American Fugitive is an open-world sandbox game that is very much relatable to the original Grand Theft Auto. It features some great gameplay mechanics and lots of activities to keep you busy, even after finishing the game.
The story is quite engaging, with numerous NPCs to be met along the way, with various quests that make use of the games mechanics, such as breaking and entering. I really like this mechanic, you can enter pretty much every building in Redrock County, you can either go straight in and risk being caught by the occupant, as well as triggering a countdown before the law shows up, or take your time to case the place. Peeking through windows will let you know if a room is occupied or not, giving you the chance to enter a building and avoid a confrontation with the occupant.
If you do have to confront the occupant you also have a choice of fleeing the building or attempting to threaten them with a weapon, this works with a game of chance, with different percentages showing for each weapon. Fail and the occupant can overcome you including taking the weapon, throwing you out and chasing you down, all while the police are still on their way. The same goes for trying to restrain a victim after scaring them.
You can of course take the much slower approach of waiting for the occupant to leave, then taking them out either passively or aggressively, searching them for their house key, enabling you to enter their home undetected giving you all the time in the world to search each room, looting whatever takes your fancy. It’s time consuming, yet so much more rewarding, especially when you’re hunting down codes for safes and bunkers, not to mention the high value money stashes and paintings.
Speaking of the Police, they obviously play a huge part in the game, and I absolutely love the wanted level machanic in American Fugitive. There’s basically 2 wanted systems, one for your character, and one for vehicles, so for example: If you’re reported for a road traffic accident, the police will be on the hunt for that car, lose sight of the police and abandon the car you’ll get away scot-free; The same works if your characer is wanted jump in to a vehicle unsighted, and you’ll be in the clear. That is until you leave. You can also make a change of clothes, any person you knock out or kill can have their clothes stolen, or hop into someone’s yard and steal some from their washing line. Be careful though, as the Police aren’t too keen on a man running around in a dress, or even in their underwear. If you’re in a tight spot and a train happens to be passing by, don’t hesitate to jump on and make a quick gataway.
Having completed the story, you’re free to play the game however you want, either go on a rampage and see how long you can last, or take your time going around finding the rest of the elusive paintings, or solving the clues to finding the combinations to safes and bunkers, the latter of which is quite intriguing and not as straight forward as you would think, finding notes are the key to success, and keeping track of them is highly important. as you may need to read back through them and remember where and when you found it to try and figure out if it’s the clue to a specific safe or not. One example would be a note I found in a house with a safe and note that pointed to the code being known by the car dealer and being the year the car was built. Meaning that I had to find a list of cars from the dealer and figure out which one it was. They get even more complex than that too.
Gameplay is great aside the fantastic mechanics I’ve already mentioned, the controlls and UI are great with a twin-stick combat system and easy to use inventory and hot-bar. I did find the driving a little awkward to begin with, the standard camera is fixed, and not being 100% top down made some manouvers difficult to judge, thankfully there’s an option to change the vehicle camera to ‘chase’ which made things much better. Completing missions and other objectives rewards you with cash and upgrade points for your character, which you can spend on numerous upgrades including weight capacity of items you can carry, health, stamina and more.
Redrock County is split into 3 islands, with each unlocking as you progress through the story, they’re not all part of the same map, with each one having to load as you cross the bridge to access it, not too much of an issue, however the load times between them seem a little on the long side.
You can also spend your money at shops located around the game for food and weapons, you do have access to the car dealer and guns and ammo store via your phone, who’ll conveniently deliver your goods nearby.
Visually the game is good, it has a highly detailed comic book style that works really well, while the level of destruction doesn’t extend to buildings you’ll be glad to know that clipping fences, small bushes and other similar sized objects won’t stop you dead in your tracks. I did notice some framerate issues (Xbox One S) while driving at high speeds. A minor issue compared to what the game has going for it. Audio wise, there’s a great soundtrack that comes and goes throughout the time you’re playing, changing up when missions are activated. there’s no voice acting, which is a shame, though I’m not knocking it.
A copy of the game was provided for this review by the developer/publisher