Giant Bomb Review


Fracture Review

  • X360
  • PS3

Fracture offers a future where our best hope for survival relies on making enemies walk uphill.

Well, here we are. Cybernetic Al Gore is dancing an I-told-you-so jig as global warming has caused the rising sea levels to envelop the entire United States. Luckily, with the help of terrain-deforming technology, we were able to elevate and save most of the Blue States, but the middle of America was flooded by an ocean of sadness. This essentially cleaved the US in two, and since water is a barrier which neither man nor idea dare cross, we have become a nation divided and have set to war.

The actual back story in Fracture details how the Pacificans (West Coasters) chose to augment their bodies by way of genetics, while the Atlantic Alliance (East Coasters) chose to alter themselves using cybernetics. Of course, this causes all sorts of trouble, and since the seat of government still resides in the East, the Atlantic Alliance says a big HELL NO to genetics (and Fat Burger), thus causing the Pacificans to secede from the union. In the game, you'll jump into the shoes of Jet Brody, a special unit with the Atlantic Alliance, intent on stopping this nefarious rebellion.

Making enemies climb out of holes really annoys them.
You might as well be fighting an invading army of aliens from the amount that all this actually works its way into the game. You'll be running around fighting a bunch of guys that look and sound more like Halo cosplayers than genetically enhanced supersoldiers. You also won't find yourself morally torn, debating the role of government versus freewill. Actually, the biggest question you'll probably have is “Who the hell sent me out here with only a gun that raises and lowers the friggin' ground?”

That's right: Terrain deformation is the mechanic du jour here, and your special weapon, the entrencher, will enable you to raise and lower terrain to your heart's (or the engine's) content. The idea is that being able to manipulate the terrain can give or strip away cover, giving you a huge advantage during firefights, during which you will be grossly outnumbered. The fundamental problem I found with this is that while you can certainly create a mountain of cover to shield you from incoming fire, you'll still have to either go around or lower it to shoot at your enemy. Without an easy way to pop in and out of your newly made cover you are continually exposing yourself to a barrage of pinpoint accurate enemy fire. This works the same way when you eliminate cover from your enemies and you suddenly find yourself in a “oh, hello there bullets!” situation.

You'll also find grenades which can raise or lower the ground, much like your entrencher. The unfortunate part here is that your enemies have also found them, and will constantly use them to destroy both your cover and you. While all this tearing up of the ground and cover adds a very hectic pace to the battles, it can also make them frustrating and you'll probably find yourself seeking more permanent shelter than your entrencher can build for you. While you'll also be using the entrencher to solve some puzzles here and there, its most useful application is also probably its most mundane: simply reaching higher ledges. It's a shame more couldn't be done to make the terrain deformation mechanic more useful and rewarding on the battefield.

Aside from your entrecher, you'll be able to carry your choice of two other guns. While there are more than a few options to pick up, I found that--either due to limited ammo or range constraints--there were only two or three I could rely on. In addition to your weapons you'll be granted a couple of enhancements every few levels, from your loving team back home. Some of these include a more powerful melee attack, stronger shields and the ability to jump higher. While these are probably the most helpful things you're given throughout the game, they also make you wonder why in the world headquarters just doesn't give you them all at the start?

The physics are actually pretty dang fun at times.
The game consists of three acts spread over eleven missions. While the game itself can be reasonably lengthy, a lot of that time will come from replaying the same battles over and over. Even on normal difficulty you'll find that the game can be brutal, with swarms of enemies bombarding you from every angle. Once you've finally managed to overcome your last foe in a given encounter you'll enter into the next area where you'll have to do it all again. This kind of staggered, battle to battle pacing, combined with the relative lack of variety in the enemies, can make the game begin to drag in the latter missions.

The game looks sharp, aside from a lack of variety in the units and levels. The music is maybe a little too Lucas for its own good, suited more for lightsabers and cracking whips than post-apocalyptic terrain deformation, but is solid nonetheless. The terraforming effects all look good and animate well and after a frantic battle the surrounding area will look appropriately torn up. The physics in the game are also well done, allowing you to take advantage of precariously placed explosive barrels and other objects strewn throughout the environment. Even still, a solid presentation and decent physics engine can only do so much to buffer you from the repetitive and frustrating battles that are the core of the game.

The multiplayer offers up much of the same in terms of gameplay, though this time there is even less use for the entrencher since humans over three years old rarely find themselves baffled when you vanish behind cover. You'll be capturing flags and doing free-for-alls in a pretty standard fashion. The heavy reliance on the weapons over terrain deformation makes it a little too vanilla to set it apart from other games, though.

While the game itself is technically proficient, nothing about the gameplay pushes it above and beyond that base level of proficiency. Its biggest problem comes from a clever premise with poor implementation. There's some replay value here in the multiplayer and the collection of data cells, which unlock the weapons from the campaign in a weapons testing area, but even those can get old very quickly. Once you get past the limited use of the terrain deformation you'll find yourself searching for anything new or exciting in Fracture's take on the sci-fi third-person shooter.

Vinny Caravella on Google+
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Posted by mech4399

Your first video review Vinnie?

Posted by GalvanizedNails

its really a shame. Ive loved all of day one studios previous game but it seem they focused on a single gimmick and it just didnt work out

Posted by Zuul

vinny did a DBZ game

Posted by TomboDemon

i cant read,
a video review would be nice

Posted by n1ck

roflcopter goes SOI SOI SOI SOI

Posted by Paradigmer

Dang i thought this would have been awesome!

