LucasArts' 3rd person shooter Fracture has gone through a lot of changes since we first saw it back at E3 2007, but one thing has always remained the same - changes. The ability to raise and lower the earth plays heavily into Fracture's gameplay, giving your character the upper hand against the DNA-altering Pacifican rebels who seek to take over a United States quite literally divided. Having watched the game go through many changes, including a complete revamp of the main character, I was afraid that such rapid changes in direction might lend themselves to an average shooter that relied on an interesting mechanic to prop up mediocre gameplay. Was I wrong? Love and hate divided, the game's fate decided, after the jump.
Terrain Deformation: Okay, I might have thought it a bit gimmicky in the past, but now that I've played through the story mode and several online multiplayer matches, I am completely in love with terrain deformation. There's just so much you can actually do with it, which makes for many different ways to go through a level. Shoot all the guys in a building the first time through, raise the ground and crush them against the ceiling the next. So very much fun.
Instruments of Destruction: While all of the weapons in Fracture have a nice feel to them, it's the ones the screw with the land and gravity in general that completely blew me away. The first time you throw a Vortex Grenade you will be in love, and all other grenades will seem like children's toys.
Weapons Testing: Every shooter needs this feature. Weapons Testing is basically a playground for you to test out your weapons and strategies. Generate enemies, unlock new weapons by collecting data discs in game...there's even a cannon in the middle of the field that launches debris. It's a hell of a lot of fun, while still being a learning tool of sorts.
Multiplayer Madness: While the basic running and gunning are a bit slower than I'd like, the different terrain deformation strategies I've seen other players come up with more than make up for the less than lighting fast pace. Many amazing deaths, mainly on my part, but highly enjoyable.
What's Your Story?: It's not that the story for Fracture was bad,,,it's just that it is never really fleshed out in the game. The press materials contain these excellent background stories for each character, and we never really see much of that in the actual game at all. If those stories had been presented in the game itself it would have been a much more powerful experience.
Obligatory Driving Level: The obligatory driving level in Fracture features a very cool vehicle that unfortunately handles like you're driving a brick with the safety brake on. The vehicle itself is awesome, controlling it is a bit of a chore and doesn't really add much to the game's single player mode.
Enemy Enemy Enemy: I understand that the game deals with fighting against a structured military group, but some more enemy variation would have been lovely. They're mostly yellowish, with a few variants, and the end boss? Please. You'll see what I mean.
I have no idea what happened to me at E3 this year when I saw and played a little bit of Fracture and came away thinking the terrain deformation felt like a gimmick. Perhaps it was just the bits I played, because taking in the game as a whole it becomes much more than that, often times transforming the game into a shooter / puzzle game hybrid, especially during the third chapter. I think the important difference is that playing through the full game gave me a good grasp of what my weapons and various powers did, so instead of blindly stumbling I was a find-tuned weapon of mass distortion.
Fracture is one of the more enjoyable shooters I've gotten my hands on in recent years, it's terrain deformation feature lending itself to a relatively compelling story mode and online skirmishes that change the face of the multiplayer battlefield.
Fracture, developed by Day 1 Studios and published by LucasArts was released on released on Oct. 7 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Retails for $59.99. Completed single player mode on default settings, played multiple online battles.
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