REVIEW – It is a top-view (isometric) GTA-clonelike, which is mostly pulled down to an average level by repetitive missions, as well as a few gameplay elements. That’s how I can describe American Fugitive, which seems to have wanted to achieve so much but fail to do so.
I do have to say that Fallen Tree Games‘ first game – in comparison to their view – isn’t outright garbage, and you can feel that the developers have previously worked on several major IPs (from the announcement, I recall Crysis and TimeSplitters…). For their first game, it is a respectable effort, but they’ll need more for their next try, but let’s see why.
The story is typical: we find our father as dead, while a car leaves the location. The police come in, they blame us for the murder, we get dumped into jail, and we get out from there (and not in a legal way) to get some revenge done. American Fugitive absolutely has that southern, „redneck” style from the United States with most of its characters, and the location shows it as well. On the location where we will steal a lot, and while the isometric 3D view might be a little annoying at first, it won’t be after a while, as you’ll get used to breaking the windows without people nearby (you have to analyse the situation properly – yes, it is part of the gameplay…), but you’ll have to act and rob fast, as the police will show up in no time, which wouldn’t be a positive effect on our hero (?) called Will Riley.
I could have described the game much shorter if I just said that it reminds me of the first two Grand Theft Auto games, but two other islands will open later on. (Perhaps I should say Chinatown Wars, too?) You can still repaint your vehicles (which you can steal, too) to have our wanted level lowered, you can change your clothes to not be recognized on the streets, you can find and use ramps, there are time trial races (complete with three time limits for different monetary rewards), and I think you can also steal twenty paintings, too. On paper, this probably sounds good, but issues arise from now on: the whole game falls apart on how the missions are repetitive and not so well thought out. You’ll see many times that you have to get to location X to kill character Y – at this point, you can probably notice that the game didn’t have a large budget as if it was an actual Grand Theft Auto spinoff (which we haven’t received for a long time, now to think of it…).
Luckily, there’s a welcome addition to American Fugitive‘s gameplay: as you progress, you will gain experience points to upgrade your skills on a skill tree. For example, if you prefer a much more tanky approach, then you can improve Will’s health bar to be able to take more hits than you normally could. It can offer some variety in how you approach the missions, but it won’t give you replayability, though. Still, it’s a marvellous idea, and I also have to say that the driving physics and the weather system deserve a positive mention.
But you might ask here if you are still reading my ramblings: why on Earth is this game not getting a 7 out of 10? If you play on a Nintendo Switch, prepare for an extremely terrible frame rate. (Because of which you should take my score on that platform 10% lower.) The others can get weak artificial intelligence – in this game, you will often see that your enemies will try to walk across walls to get to you, running into walls in the process, making them look slightly hilarious in the game. They don’t mind that if the truck that I’m hiding behind explodes after shooting it a few hundred times. Oh, if you die, you’ll find your inventory completely empty.
Thanks, game. Once, I accidentally drifted into a police car. Nothing happened. Another time, I just misjudged my braking distance and rammed into a police car in front of me. I get a wanted level. Huh. At least you can get rid of them fairly quickly, but at other points, the game has some ridiculously difficult missions. There’s a lack of balance, which is why the game should have been delayed a bit – American Fugitive lost a point on the 1-10 scale because of the aforementioned issues.
Let’s give this game a 6.5 out of 10. The game has good points (driving, the system of breaking in, the skill tree, but I think the humour is good, too), but I can name more negatives (terrible story, retarded AI, slightly boring and unbalanced missions). You can spend some time with American Fugitive, but I hope we’ll get a better game from Fallen Tree Games the next time. They have the potential to make a better game, I don’t doubt it. And if you want to buy this game on the Nintendo Switch, then don’t do it – the frame rate is bad, and the game also crashes here and there. Have a video of it – what a shame:
So if you like the older Grand Theft Auto games, I can recommend this game, but try to play on a PlayStation 4 or PC. Too bad the developers didn’t put much effort into the story.
+ Good driving physics and weather
+ Humour, and the system behind breaking in
– The story
– The artificial intelligence (and the frame rate on Switch)
– Unexpectedly hard here or there, but in general, boring missions
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: Fallen Tree Games
Genre: isometric GTA cloner
Release date: May 21, 2019