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American Fugitive is a top down style homage to GTA of old, the game has you playing as William Riley, sent to jail for the murder of your father, the one thing is though, you didn’t do it. You we’re framed. Which we all know what this means… It’s time for justice.
The start of the game has you breaking out of prison in true Shawshank Redemption style ending up coming out of sewage pipe. Once out of the pipe the first thing you will notice is how stunning Redrock county is, the colours, the detail in the world, it all just pops at you. The world is vibrant and alive with people around, vehicles driving and just general ambience. What else impressed me with the world was the destructible elements, fences and wooden structures are weak and crumble when driven through, which makes the car chases in the game even more enjoyable to play through.
I mentioned above that American Fugitive pays homage to the older GTAs, and you can see that in many of the mechanics that the game has such as the weapons available, the wanted system, as well as vehicle paint jobs. The game brings its own mechanics into play as well, which I really liked, the first of which is the looting system. The looting system has you ‘scoping out’ a building before breaking in to find valuables, you basically go up to the window and William will look through to make sure the room is clear, you can do this for all the windows around the building, which will change to green or red to let you know whether there is someone in the room or not. If there is no one in the room, feel free to break in and check out what’s available to loot. Be careful though that no one sees you breaking in otherwise the police will be called, which comes onto another nice little feature in which a timer shows at the top of the screen letting you know how long you’ve got left before the police show up. At which time you can get out nice and early and escape, or you can have a good ol fashioned shoot out with the cops.
Another brilliant feature I enjoyed within American Fugitive was that you could steal clothes from a washing line and change into them, changing how you look. So, if the police are looking for a male in a red t-shirt and jeans, there not going to bat an eye lid at one suddenly wearing a green dress. Just a normal day in Redrock. Going back to casing joints and breaking in, one thing that annoyed me slightly with this was that it didn’t matter when you broke into somewhere, the police timer would always show up. It could be the dead of night, no one around, completely on your own and as soon as you set foot in the buildings, BAM, police timer. Someone somewhere with what seems like a pair of binoculars has spotted you and the police are on the way.
It really is bizarre and ruined it for me a bit, you never had the full time to go through a building and case it properly taking everything you wanted to because the police were always on their way, and for what seemed like no apparent reason for them to be warned. Speaking of the police as well, I found the wanted system to be very… imbalanced. It seemed to be hit or miss as to whether it would recognise a crime or incident being committed. There are times you could slightly scrape another car while driving past and you will have several cop cars flying at you trying to get you to stop, other times you can go full pelt into the side of someone and no one bats an eyelid.
These little things make the difference when it comes to enjoying a game, especially when you’ve worked hard to not be detected, no one has seen you and there is no one about but as soon as you break in the police are on their way. It just gets a bit disheartening, especially when you notice there is something there to loot which you no longer can loot because the police are on their way. One more thing that I noticed with American Fugitive was that when the police are chasing you, it is so easy to escape them, they are literally Chief Wiggum from The Simpsons. All you need to do is jump out of your car and hide away somewhere, maybe in a bush. That usually does it. It kind of makes a joke out of the whole thing. You’re there wanting them to chase, you’re wanting it to be epic and like the cop shows of old, but alas, it’s not, it’s far too simple to get away, which is disappointing.
Another point that I want to make is that when you die, you get placed back in your jump suit at the pipe you escaped from with all your weapons and inventory gone. Forgive my ignorance, but… what? I know the significance of the pipe, this is how you got your freedom, but surely wouldn’t coming out of the local medical facility be better? This way it kind of gives you a sense of starting again, but you keep your XP and progress, it’s just the inventory that is taken away. Seems that you keep XP and progress, surely starting from a local medical centre/hospital would be better. It would make it more realistic in a sense.
I found the combat in the game a bit hit and miss as well, it’s delivered via a twin stick style system, but it is very inaccurate, and I personally struggled with a few missions where you’re asked to kill a few people who have either turned up or are chasing you. It took a lot of running around as more than one person and you’re going to die a lot. So, trying to split a group or even just try and hide was the best course of action. I am reviewing the Switch version of American Fugitive which also has its own issues, with very long loads times, framerates that chug along when driving, and did I mention that there are very verrrryyyy long loads times? Overall view of American Fugitive is that this could be a brilliant game on the Switch, it’s presentation is brilliant and it looks beautiful, there’s destruction to be had all around Redrock but the issues with the game mentioned above kind of hold this back, plus the bizarre choice when respawning after death just brings the game down from all out gang warfare to playing with super soakers. If you can get past the annoyances, I would say go for it and give the game a try, it does have potential but again, the downsides can’t be ignored.