The much hype and anticipation came to an end on the morning of Republic Day when India's first-ever homegrown action game FAU-G: Fearless and United Guards was launched. The barrage of publicity, from launching the trailer to being promoted by Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, the fervour of nationalistic sentiments came crashing once I downloaded it on my Android phone that features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset. The game has released just a single mission in it and promises to add more missions via updates. Even its multiplayer modes remained locked.
Face the enemy. Fight for your country. Protect Our Flag. India’s most anticipated action game, Fearless and United Guards: FAU-G takes you to the frontlines and beyond! Start your mission today.
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) January 26, 2021
The Battle Royale competition, which is the most popular among fans and had created such expectations, remained elusive. So let's talk about what the game has to offer on its opening day.
As I started the game, I was taken into the main lobby, which looked pretty basic with just the game modes to select. With most of the options remained locked, I could only choose the one available. One can tweak the audio and graphics qualities from the settings option. There’s also the option to adjust movement and aim sensitivity.
In the single-player campaign, FAUG aims to educate us about the perils of Indian Army. The first mission in the game is based on the Galwan Valley Clash against China. Here again, the cut-scenes look overly simplistic with narration in Hindi. Too much for Hindi imposition, which would be difficult to understand for non-Hindi speakers of India. Cheesy names of the first two-game levels - Lalkaar and Krodh, which literally translates to "Challenge" and "Anger" in English are also difficult to understand. The plot looks loosely written where the Chinese soldiers attack the Indian border patrol. And only one of the patrol officers is left to fight the enemies.
You can skip the cut scene and head straight into the game, where you find yourself as a soldier walking along the icy paths stealthily towards Chinese camps. Like any other classic action game, your weapon at first will be your fists, later you might pick an oddly-designed archaic weapon, inspired by a machete. Things turn funny at this point when you see your enemies coming towards you to attack and you pull off some slow-mo bare-hand attacks on them. Surprisingly, they would come in front of you and wait for their turn to get beaten while sledging you in English with an Australian accent. However, as levels progress, enemies keep increasing in number and ferocity. The combat of the game is pretty much limited to just mashing the attack button. And the only difficulty that ever arises is the limited time in each mission and the sheer number of enemies that you face at a time – every mission is the same in other ways. In the middle of a fight, if you decide to move away from the enemies, even they will walk away instead of coming after you.
Realism hits its nadir when I figured out how a player regenerates health. Unlike painkillers of "time heals pain" formula, a player should find a campfire and sit beside it to juice up health bar. It can save you from cold winters though!
The objectives show up with distances in the monitor but unlike PUB-G, you cannot crouch or jump. You only get a D-pad on one side while the other hand is used to rotate the camera.
The game is heavily inspired from Bollywood and its corny dialogues. Our protagonist says things like, "Apne bhaiyo ko bachana mera farz hai... aur unko pakadne walo ko marna... maza", "Wo hamesha toh wo borders ke peeche chhup kar nahi reh sakte" and "Mein kareeb pahuch raha hu... wo darr kar bhaag rahe hai". The background score adds a layer of "shakti shakti shakti" whispering.
FAU-G at best is a parody of its 'so-called' rival PUB-G, which tries to encash on the nationalistic pride. The poor content, subversion of realism makes it barely relatable. PUB-G lovers deserved better than this.