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Firefighter Simulator: The Squad (PS4) Review

It might not be for everyone, but Firefighter Simulator: The Squad may satisfy fans of sims and those with blaze-battlin’ dreams.

There are no Dalmatians in this game. That alone merits a failing grade in my book.

However, in the name of professionalism, I will press on and try to be fair.

We all wanted to be firefighters when we grew up. Firefighter Simulator: The Squad will likely be the closest any of us will come to frolicking with Dalmatians, sliding down poles, and that “unselfish devotion to our fellow man” thing.

Burning down the house

The graphics can be described as “simulator basic,” at least on the Nintendo Wii. The draw distances are foggy, the textures flat, and the smoke and fire (again, this is the Wii version) fairly basic. When an emergency call is made, you start the mission by driving the firetruck through a Los Angeles-esque city to the scene of the incident.

Forget whatever GTA has taught you: the firetruck handles just like a real firetruck, difficult to bring up to speed and easy to loose control of when you have.

The game’s chief element is the role of the “Squad,” that is your fellow firefighters who can be played by your friends or by AI. Do what you can to get your friends to play with you: the AI can be… finicky.

You can direct the AI NPCS to fight fires or related tasks, such as breaking down doors or rescuing civilians, though you might find one of your colleagues walking up behind you when you think you’ve assigned them a task. On the one hand, it is rewarding to delegate commands to your squad mates, but most of the time it did feel like I was fighting the fire by myself. Playing with humans is strongly recommended.

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire

As the game progresses the nature and the dimensions of the fires change. You have to use aerial units to reach fires in larger buildings, and deal with complications such as backdrafts. The nature of the fire can change too, from burning hot dog carts to houses and beyond.

The game purports to have an arsenal of realistic firefighting accoutrements, though that might be for the true firefighting aficionados (I don’t know what the difference can be in equipment; certainly, it wasn’t a dealbreaker for me). You have prybars, circular saws, and axes to break down doors and other obstructions, which you can pass along to your fellow minions.

Overall

If you’re a simulator junkie, or someone who still sometimes sports a plastic fireman helmet and dreams of racing to the rescue, this is the game for you. Other gamers might be turned off by the stronger commitment to realism than they’re used to, much less micromanaging your squad. If you like flight sims or coop games go for it.

Otherwise, join me in awaiting for the Dalmation DLC.

Firefighter Simulator: The Squad
Release date:
June 12th, 2022 for consoles | November 17th, 2020 for PC
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, PC
Publisher: Astragon
Developer: Chronos
MSRP: $24.99 USD

Maybe a little too realistic

Premise - 80%
Gameplay - 60%
Graphics - 50%

63%

Okay

Enjoyable with friends, especially any simulator junkies

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About Ian Cordingly

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