Right off the bat, be aware that this game is a massive grind. Completing missions will award points to rank up, but the balance between points required and points awarded is brutal and results in slow and sluggish progress. Regardless of what you think of the game itself, the achievements are an Everest-like obstacle that will test even the most ardent completionist.
There are not many tips to cover here. Most controls are shown on screen. The only ones that you may miss during the tutorial is pressing to zoom the mini map and pressing to change the view while driving. Other than those, the controls are fairly intuitive.
The fire station is marked with a red icon on the map. Next to it is a yellow icon where you can refill your vehicle’s water reserve. Drive close to it to see a control icon appear for refilling - hold to refill. You will see the water gauge slowly moving.
Also fairly central is a blue icon where you refuel. Check the markers at the ends of the bowsers – an arrow points to the correct side. Once again, hold when you see the icon appear to refuel. The Fuel gauge on screen will slowly fill up.
Always make sure your vehicle is ready to go. When you spawn in the Fire station, either at the start of a shift or after certain missions, head downstairs and drive your vehicle outside. If it needs refilling or refueling, do that right away then park somewhere and wait for the next mission. Anywhere near the fire station or fuel bowsers is nice and central. There will be a lot of waiting in the game as missions and when they occur is entirely random.
You can “fail” a shift quite easily for things such as:
- - Failing to reach the mission area within 3 minutes,
- - Getting too close to a fire – keep an eye out for a damage bar on the top right of your screen when in a mission that will fill up if you are taking damage,
- - Hitting a moving plane – crossing runways can be tricky as they move really fast!
- - Hitting some, but not all, stationary planes,
- - Hitting debris during the plane crash mission.
In general, just be careful and take your time. Failing a shift results in a points penalty, taking away 500pts! Depending on your progress during the shift, it may be better off to reload your save and start the shift again. For this reason, get into the habit of saving at the end of every day. You may also want to adjust the controller sensitivity up high so you can quickly glance both ways when crossing a runway to check for planes as they have a habit of coming out of nowhere…
You can change the length of each shift in the options menu from the main menu (the in-game menu does not have this option). Short days take around 15 real minutes, medium (default) around 25-30 and long around 50. There is one achievement that is made easier with a long day that will be pointed out; otherwise choose whichever you are comfortable with. You can only save your progress at the shift summary screen shown at the end of each day, so bear that in mind.
The type of vehicle you are assigned to depends on your rank. Unlike the previous game, once you progress 'past' a vehicle, you will not be assigned to it again. This means that the achievements linked to the first two vehicles are technically missable. The only one that may be an issue is the Marker achievement as you will only be driving the first vehicle type for one or two shifts. For this reason the guide will start the first day with the long day length which will ensure you have enough time to scour the whole fence-line. You can adjust day length down again at the main menu once you have it (so finish the shift, save the game then back out to the main menu where you can change the day length and reload your save).
It's fair to say the game is a little rough around the edges. Expect to have the occasional graphical glitch or anomaly. Of particular concern, you may find your assigned vehicle is wedged in a wall or up in the air and cannot be driven - you will just have to reload in that case. Another thing to be aware of is that water will pass through objects, so when fighting a fire you can just aim through solid objects to extinguish the flames on the far side. Use the smoke and flashing sparks as a guide to where the fire is still active.
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