American Fugitive was released exactly one year ago. Since that it got an official update known as State of Emergency, which added new types of vehicles, ammo and weapons as well as new side quests. Unfortunately, majority of gaming sites skipped this re-release of the product. As the result, reviews written one year ago don’t reflect the current condition of the product. Later patches actually made the game more convenient to play – mini-map and some other features made it easier to complete.
Let’s start from the very beginning. American Fugitive tells a story of a prisoner who ran away from a prison after being sentenced for a crime, which he did not commit. Seeking revenge, he will find these, who framed him and will make them pay … the price, which solely depends on actions of a player.
The storyline sounds intriguing, but it’s actually boring and dull. This does not mean that the game is dull by itself but the story could be much better than it’s currently at the moment. The main character is a thug, who does not deserve sympathy committing crimes and doing illegal actions in the search of truth. If the story told us a path of a mobster like in Reservoir Dogs video game, it could be more suitable but this time it just causes negative emotions, because you feel that the main character does not deserve justice after the things that he did in the game.
The ending depends on the actions of a player, but these who will choose non-violent approach will be rewarded. It’s actually possible to play the game sparing NPC’s lives – for that you can use baseball bat, crowbar or even a shovel. Using these items you can knock down enemies, leaving them alive, so American Fugitive is one of these game, where it’s possible to be good and practice non-lethal approach in the same way as you did in Deus Ex using pepper gas spray and tranquilizer darts. In fact, you don’t need to use here ranged weapons at all – the game is all about driving, stealing and you’ll have to do a lot of it in order to complete the game.
Many players complained about repetitiveness of the missions and it’s very easy to understand them: American Fugitive has a lot of missions in the spirit of “deliver this”, “drive there”, “bring this”, “steal this” – it’s all about it.
The process of stealing cars in this game was made very comfortable for the players – you don’t need to learn schemes as in Mafia video game or play mini-games. Instead, the main character uses an item to open the door. If this is witnessed by citizens, they will call the police. If this is seen by a patrol officer, they will chase the main character immediately. If you leave your car during the chase while you have wanted level, the police will keep pursuing you and the only way to “lose a tail” is to change clothes or hide in certain buildings.
The main character can also hide himself in bushes and you can improve his chances to stay unnoticed by investing progress points in the skill map, where you can improve characteristics of the character. You can earn points by completing missions, finding stashes, selling pictures and completing side quests – there are enough of them to fully develop your character.
The game offers wide combat system, pursuit on cars, search for secret locations, dialogs with options, which actually don’t much matter. The ending, however, fully depends on your choices – you can have the good one or the bad one (spoiler: just don’t be violent).
Some missions are frustrating, some are dull and boring, some are very hard to complete. The biggest downside of the side missions is that they don’t remove NPC’s cars – as a result, it’s not so easy to complete them.
The biggest disadvantage of the product is riding the fast cars – they barely controllable and often skid and sometimes – attention! – do a barrel roll. Because of this, using very fast cars may be very inconvenient, even the police cars skid during the chase and sometimes drive off the road. Certainly, this is not such a big issue and it adds a lot of fun, but for the game of this kind where you spend 60 % of playtime on wheels this is still disadvantage.
Speaking of playtime, you can complete the game and some side quests in 15-20 hours; it may take 22-25 hours as well, depending on the number of attempts and tries. You certainly need more time to find all secrets in the game and visit all locations – it will take another 10 hours for that.
It’s very hard to criticize the product, but it’s just unimpressive. In free-roam mode it’s a solid 8 out of 10, but in a campaign mode it’s just 5 out of 10. As it was said, missions are boring and the storyline makes you to dislike the main character even more – there are no good people in this game and as one of the characters said, the main character is no better than other thugs there are.
To be honest, by all definitions it’s “above average product”. Made with diligence, passion and love and it’s seen – but it’s still unimpressive. Developers put a lot of efforts into it, but it still loses competition to Saints Row III or IV, Grand Theft Auto V (released almost seven years ago) and many other products of this type. It’s good for a couple of evenings, and you’ll have some joy from it, that’s for sure, but still the game could be much better if main missions were more interesting to play.
American Fugitive is not bad at all. If you play it little by little, you’ll find it enjoyable and very interesting to play. However, if you play it for four-five hours in a day without break, you’ll definitely be disappointed by monotonous nature of this product. The game does not have any serious disadvantages, it just does not leave strong feelings and impressions – it is not interesting enough for that. The product could be much better, so if you’re going to play it, alternate side missions and the main ones for better perception of the game. Developers deserve the praise but the competition on the market is that high that they need to improve the quality of their products to correspond to the trends on the market. Otherwise, some players will be disappointed once again.