Once again a shooter, that’s what I thought when I was given Fracture. It almost seems like the shooter slice of the market doesn’t get saturated. LucasArts, in cooperation with Day 1 Studios, promised us this wouldn’t be the thirteenth shooter in a dozen. But do gamers still trust LucasArts after they couldn’t deliver on all their promises with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed?
As soon as I fired up the game I was pleasantly surprised by the good soundtrack and the interesting storyline. The story is situated in 2161, the year the Earth’s global warming split the United States in two. Because of this separation two different groups arose, differing in goals and ideas. The West, home to The Republic of Pacifica, started improving humans with genetic manipulations while in The East, The Atlantic Alliance opted to do the same through bionic upgrades. When the president invokes a ban on genetic manipulation the leader of the Pacificans, general Nathan Sheridan, revolts and it’s up to you, Jet Brody, to stop the uprising.
The story sounds very interesting, but sadly enough this is as far as it goes. It’s a shame progressing in the game didn’t show new layers of depth in the story. It’s even so bad that once you start the game the story is completely forgotten and it simply turns into an eight hour long purposeless level.
”Reshape the battlefield” is Fracture’s slogan. Everything in this game revolves around elevating or lowering terrains, for that you need the Entrencher. Never before was this part of a shooter, but to be honest it didn’t blow me away. In the beginning you elevate/lower soil at random, but the longer I played, the more I wondered if all of this was really necessary. Furthermore, the feature is mainly used to solve puzzles or to go from place A to place B and not for tactical reasons. Elevating terrain is obviously very useful to provide cover, but because of your adversaries’ dumb AI this isn’t really necessary.
Yes indeed, it has been proven, genetic manipulation eats your brains away! The artificial intelligence of your enemies is horrible. Often your opponents will just stand there until you hit them with one of your bullets, and if you need to pull back to heal they’ll just wait around until you show your face again.
Thankfully you have a whole arsenal of weapons at your disposal to chop these brain-dead idiots to bits. As such you have a couple of unique arms like the Deep Freeze, allowing you to freeze the enemy, or the Rhino that’ll sling loose objects towards your enemies. Sadly enough the weapons feel like they do less damage than a water pistol, because you’ll need more than one reload before you finally kill the guy.
Graphically speaking the game is a looker, but not “Uncharted-pretty”. The levels are colourful and varied and above all fairly detailed. Explosions and chaos are convincing, but at the cost of framerates, because from time to time, especially in the bigger fights, this drops very drastically. Well worth mentioning though is the beautiful music. A very epic and movie-like soundtrack that really puts you in the game. Then again, we didn’t expect anything less from the award winning composer Michael Giacchino.
Besides the lesser campaign, the expansive multiplayer really shines in Fracture. Twelve players can join the battlefield and choose from a myriad of modes, Excavation being the most striking. Here one team has to dig a hole and then make a pillar rise from the ground with a Tectonic grenade, while the opposing team tries to destroy this.
Fracture neither fails nor shines. LucasArts promised an innovative shooter with terrain deformation as keyword. Unfortunately this feature is not well implemented and even seems, aside from the mandatory puzzles, superfluous. All in all it’s a decent game though.