After months of teasing and hyping, homegrown action game FAU-G: Fearless and United Guards, is finally here. Vishal Gondal-owned N-core Games announced the game is under development, just days after PUBG Mobile was banned in India by the Government. Well, after opening up pre-registrations for Android smartphones, the game can finally be downloaded. So we did. The game has only one mission playable right now. N-Core games said FAU-G players will get new missions to play via updates to the game. Right now, there’s only a single-player campaign open to play. There are also multiplayer modes including ‘Team Deathmatch’ and ‘Free-For-All’, but those remained locked during my time with the game. No sign of Battle Royale though. So how is the experience? Here’s what I thought of the game –
The Game Lobby is where you land when you launch the game. The UI is barebones with the option to select the game mode, go to Settings or the Store. There seems to be a ranking system present, but we’re not sure how it works yet. Multiplayer mode is yet to go live and ranks will likely only come into effect after that.
The Settings option (the Gear icon) has options to tweak audio levels and quality of graphics. The latter can be stretched from Very Low to Ultra. I played the game on my OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition and it ran perfectly fine on Ultra Settings. There’s also the option to adjust movement and aim sensitivity.
As for the Store, this is where you can purchase custom mods for the weapons. These can be purchased using tokens which needs to be bought using real currency. Tokens can be purchased for Rs 19 to Rs 2999, and it’s mentioned that 20 per cent of the proceeds will be contributed to the Bharat Ke Veer trust.
There’s also the Ice Spice store that offers deals and discounts in FAU-G merchandise including T-shirts, hoodies and more.
Single Player Campaign
FAU-G offers a single player campaign which aims to educate the player on the perils faced by faujis in the Indian Army. The first mission in this, is the Galwan Valley Clash. One that’s still fresh in the minds of countrymen. Set in the cold valleys of Ladakh and along the China border, the story starts with a cut-scene that shows the Chinese soldiers attacking the Indian border patrol and leaving all but one to fight the enemies and finding out what happened to the others. The cut-scenes are nothing but a series of well-painted artworks with minimal animation, along with a baritone voice over in Hindi narrating the story. The plot feels a bit too simplistic and aimed clearly at rousing nationalistic sentiments with the narrative and in-game monologues.
After a few minutes of the cut-scene (you can skip it), you are left to walk along the icy path towards Chinese camps where you encounter soldiers who will try to take you down. Your weapon at first is what you have with you at all times – your fists. This is the tutorial phase where you learn to use your fists in combat, and also wield some melee weapons. The combat feels realistic to the same extent that a Bollywood action film does. The enemies wait their turn to get beaten by you, and you use the same two-three combos for every attack. The last punch that you land happens in slo-mo as the enemy hits the ground.
Combat and Health Renegeration
Unlike modern action shooters, player health in FAU-G does not regenerate over time. Instead you have to find a campfire and sit beside it to juice up the health bar. It’s quite a nifty touch that should be relatable to most Indians who face severe cold in the winters. Health goes down when you are attacked by enemies.
For the first few levels, getting hurt will be difficult. The in-game AI is rather simple and Chinese soldiers line up to get punched by your bare fists, all the while sledging in English, with an Indian accent. But as the levels progress, enemies keep increasing in number and ferocity. At Camp-7, the enemies did not wait long before hitting back, and there were too many at a time to tackle, causing me to die twice. After dying, you respawn at the previous checkpoint, which automatically gets created as you keep clearing Chinese enemy camps single-handedly.
The levels are designed to be quite simple too. There’s not much to explore or pick up, save for melee weapons like a club or a spear. You will find camps with military equipment, generators and the likes but these cannot be interacted with. The objectives show up with distances in the HUD and the path is well laid. There’s no option to crouch or jump. You only get a D-pad on one side while the other hand is used to rotate the camera. Movement too is not completely realistic. The player moves fast up or down, but slows down when going sideways.
Glitches and Bugs
It’s just day one of the game launching, and there are already a bunch of glitches that I noticed. For one, characters seems to be floating off the ground. Going towards the walls and edges shows a tear in the screen, and enemies dying too close to the walls often freezes and shakes, almost like they are doing a Bhangra.
Should You Download It?
FAU-G Fearless and United Guards feels like an incomplete game on the day of launch. It’s certainly not the PUBG alternative many presumed. There’s hardly any similarity in the experience. Instead, the game feels like it was made a decade back. Stiff movements, dumb AI and no semblance of a real narrative plot may just result in the game being a huge disappointment after months of hype and anticipation.
But there are signs of promise. The combat system, as simple as it is, feels good. And there aren’t any noticeable drops in frames, when played on a two-year old flagship smartphone. And that’s perhaps the only thing that made me stick to playing this game for a level or two.