The much-awaited FAU-G (Fearless and United – Guardians) has finally been released. The game was considered a promising contender to fill the gap of the banned PUBG mobile.
A brief recounting of facts about FAU-G: the game was first announced a day after the ban on PUBG came into force. Following this, the game was endorsed by Akshay Kumar and has been linked with the Atmanirbhar Bharat policy initiated by PM Narendra Modi.
The fact that this game was set to feature the Galwan Valley incident as a playable level added further to the belief that the game was built as a replacement to PUBG. The questions which arise are, FAU-G a replacement for PUBG? Is FAU-G worth playing?
To answer the first question, after finally playing the game, FAU-G is not a replacement for PUBG. Vishal Gondal, co-Founder of nCORE Games, was quoted in the media as saying that they are not trying to copy PUBG.
The game features a unique healing method of sitting next to a fireplace. This feature has a trade-off for usage though. The mission timer counts down at double speed while healing.
The game, as of today, has been only launched as a game with campaign mode in which the player can only play along with the storyline. There is no element of PVP (Player Vs. Player). While the game does have options for a 5V5 mode and a Free for All mode (greyed out), both these game modes are not available to play as of now.
Looking at FAU-G objectively as a game, there are many factors that need to be considered. I will be looking into storyline, graphics, controls, and the monetisation model. The reasoning behind this is the fact that the regular player is unlikely to look at the game beyond these four categories. Storyline is the backbone of any game which features a campaign mode.
This section dictates to a large extent the kind of gamers who would be interested in playing the game. FAU-G has chosen to base its storyline for the initial release on the Galwan Valley incident. The player is put into the shoes of a soldier (Commander Dhillon by default) looking for his subordinates after they are separated in an ambush.
The player is expected to fight their way through wave after wave of enemies in a bid to find and rescue these soldiers who have been captured. At one stage the player is even subjected to the heart-wrenching cutscene of finding the youngest of these missing soldiers, who is tied up after having been put through brutal torture. While attempting to untie and rescue this young soldier, the player is ambushed by a few enemies and in the ensuing struggle the tent goes up in flames and the player is forced to abandon the fellow soldier. This whole cutscene is concluded with the lines from the young martyr who insists that the other soldiers require the assistance more than he does.
However, all these great parts of the storyline are diluted to a great degree by the extremely repetitive lines used outside the cutscenes. Many of these lines are spoken at extremely odd times and hence seem out of place. To state an example, every few enemies I encounter there is one that shouts, “Have you told your family goodbye? ” just as the killing blow hits them. The background sounds are mostly all right, however, it can be a bit distracting during fights. The story does have elements that can invoke emotions and as such it is a good base to work with.
Moving onto graphics, the game is satisfactory even in this regard. The character for commander Dhillon and Lieutenant Vijay both look well-constructed. The same can be said for basic world. The only point for complaint in this regard would be that there is very little difference between the medium and ultra settings.
The game controls are what determine the degree of freedom awarded to the player in terms of creating their own style of play. The current game leaves a lot to be desired in this area.
The players are currently forced to play using the extremely limited setup with the options of attack, guard, and basic movements. The only deviation is the temporary weapons that can be picked-up, these are akin to temporary power-ups rather than weapons. The current game in terms of playstyle is a contest of button mashing (a one button variation) against NPCs (Non-Player Characters). As to the point of the fighting standards displayed by these NPCs, it is just as basic as the player controls.
The monetisation model for the game is fairly simple, it is possible to buy skins for the various types of disposable weapons as well as skins for changing the playable character.
The purchases as such seem to offer no actual advantage while playing the game, other than to modify the visuals. There is also some talk about merchandising for the game.
Looking at the game as a whole, the NPCs are very predictable and spout random lines at the wrong moments.
Even the addition of a few more voice lines to alternate between for the NPCs would improve the in-game experience significantly. The game controls are extremely basic and leave a lot of room for improvement and, as such, this is an area in which the game fails to impress.
Considering the fact that the game is in an early release state and two of the game modes are not yet playable, it is possible that there are still some features that have not been added. This lack of complexity in the controls may be temporary in nature as the developers add these features into the game in the future. These features will be important in attracting more players to the game.
Looking objectively at FAU-G as a game, it is still in an incomplete state. The developers have created a nice base for themselves with a good storyline and promising graphics. However, the gaps in the game controls (and mechanics) still make it difficult to visualise what the game will become once completed.
Given all these factors I believe the game should only be judged once the PVP modes are introduced into the picture as the full extent of the game mechanics are made clear.