Backlogged: Fracture

There are so many games, both in this generation and last, that I haven’t gotten around to playing. Because I’m a sucker for sales, I’ve accrued a huge backlog of games and sometimes I like to dig back into the archives when I pick what’s next to play. Even though these games might be older, I still feel some of them are worth writing about. That said, I’m not totally sure what format I’d like to use for “Backlogged” posts. This one is a bit experimental, so bear with me.

Background

Fracture was developed by Lucasarts Entertainment for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, and was released in 2008. The game is a third-person shooter that follows the adventure of super soldier Jet Brody as he takes on the Pacific Alliance and its genetically altered army. Of course, this takes place in the future, after the expansion of the oceans (due to the melting ice caps) causes the mid-United States to flood under water. Luckily, land-altering technology was developed just in time to elevate the western and eastern coasts of the nation before the flooding hit, salvaging civilization in those areas. However, the water caused a physical and political divide, with the western half of the US developing human genetic enhancements that the eastern half disapproved of and banned. If you haven’t guessed, Jet Brody fights for the east against a number of deformed, misshapen, and crazily altered soldiers to save the nation and maintain the sanctity of humanity.

As of now, Fracture is selling for about 99 cents in most used-game stores, while it was originally slated at around $40-$50 at first release. I picked up the game at that low sub-dollar price myself and have been playing over the past few days, so I can give some personal insight into what gameplay is like.

When Fracture was first released, it faced a slew of mixed reviews – and for good reason. There are quite a few good and bad qualities that this game possesses; whether or not they make or break the game for you really depends on personal preference.

The Bad:

– The main character, Jet Brody, is almost a mockery of every other epic game character in video games. He attempts to be a combination of all your favorite heroes, without coming close to being as good as any of them. The name itself kind of feels like something taken out of a “Best Hero Name” book.

Ah, the ever-so-generic Jet Brody.

– The story line is lacking. A futuristic war, pitting genetic alteration against purism, could have been a really in-depth, intense, and motivating plot line. The potential was there. There was a lot of room for development in the story, and for whatever reason, the game developers chose to let the overarching plot run flat.

– This game is hard. I don’t claim to be very good at video games, but even watching more experienced players take on some of these levels is excruciating. You die A LOT. Sometimes, it literally feels like you’re taking on hundreds of opponents, stuck in one position for twenty to thirty minutes. Well, that’s because you are. A single battle can consist of waves upon waves of opponents, to the point where it just gets exhausting and frustrating.

The Good:

– There are some pretty innovative game mechanics in Fracture. One of the primary weapons that you use throughout the game is a terrain modification gun. The gun lets you raise and lower the ground, based upon which button you hit (to a certain point… it limits you at a certain height/depth, which is absolutely fine). With the gun, you can manipulate the area around you, which is useful for creating cover and throwing enemies off balance in a gunfight. The gun and terrain changes also allows the game developers to throw in some interesting puzzles, where you have to figure out just how to manipulate the Earth to progress into the next area of the mission. It’s a lot of fun.

– The weapons and grenades are awesome. First of all, there are a wide variety of rocket and grenade launchers in the game. I, personally, am in love with grenade launchers, so I had a lot of fun with these weapon choices. The guns are also introduced at a well-thought-out pace. A lot of games often throw a bunch of options at you, which leaves you confused and disoriented – you never really have a chance to master each gun. The way the guns are laid out in Fracture, you have plenty of time to get accustomed to the different guns, and you always have plenty of options to decide which you want to use. The grenades are awesome in and of themselves. Three of the grenades are used to manipulate the terrain. One grenade lowers the land, one elevates the land, and one sprouts a giant spike where the grenade is thrown. When thrown tactically, these can be used to thwart enemy maneuvers, and even solve puzzles like raising and lowering bridges. My favorite grenade, though, is the vortex grenade. As its name hints, the grenade creates a giant vortex, which sucks in any nearby enemies or objects and obliterating them all. Awesome to stand back, chuck one, and watch the carnage. It’s reminiscent of some of the grenades in Destiny.

– The game is gorgeous for it’s time. Fracture came out in 2008, and it still holds its own against some newer games that I’ve played. When I get bored of shooting the waves of enemies, sometimes it’s nice to step back, take a look around, and take in the level of detail and design in the graphics – something that’s easy to appreciate when you consider how old this game really is.

The Weird:

– This isn’t necessarily good or bad, but the soundtrack of the entire game is very reminiscent of the Star Wars soundtrack. Obviously, this is because the game was developed by Lucasarts who (if you live under a rock) was responsible for the Star Wars universe. Sometimes, the soundtrack makes the game feel insanely epic. Other times, the similarity to Star Wars just feels a little odd and unfitting.

Final Verdict

Some people have condemned this game for its faults. But, if you can look past those negative point, and if you’re looking for a shooter that’s a little bit different than the rest, this isn’t a bad game to pick up. I often found myself having fun (when I wasn’t frustrated) and for 99 cents, I can’t really say I’m that disappointed in the game. This is definitely worth giving a second look.


Feature image from Reborn Online
Character image from Kikizo Archives

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