Fracture - PS3 Review
|10/10/2008||Activision||LucasArts||Day 1 Studios||1||2-12|
LucasArts have already had a hit this year with the Traveler's Tales developed Lego Indiana Jones which hit selves a couple of months ago. This game though is aimed at an older audience and promises some unique gameplay experiences. The key selling point, the ability to deform the terrain to give you a tactical advantage on the battlefield. There's plenty of hype behind this game, but does it deliver the goods? Read on to find out...
|That's your character, Jet Brody.|
It is the year 2161. Global warming and the search for ways to combat its effects have split the world in two. On the East is the Atlantic Alliance, a staunch supporter of and leading innovator in the field of cybernetic solutions to the worlds problems. Their adversary is the Republic of Pacifica and its Pacific Rim allies in the West. They have embraced adapting the human genome to cope with the changing world. Both factions are armed with a new type of tectonic technology that allows armies to raise and lower defenses out of the earth at any location of their choosing.
Fracture is a third person action title in which you play the role of Jet Brody, a demolitions expert. Jet fights for the Atlantic Alliance against the Republican soldiers who are genetically enhanced.
What makes this game so interesting though is the way in which you can deform the terrain to reach new areas and, more importantly, gain an advantage over enemies. Throw a Tectonic Grenade and as well as your normal explosion the earth will launch upwards giving you a platform to stand on. Throw a Spike Grenade and a column of earth thrusts upwards giving Jet a big advantage over the battlefield from a height.
|Fracture has some awesome effects.|
Jet is also equipped with an Entrencher weapon which allows him to raise the ground to be used as cover against approaching enemies, or reach high locations. The Entrencher can also depress the ground to -for example - create tunnels under walls. There will be tonnes of similar weapons throughout the game - how about a vortex grenade which creates a massive tornado like vacuum that swirls and sucks everything inside? This is, in fact, probably the coolest weapon in the entire game. Another cool weapon is the Torpedo Launcher. When you fire the torpedo it buries underground and allows you to trigger the detonation when it reaches your desired target.
There is also a bit of puzzle solving in the game which often includes changing the terrain to force gates open or new areas to become accessible. There's nothing too complex here, and a bit more variety would have been nice, but it does break up the action sequences.
|That's a tonne of destruction.|
Unfortunately despite the potential, the promises and the strong technology behind it Fracture fails to deliver the goods when it needs to. The use of terrain forming seems very exciting at first, and for the first hour or two you will experiment with it to create barriers, and advantages on the battlefield. After time though you'll start to ignore this feature for the most part and start relying on your weapons to take out the enemies. You'll also discover limitations with invisible boundaries and limits to what can be done in terms of pushing terrain up and down in certain locations.
When you must use the deformation you will realise that it becomes quite repetitive. Sniper in the distance, raise the ground to provide cover, move forward, raise more ground, move forward and repeat until you are close enough to take the shot yourself. This repetition makes the game quite full, and slow, in places. Throw in some pretty poor enemy AI and the game becomes a bit of a chore, rather then a pleasure or challenge. Finally the length. The game can be completed in around 8 hours which, for me, isn't great value.
|Expect an October release for Fracture!|
Multi-player is also supported with matches for up to 12-players. From the sessions we've had online the game seemed to be fairly solid with little lag, and some entertaining matches. There are eight different maps on offer with eight different game modes. As well as the usual Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, Fracture provides a couple of unique modes including Excavation where you can tunnel underground to the enemy locations. Unique, and entertaining.
Given the amount of deformation that is possible Fracture is technically a good game, but it doesn't appear so with some bland, and more disappointingly dull, textures in places. In fact too much of this game is dull and uninspiring and, sure, we understand it's a warzone, but it just doesn't look nice - even for dull.
|Note the ground cracking below your feet.|
While the frame rate isn't rock solid, it is more then acceptable given the amount of action that takes place on this scene. Cut-scenes really are quite average. Some are quite well scripted and edited, while others are a bit more sloppy. Visually though some of these cut-scenes look like they were created very early in the games development, or rushed at the end.
As with anything from the LucasArts stables the audio is quite impressive although the speech in this game is a little average. With a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound field there are some impressive directional sounds particularly the effects. Music has been composed by Michael Giacchino (whose other credits include TV series Lost, movies Ratatouille and The Incredibles, and games such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor) and it really is one of the highlights of this game. At times quiet it really manages to ramp up to suit the on-screen action.
|Battles will be pretty large-scale.|
Ultimately Fracture is a great idea that hasn't come together as well as one would expect. It's not a disaster but we would suggest you check out the demo before putting down the cash for this game. There appears to be so many other, potential better, options coming out in the lead up to Christmas.
Review By: Dave WarnerOrder your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
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|GRAPHICS||Deformation is technically impressive, but the game is drab overall.||64%|
|SOUND||LucasArts know how to hit the right notes, nice music and effects.||78%|
|GAMEPLAY||The deformation isn't as fun as it should be, what's left is an average shooter.||68%|
|VALUE||Multi-player may extend life but unlikely you'll replay the game.||63%|
|OVERALL||Fracture doesn't deliver the goods to the extent we expected. Still, if you like the demo you may want consider this game.||69%|