Videogame Review: Fracture
Well, where to begin with this review has been the number one issue. The game is from LucasArts, and uses the Unreal Engine 3. Unfortunately, this results in a shooter that comes off as pretty similar to every other Unreal Engine 3 based game.
The game does have a unique trait, and that’s the terrain altering. With a special blast from a gun (which can thankfully be accessed regardless of the weapon you have equipped), or with certain grenades, the ground around you can be raised or lowered. This allows you to access otherwise blocked off routes by tunneling under or building up to objects. You can also launch enemies briefly into the air, or give yourself some (albeit destructable) cover. This is a fun technique to play with, at least early in the game. However, it never quite breaks into the awe-inspiring category that the Portal gun did.
The real problem is how utterly generic everything else bout this game is, outside of the terrain altering weapons. There are too many times when you’re indoors or fighting enemies that can’t be affected much by your terrain weapons. Suddenly what makes the game unique is stripped from you, turning this into “another Unreal Engine 3 game.” The weapons, enemies, the lead character (“Jet Brody”), even the story itself, all seems like a hodge-podge mash of the last couple years’ worth of shooters. After the first ten minutes of popping terrain up and down, it’s impossible to fight the feeling that you’ve seen this all before.
The multiplayer is frenetic, as you might expect, with people desperately trying to appropriately use the terrain-altering. It runs very smoothly, even with a full 12-player match, and is technically impressive, if not all that fun. With the lack of a solid single-player experience, however, I wouldn’t expect to find very crowded rooms in multiplayer.
This is a game custom made for one type of gamer: those obsessed with First Person Shooters who absolutely can’t wait for Gears of War 2 and Resistance 2 to come out. With those games just barely over the horizon, and promising to build on their strong first showings, it’s hard to see this becoming a franchise of its own. The terrain weapon has potential, and while it wasn’t reached in this game, it may find life later, as part of a larger experience. This game is not terrible, it’s not good, it’s nothing but average in every single way. If you’ve played any or all of the shooters that have been around in the last two years, then you’ve played this game several times already. A unique idea for set-up, a unique gameplay mechanic, a ton of potential, and very little pay-off equal a game that’s destined for a quick decent into the depths of the bargain bins.