Original ideas in gaming these days are few and far between, and while it seems every title is claiming to offer us something never seen before, usually I end up being disappointed, like a kid who waits all day to buy a chocolate ice-cream to have a stranger steal said ice-cream, eat it and then crap it back out into their cone. It’s sad, depressing and makes you never want to trust anyone again.
Having said that it’s now time to look at Lucasarts newest game Fracture. Looking at it for a quick overview, it’s simple a run of the mill 3rd person shooter with not much to offer like that one plain cheerleader on the squad who always tries to hard to get somebody’s attention. What is Fracture’s claim to fame? Something they like to call Terrain Deformation (TD) but we’ll get to that in a moment.
So basically you play as Atlantic Alliance soldier Jet Brody, a slightly less manly and wimpy version of Marcus Fenix in the battle against the Pacificans. It’s the 22nd century and the Pacificans started altering DNA to keep up with the changing climate, while the Alliance put a ban on Genetic Engineering and chose to go with Cybernetic Enhancement. The Pacificans get pissed, cry to mum and then decide to say a hearty “Fuck You” and take over the world and have a tea party at the end with jam and scones and whipped cream. Standard story for any futuristic shooter these days
Fracture is a simple 3rd person shooter with some rather interesting weapons. You have your standard machine guns, rocket launchers and the like, but the real fun is to be had tth the TD grenades. You collect a set of grenades that can alter your terrain to your advantage on the battlefield. Let’s say you are getting pwned by a bunch of bad guys and need some cover, throw a TD grenade and boom there is a hill right there in front, giving you the cover you need to regenerate your health, reload and get ready for action. There are a multitude of these weapons that raise or lower terrain, create a gravity pull and the like, and while they are cool to see in action, they aren’t used enough. The puzzles that require TD to complete are simple and predicatble, and I honestly feel if the developers really pushed the boundaries with TD the game would have been much, much more interesting.
AI leaves a bit to be desired. All the enemies look the same, drab colours and not enough variety, and why they aren’t the smartest bunch and aren’t too difficult to dispose of, Fracture makes up in the number of them, they just keep coming and coming wave after wave, and often gameplay ends up being tired and boring, kill bad guys, get to checkpoint, move onto next area, kill bad guys and so forth
Controls are simple and easy once you get a grip on them, and once you have the TD functions down pat you will be out there ripping it up on the battlefield. Graphics are actually quite decent, and the TD effects look breath taking! Audio is also damn solid running through my 7.2 system (only running 5.1 though)
It’s true, Fracture does offer something that gamers haven’t seen in a game before until now, but instead of capitalizing on that idea, it was used in a boring and uninventive way. All in all I actually really like Fracture, it’s fun and while sure it’s run of the mill and not a game that stands out like Bioshock or Little Big Planet, it was a blast for the weekend I completed it. I hope Lucasarts takes some feedback, goes back and releases a sequel that utilizes the potential that this title really did have