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Thursday, March 04, 2021

FAU-G Review: Good graphics let down by boring gameplay 

FAU-G Game review: We tried nCore Games’ FAU-G, the latest action game in India and here’s what we thought about it.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Chetan Nayak | Mumbai |
Updated: January 28, 2021 9:06:55 am
FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review,FAU-G is a Made-in-India action game developed by nCore games. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

FAU-G is one of India’s most hyped up games, and for good reason. The Made-in-India game is an action title that revolves around real-life events that took place on Indian borders. It features an in-game store where you can buy merchandise and contribute to the Indian Army.  It’s even got its own anthem.

When FAU-G launched on January 26, India’s 72nd Republic Day, we decided to give the title a shot and played it for quite some time. Here’s our review of FAU-G in detail.

Gameplay

Unlike popular belief, FAU-G is as of now, a close-combat game. Most of the action is fist punches and kicks and handcrafted weapons that get their own names like ‘Lalkaar’, or ‘Tandav’. This immediately sets it apart from PUBG and other action titles, which have a larger emphasis on shooting. 

We will focus on the single-player campaign mode, which is the only mode that is available to play. Battle Royale and Team Death match modes are yet to be added to the game. 

FAU-G features a rather simple linear narrative where you follow a path from checkpoint to checkpoint and deal with enemies who get in the way. Gameplay is restricted to just three elements for now – movement, strike and defend. There is no jumping, no weapons you can throw. This often left us with a feeling that the game is getting repetitive as it progresses. Once the hand-held weapons are introduced, there is nothing new to try out. 

FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review, FAU-G allows players to carry up to two hand-held weapons at a time. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

Certain checkpoints feature bonfires where you can sit for a few seconds and regenerate lost health. However, since the checkpoints are linear, it is also possible to travel to an earlier bonfire checkpoint to renew health. This workaround lets you progress into every new checkpoint with a full health bar, irrespective of whether the last checkpoint had a bonfire or not.  

FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review, FAU-G allows players to regenerate health by sitting next to a bonfire. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

One challenge presented in subsequent levels is dealing with multiple enemies, who after the first few missions will occasionally begin attacking together rather than waiting for their chance. Progressing is quite easy if you implement simple strategies like going for the enemy carrying a weapon first, and then using that weapon to take out others.

The only other challenge is a timer on the top right that you must keep a watch on. Missions will automatically fail and resume from the last checkpoint if you fail to meet the time requirements.

Combat and weapons

The three-button combat system in FAU-G has a lot of room for improvement, especially when it comes to hand-held weapons. Weapons that you collect after beating such enemies will also last for only a few strikes before they vanish.

While this is challenging, what was very frustrating is that weapons have only a couple of strikes left in them and cannot be replaced with new weapons even if they are right in front of you. Instead, players will have to look for more enemies, use up the remaining strikes of that weapon, and then come back to pick up the replenished weapon. This was also time-consuming.

FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review, Combat with multiple enemies in FAU-G. (Image Source: the Indian Express)

Picking up weapons is as easy as walking over them, similar to many other games. However, picking up weapons or switching from weapons to fist and vice versa while in combat was in our experience, next to impossible. In addition, switching between enemies you are striking while in combat using the analogue control on the left is very hard, as the player often seems to punch and strike only those nearest to him, irrespective of what direction you want to send him in.

Player gets knocked out in FAU-G. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

Enemies that are about to attack you get a red glow a second before they strike, and you can strike them first to nullify their initiative. This makes the ‘defend’ button useless in most cases. The addition of a counter-attacking mechanism where users can block an incoming attack, and transition that into a counter-attacking combo would have been great here.

There is also a clear lack of variation here. Hours into the game, you will find yourself fighting exactly similar kinds of opponents in a similar territory using the same tactics and combat styles. There is not much to do through the game besides changing player and weapon skins.

Plot, Narration and Graphics

FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review, Another cutscene in FAU-G’s single-player campaign. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

As players progress through the game, they will see cutscenes that feel very sudden and random at times. The animated cutscenes, often long, can be skipped, however. Even when there are no cutscenes, players will hear their avatar say motivational quotes like “Apne bhaiyo ko bachana mera farz hai,” which are nice in the beginning but begin to feel unnecessary soon after.

FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review, A cutscene in FAU-G’s single-player campaign. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

The graphics of the game are, however, impressive for a title that is less than half a gigabyte in download size. We tried the game in the highest possible graphic settings available on Android, on a OnePlus Nord, and were delighted to see better details and consistently smooth performance. Unlike the gameplay, the graphics actually make you feel like you’re playing a smooth and polished title.

FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review, Cutscenes in FAU-G are in Hindi by default but come with English subtitles on the bottom. A cutscene in FAU-G’s single-player campaign. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

In-game store

FAU-G also presents an in-game store. Fans can purchase exclusive merchandise here as well as in-game coins, which further allow you to buy player skins and weapon skins. The game lets you know that 20% of what you spend here goes to the Bharat ke Veer foundation. Alternatively, you can also watch ads to get more coins.

FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review, FAU-G’s in-game store allows you to purchase skins for player avatars and weapons. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

While this is a nice implementation to have, the skins you can purchase for now are very limited. We should soon see more elements in the store as more gameplay modes are made available.

FAU-G, FAUG, FAUG game, FAUG download, FAU-G review, You can also watch ads or spend real money to quickly get more coins. A cutscene in FAU-G’s single-player campaign. (Image Source: The Indian Express)

Verdict

The FAU-G experience for us has been a mixed bag. Great at graphics and fluidity, the game is let down by its poor combat implementation and uninspiring, unchanging gameplay style. Throughout our experience, the game often felt incomplete, repetitive and simply put, boring.

While we wouldn’t exactly call the game half-baked, we would strongly say that FAU-G needs more focus and polish on actual combat, before it can be enjoyable for people beyond the first 30 minutes or so.

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