American Fugitive is an ambitious title, one bringing years of experience together into one single game and its goal? To tell a tale about revenge, justice, and vindication. However, now we have to wonder, can it go the distance?
+A riveting story with unexpected twist and turns
+Superb audiovisual designs
+Building exploration is surprisingly fun
+Controls are easy to learn and enjoy
-AI is too responsive to small things such as accidentally hitting a fence or being spotted
-Aiming feels a bit off and a little too responsive.
Have you ever had a day where you really wanted to go back and visit games of yesteryear? What about games such as Grand Theft Auto, a series renowned for its roots as top-down action-adventure titles? Well, that’s where American Fugitive comes into play.
It seems that Fallen Tree Games, the Nottingham-based studio and publisher Curve Digital seem to know that fans crave these kinds of games. The devs, however, aren’t just a team of rookie developers by any means necessary. They come forth with some serious AAA backgrounds including titles such as Crytek’s Crysis and TimeSplitters franchises.
Their latest title isn’t just some game to scoff at. It’s a game that combines their prestige and brings it up to an entirely new level where exploration, awareness, and narrative are of the utmost importance.
American Fugitive pays homage to games such as Grand Theft Auto
Much like games of its type, American Fugitive is no stranger into delving into the idea of on-foot exploration, drivable vehicles, and a story about redemption and revenge. But you might be wondering, how does one such game find itself as a spiritual successor to the classic Grand Theft Auto titles.
Much of it comes from the core gameplay experience, one where your top-down experience is delivered at all times in isometric view. Your exploring buildings, however, is more of a tactical experience placed before you in small grids that you will explore. Here, you have a chance to do several things: Explore a building, find new items, or even rob the place blind.
The story itself is as simple as one might expect from the very start: You’re framed for murder, your job is to uncover who has framed you for the murder of your father and the police are about as dirty as you can expect. Except, I have to say, don’t fret. You’ll eventually find yourself on a destructive path of chaos, one where you’ll break into houses with bricks, steal cop cars, crush them, and even have shoot outs with the local police.
To progress the story, you’ll need to work with your pal Dwayne, he’ll send you off on a few random errands alongside Ana, a thief with a conscience, and she will aid you in driving your story forward and helping you uncover the truth behind your characters fathers murder. For those of you wondering: It works really well.
While the story behind American Fugitive is astonishing, the gameplay is even better.
When you aren’t running from point A to point B and then meeting up with your NPC pals, you will find yourself needing to head over to a random house or shop, which will allow you to obtain items you might need ranging from a few goodies such as ammo, clothes, or even – well – vehicles.
The gameplay itself is very-much a twin-stick shooter experience where you’ll find that while the left thumbstick will move you about, the right thumbstick will help you face what direction you are to go or even what direction you are to aim in when attacking. Outside of combat, you will find that much of your gameplay is hoofing around, robbing houses if you choose to live the life as a petty thief.
If you do this, you will find that you can break into a house using a stick, a brick, or even a crowbar if you have one. There, as previously stated, you’ll move room to room in an RPG fashion, allowing you to pillage all the goods you need before you leave the house. However, this is where things get interesting when you aren’t stealing keys, pillaging items or going through your inventory.
You will find that it’s not always as easy as it sounds. You will encounter NPCs that may or may not report you to the police, alerting them to your whereabouts as well as what you are wearing. Of course, if someone is going home, you can always encounter them at the door, knock them out, take their keys, and then begin robbing the place blind.
When you encounter someone as you rummage through a house, you’ll be faced with the choice of running away yourself or confronting them. Depending on what weapons you have, you’ll be told what your chances of success are. Shotguns good, baseball bats not so much. There’s still the chance you can be overpowered by the occupant all the same. If you have sufficient time remaining, you can let them go if you wish.
Once you’ve robbed the place or persons blind, you can, of course, head to the local pawnbroker, hawk the stuff, and up your funds just a little bit more than before. You will get perks that can help with this, but don’t be scared to search around, take a few side jobs (robberies) in order to get what you need.
American Fugitive does ship with quite a bit of content
Now, when it comes to content, there’s no denying that American Fugitive comes with quite a bit of it at its disposal. Let alone do you have Trials, petty thefts, and plenty of running around to do, there’s even a brand-new content drop that just landed called the State of Emergency DLC, which well, lets you get some new military vehicles to use, a new star rating, 10 new challenges to enjoy, and even a set of new trophies for those of you who trophy farm.
Oh, there’s also plenty of weapons to obtain too including a bazooka and a mini-gun, all of which let you do some really devastating blows to your pursuers. It’s really a crazy set of events that will unfold and there’s really no way NOT to enjoy what is going down, but it does come at a cost: You’ll be wanted and quite often if you use them too much. Well, who wouldn’t want it anyways if you can drive around in a tank?
That aside, the game is fairly straight forward, often pushing into doing what story content you can do before moving on. While it seems abysmal, it does offer a unique and rather fun experience, it can grow stale after a while since you will be running around doing the same thing over and over rather often.
But let me make this clear, while this game is getting moderate appraise, we do need to talk about the small hiccups this game does encounter from time to time.
All that shines is not gold
When it comes to any game or any media to enjoy, there’s nothing that can come out unscathed and without its very own troubles. That’s where American Fugitive does find itself from time to time and it all boils down to what the game has to offer. When it comes to minor bugs, some minor issues that derail the overall experience, it’s the inconsistency in how the games most basic functions actually work.
Another issue comes into the place of how American Fugitive and its AI reacts when you are driving around and accidentally trigger the law enforcement. All it can take is a broken fence, accidentally bumping another car or simply bumping into a cop and looking at them slightly wrong.
Aside from small bugs and minor irritations, there have been bugs where missions can be incapable of being finished if you get bumped or scraped when least expected. It’s troubling and quite irritating when you have to start over due to that. There is also the issue with hit detection.
Audiovisually, American Fugitive is actually a well-rounded game
When it comes to audio and visual designs, American Fugitive is actually quite the looker and listener. Its designs are some of the best cel-shaded titles out there and there’s no shame in admitting it. You can tell where a lot of love went into the game ensuring that any and all designs matched up to what the designers had in mind.
It’s an experience that delivers quite a unique one, drawing upon some of the unique designs that make comic-book stylized games stand out rather well. Heck, even the classic Grand Theft Auto approach works rather well and does a great job delivering that exact kind of experience at extremely smooth framerates and gameplay elements.
The team at Fallen Tree Games Limited did a rather good job and ensured that players get the experience that they wanted. It’s definitely one that you won’t forget as you give it a chance.
At the end of the day, Fallen Tree Games Limited delivers a unique experience, one that feels and plays like an honorable throwback to games like Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto II. The only drawback is the fact that American Fugitive has the same issues as some modern games do. The AI is too responsive, small giveaways will screw you over and you are pretty much forced to rob houses and commit petty crimes in order to get the gear you need.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: Fallen Tree Games Limited
Publisher: Curve Digital
Release Date: Available Now
If you don’t mind a few minor irritants, pretty solid gameplay experience and a story that feels like an homage to both Grand Theft Auto and the Harrison Ford led movie The Fugitive, then you’ll be right at home with American Fugitive.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game for review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.