American Fugitive Review

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Title: American Fugitive
Developer: Fallen Tree Games
Publisher: Curve Digital
Website: https://fallentreegames.wordpress.com/
Genre: Action, Adventure, Racing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: 16+ Violence, Language
Release Date: Out Now – 23/05/19
Price: £17.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

What the Developers say

American Fugitive is a modern take on classic sandbox action offering a new 3D top-down open-world single-player experience. 
Welcome to Redrock County, a sleepy American town with a booming criminal underbelly.

You take the role of Will Riley. No angel for sure – but not a killer. Yet the cold-blooded murder of your dad is the crime they locked you up for. Fuelled by grief and a burning desire for vengeance, you’ll bust out of jail intent on finding the real culprit.

Once outside, you’ll need to blend with the townsfolk to avoid recapture. Establish contact with the criminal underworld and stay one step ahead of the police dragnet.

Set in the deep south of the 1980s, American Fugitive is a love-letter to the classic movies and games of old.

It’s a race against time, and JUSTICE AIN’T ALWAYS LEGAL.
KEY FEATURES:

⯈ A MODERN TAKE ON CLASSIC SANDBOX ACTION – Rediscover the joy of top-down carnage with stunning 3D graphics and destructible environments, dramatic storytelling and epic car-chase mayhem.

⯈ A MATURE GAME BASED ON AN ORIGINAL STORY – Unravel a plot of mystery, deception and corruption, full of twists and turns, inhabited by a motley cast of law-breakers and law-enforcers.

⯈ A MASSIVE OPEN-WORLD ENVIRONMENT – Explore Redrock County on foot on by car – a beautiful and vibrant slice of 80s rural USA. 

⯈ CHOOSE THE LIFE OF A FELON – Rob houses, steal cars, arm yourself to the teeth. Just don’t get caught!

⯈ PUT THE PEDAL TO THE METAL: test yourself against time trial challenges and stunt jumps dotted throughout the world, using any of the numerous vehicles.

⯈ A WEALTH OF ACTIVITIES – Whether you’re undertaking jobs for the criminal underworld, uncovering hidden stashes, looting houses, sticking up stores, or fencing fine art, remain vigilant. The crooked cops will stop at nothing to see you back behind bars!

https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/American-Fugitive-1557415.html

Introduction

Will Riley (the game’s main protagonist) has been caught standing over the body of his recently murdered father. Innocent of the crime of patricide, Will, unfortunately, ends up on the guilty side and gets some hard time. Taking inspiration from an excellent TV series about prison breaking (cough), Will takes a sharp exit out of a window in the medical bay and escapes from his recent incarceration.

American Fugitive places Will under your control as you drive and sprint across Redrock County seeking justice for your father’s murder. Developed by Fallen Tree Games, American Fugitive is an open world game that draws players seeking that 1980’s nostalgic feel as they journey through America’s Deep South. The game has clearly taken inspiration from the classic GTA game, from the high angle perspective to the wanted stars, there are many throwbacks to Rockstar’s original. Available on Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC, American Fugitive is a game that has many surprising (and some not so surprising) features.

Audio & Visual

In terms of visuals, Fallen Tree Games opted to use cell shading, similar to games such as Borderlands, for the textures in American Fugitive and this art style lends itself well to this particular genre. Explosions, skids and weather effects are pretty and well textured throughout the game. Vehicles, houses and characters are well designed, but it’s the small details that bring this game alive. Exploding oil pumps, vehicles and the clutter that flies across the road as you ram into it at full speed, all add to the visuals in a pleasant combination that is not too overwhelming even while playing portable on the Switch. When starting this game and while playing throughout, I was pleased with the colour saturation which made the colours really ‘pop’ out due to the cartoonish art, yet I know this is not for everyone.

The audio is one of this game’s weakest areas. The sound effects of guns, vehicles and weather all seem to be in order yet the game’s soundtrack, while sometimes appropriate in style, doesn’t have much variation. Given the games, many charms, the lack of the soundtrack can be overlooked and mostly it did not deter my attempts at fighting the law or breaking into people’s houses. The choice of the developers to use a text-based dialogue between Will and the various, nefarious characters he meets is a bold move yet I can see why this choice was taken, and it does not detract from the game’s content or story. What did start to slow the pace of play were the long interactions between forgettable characters that often meant I was skipping dialogue to get back into the action of car chases and shoot outs. Although the audio is not a strong point in the game, American Fugitive more than makes up for it when it comes to the gameplay.

Gameplay & Replayability

Tagged as an action/adventure game, American Fugitive is a gritty, crime game that has a dark sense of humour. The controls are simple to master, even with minimal explanation, and allow the player to get stuck straight into the story. Without much guidance, although I found not much was needed, you are given freedom to do as you please once the prologue has ended. After a few missions, I found that the death of Will’s father and finding the person responsible was not as interesting as committing more crimes. It would seem that Will agrees with me because as the game progresses the story takes a somewhat meandering route to finding his father’s killer, and by this time, Will deserves the electric chair multiple times over as his crimes start to mount up.

Breaking into houses (the staple quest in this game) uses a clever system of peeking into the window, breaking the glass and then climbing in, after which, the player navigates Will around a floor plan of the house looking for items to steal. While looting everything in sight, including the occasional mop head, a counter displays how long you have until the police arrive. The game offers multiple ways of approaching these scenarios, my favourite is to knock the owner out and steal his keys, and this is where American Fugitive shines.

A big factor in the crime genre is how the game holds up when the lead flies and the rubber burns. Driving and shooting in American Fugitive is entertaining and kept me entertained for many hours. Shootouts can feel a little awkward as you have to equip your weapon from the inventory and then use the D-pad to aim and fire. Fortunately, the developers included a laser sight feature that allows you to pinpoint your shot before pulling the trigger, unfortunately, as you escape from the law the laser sight is not always obvious, and this means that escaping is more of a prudent decision then holding your ground guns blazing. Driving is by far the most entertaining and rewarding part of the gameplay, hijacking or breaking into a car is surprisingly easy, and the range of differences in each of the vehicles is noticeable.

In terms of replayability, the game’s story does not compel me to come back to replay it over and over but the thrill of causing maximum destruction before engaging in a massive shoot out and going down in a blaze of glory most definitely keeps me playing. It is truly a strength of American Fugitive that despite many small imperfections the gameplay will keep you coming back for more.

Conclusion

American Fugitive is not the longest, nor the most in-depth game of this genre, yet it builds upon its strengths and keeps you entertained. I particularly liked the open world and art style of the game and was pleasantly surprised with some of the detail the developers went to with the games features such as the range of loot and unique vehicle handling. Even though there are areas the game does not do well in, such as being able to lose the police far too quickly, it allows the player to prolong the pursuits and therefore does little to stop me playing more. While the game does have its limits, I have managed to sink many hours into it and would happily pick it up again in the future to continue my crime spree in Redrock County.

Rapid Reviews UK Rating

You can purchase American Fugitive on the Nintendo eShop at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/American-Fugitive-1557415.html

You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.

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