Monday, 24 June 2019 16:32

American Fugitive Review

Written by

Edited by: Jade Swann

Just a Good Old Boy

American Fugitive, developed by Fallen Tree Games and published by Curve Digital, is an homage to the classic, top-down Grand Theft Auto games of yesteryear and the movies that inspired them. You play as Will Riley, career criminal and titular fugitive. Framed for your father's murder, you will shoot, stab, steal, and sneak your way to finding your father's real killer and clearing your name.

Alabama Nights

Set in the 1980s American South, American Fugitive boasts broad open spaces for you to cause ample chaos. As to be expected, you can steal any vehicle and use any weapon during your quest for vengeance. The game cuts to the chase quite quickly, having Will framed, incarcerated, and escaped all within the first fifteen minutes. Soon, you are thrown into your first mission, and the playspace starts to open up. Typically, you will be running missions for the various contacts scattered around Redrock County, no more than two or three at a time. Occasionally, their storylines will intersect but mostly remain bespoke. Should the various fetch quests ever get boring, you can always take a break and attempt one of the many time trial races, search for hidden collectibles, or cause general mayhem on your own.

Being a career criminal, you frequently run afoul of local law enforcement. Much like in the games that inspired it, American Fugitive uses a wanted system. Minor crimes, like a simple fender bender or running over someone's fence, will net you one star. More significant crimes, like the various types of murder, will net you more. While the higher wanted levels lack some of the spectacle that other games in the genre have, they provide enough of a challenge that you'll want to leave as few witnesses as possible during missions. If there are no witnesses to report your crime, your wanted level will not increase. However, officers can call for backup during firefights, and random citizens on the street have a chance of reporting you.

Gone in Numerous Seconds

Vehicles are not the only thing you will be stealing during your time in Redrock County. Will Riley is a burglar by trade. As such, the numerous houses you'll find along your way are ripe for the pillaging. Within, you'll find a variety of items ranging from weaponry to pawnable valuables. Homes can also be a good supply of changes of clothes. Should you wish to lose your wanted stars immediately, freedom is just a change of clothes away. Similarly, there are stations throughout Redrock County that allow you to change your car's paint color. While you cannot choose what the color changes to, you'll likely be re-spraying frequently enough that it won't matter.

All of this sounds fun, and it is. I very much enjoyed my time with American Fugitive. There are a few issues to be addressed, however. My experience with the game greatly improved once I started using a controller rather than a keyboard and mouse. A good seventy percent of the game takes place in cars, and I found the driving controls on the keyboard and mouse to be a bit unwieldy. While I did fare better with the controller, there were many times I felt like I was driving a stick of butter. There also seemed to be little way to regulate your acceleration. While most of the time you can take to the streets at full tilt, there were a few times on my way to and from missions that I would've liked to be able to obey the speed limit to help avoid collisions.

Dying Hardly

Control issues aside, American Fugitive is not a particularly hard game. More often, I found myself dying to stamina loss in water or an exploding car than in the few scripted shootouts. By the end, I had several thousand dollars in savings with nothing particular to spend it on. Mostly, this is from how easy the robbery mini-game is. When you enter a house, you're brought to a separate screen where you can have an icon of Will Riley move from room to room and search for valuables automatically. Most of the time, you will be working under a clock showing you how long until the police arrive. Given that each room takes a set amount of time to search and searching is done automatically, it's trivial to escape before the police arrive. You don't even have to clear the premises, just get out of the house before the counter reaches zero. Numerous times I escaped with a second or two left on the clock, only to have a police car drive by and ignore me as I ran away.


The Verdict: Great

Overall, American Fugitive is a fun, if derivative, open-world game. With a broad world to explore and many hidden collectibles to find, there is content aplenty for fans of the genre. While the title ends abruptly, it spits you back out into the open world to cause mayhem once more. Controls aside, it's a solid entry into the genre.

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John Gerritzen

John Gerritzen is a programmer by education, author by hobby, and game critic by occupation. While he usually favors RPGs, he will play anything that engages him narratively or mechanically. When he's not playing games for fun or profit, he's usually reading or watching anime.