so if you get into an extended firefight, you’ll invariably cause all manner of unplanned chaos. Upon stealing a getaway vehicle, the police began to chase me. The car was damaged and ready to blow, so I pulled over near a gas station and started making my escape on foot. My pursuers were so pumped to take me down, they charged straight into the petrol tanks, causing a chain reaction that eliminated their entire squad. I was left to vault over a nearby fence and make my escape. This is just one example of an unscripted moment that left me smiling. There’s plenty to see and do, with optional side quests like point to point racing designed to mix up your routine. You’ll more often than not find yourself in a tricky spot, but thankfully, there’s enough flexibility in the combat to give you a way out.  

This is the only part of the game that isn’t fun. At all.

ANNOYING STUFF?

*Yes, but nothing game breaking.*  

The inventory management is a bit fiddly, which speaks more to the UI design than anything else. You’ll never be short of loot to scavenge, but selecting what you want (particularly when using a console controller) isn’t that smooth. One thing that really grates is the movement speed penalty whenever you’re walking through bushes. I suppose it’s realistic in a sense, but when you can dispatch whole squadrons of cops with relative ease, it seems at odds with your other skills. The biggest irritation is the building search mechanic. You have to systematically check each room using a menu system; this doesn’t happen with your direct control of the character itself. It feels clumsy, and totally kills the pace of an otherwise well balanced game. As mentioned above, these things are hardly game breaking, but they were enough to produce an eye roll or three.

NEXT STEPS?

*A fleshed out sequel with more meat on the bone.*

I think American Fugitive, as a standalone effort, feels reasonably complete. There are definitely parts that could use some polish, but for the most part, it achieves what it set out to do. Going forward, I’d love to see Curve Digital revisit the IP with expanded production values. Animated cutscenes and voice acting would be a great fit. They’ve already nailed the visual aesthetic, so this isn’t an unrealistic expectation. They’ve clearly put a great deal of work into the art style of the characters. The biggest omission is campaign co-op. I don’t think any kind of competitive multiplayer would work, but some kind of two player mode could work brilliantly. If they’re looking for ways to flesh out the supporting cast, I’d love to see a fully integrated player controlled partner introduced into the narrative.  

THE BASICS - Top down action game, with looting, combat, and driving mechanics.

PLATFORMS - XB1, PS4, NS and PC

MAX PLAYERS - Offline - 1, Online - 0

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - None.  

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - None announced.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our reviews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.

Shooting feels good. An important element in a shooter.

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