Posted by jarryd

nice review vinny

keep up the good work

*To Jeff and Ryan*
please let vinny do more of these reviews he is actually quite good at it

Posted by TomboDemon

*To Jeff, Ryan, Brad AND Vinnie*

Posted by Death_Burnout

I sure hope for a video review, it'll just be like "BUMP" *expects confused stares*

Posted by MasterSplinter

I'm sorry you got stuck with this one, Vinny.

Posted by mrfluke
wonder if its possible to have vinny ina vid review
Posted by mrfluke
wonder if its possible to have vinny ina vid review
Posted by MeatSim

Your only moving small mounts of dirt basically with the terrain deforming weapons, they should have used it on a much larger scale.

Posted by BenderUnit22

Good review, average game. I'd probably give it a 2.5 or 3 on the GiantBomb scale. The game certainly feels much better when played on easy as you'll run into cheap deaths less often.

Posted by AndrewB

This game has an interesting yet improbable universe premise. I mean, really? Can we safely raise the terrain and still preserve our structures? And America being split in two because they're just too lazy to do the same for the middle states? I guess I can't bitch because I'm really not sure what their reasoning is behind that, but still...

Posted by kitsune_conundrum
"Fracture offers a future where our best hope for survival relies on making enemies walk uphill."
So perfect.
Posted by giyanks22

I'm bummed, because I thought this would be awesome

Posted by MKHavoc

This is pretty much what I expected it.

Posted by alexl86

I'm bummed, because this seems to be exactly what I thought it'd be.

Posted by ashton

no surprise, the demo was absolute trash

Posted by jangofett88

Vinny. The time has come to spill your guts in front of the camera!

Posted by Brackynews

Well then... I guess I'd rather play Timeshift.

Posted by SpikeDelight

It sure is effiecient to give humans the ability to throw grenades, probably the least accurate weapons in the world, that can deform terrain! Buildings would crumble left and right because of not only human error but the grenade bouncing, rolling, misfiring, etc. It's such an idiotic premise I don't know how this game got past the concept phase. Even using small arms to deform terrain is stupid. That's a job for some kind of satellite with a laser targeting system, not guys on ground level!

Posted by pirate_republic

Nice review Vinny.

Posted by RenegadeSaint

I can hear a lot of people saying "I told you so" right now.  I think everyone wanted this game to do something unique, but realized it was gonna fall short.

Posted by daniel_beck_90

decent review Vinny 
and unlike what Lucas Art believed  fracture really sucks , that is for sure

Posted by jakob187

Sounds like you and me were eye-to-eye on this one, Vinny.  Damn fine review, as well.  Good read.

So I'm not the only one that thought the Pacificans looked a little too much like Covenant?  LOL
Posted by Gregomasta

Finally, I want to see the full spectrum of Vinny faces.

Posted by selfdestroyer

You know.. I'm ok with this this sucking... there are to many games coming out this month and next.. I just don't have that much sick time saved up at work. SOCOM and Dead Space will just have to do for now.

Posted by dezvous

I think Fracture would be one of those perfect bargain bin titles that ends up being a HUGE blast since you only paid 20 or less bucks for it. The demo was a lot of fun.

Posted by Alphazero

I dunno, Vinnie... I just finished the second act and I'm liking it. Not the most original thing in the world, particularly if you've played lots of Gears and Halo, but I'm having fun with it.

It is hard on occasion, but I don't see that as a bad thing.

Posted by MattyFTM

Damn, I was hoping this would be good, but I always kinda expected it to have big flaws.

Posted by StaticFalconar

Games like this and other FPS with gimmicks (timeshifters, Haze, etc), they all seem ok on paper, but really doesn't warrent an actual game.

Posted by JoelTGM

I could tell just by the animations and graphics that the developers didn't put much effort into this one, or at least some of them didn't.  The idea behind it is pretty cool, but they didn't go far enough.

Posted by Coldbrand

You had to review Fracture? You poor thing.

Posted by Tortoise

Seems like it would have been better if instead of raising small mounds of earth you could raise walls and then use those for cover.
Hell, the Quake weapon in Wipeout is a better implementation of terrain deformation than most of the stuff I saw in the demo of Fracture.

Posted by natetodamax

Good review. Thought the game would be better, but blarg.

Posted by KingOfIceland

"a solid presentation and decent physics engine can only do so much to buffer you from the repetitive and frustrating battles that are the core of the game."

This is almost the exact same problem that SW:TFU has. Looks good, has good tech behind it but relies on one gimmick that even if they made it work awesome wouldn't be able to hold up a whole game.

And they even share the same flaws: weak level design, irritating enemies, not-as-good-as-it-should-be controls and repetitive combat

Posted by CoinMatze

I hope Vinny does a Fallout 3 review. Not only because this one here is a fun-to-read and overall good review but because he's the only Giant Bomber who's played and loved the previous games.

Posted by Kohe321

This looked like a turkey to me since the first time I saw it. Terrain deformation is cool as a side effect thing in games, not as it's main attraction.

Posted by gripman

The demo was enough to convince me not to buy this game. Maybe I'll buy it one day, when I see it in the bargain bin.

Posted by skrutop

Why would the middle of the country flood under?  Colorado's like a mile up.

Posted by Irishjohn

Great review, Vinny.  Get some sleep, dude.

Eh, about what we could have expected; it's cool they tried something different, though.
Posted by hanktherapper

Lucas Arts always have great ideas for games, but can never execute the ideas.

Posted by Sanj

I wasn't sure about this game, but this review pretty much echoes my own concerns.

On a side note: Video reviiiiews!

Posted by n00bosaurusRex

Vinny in a video review? Impossible!!!

It'd be like seeing what Gordon Freeman looks like while playing half-life... my mind would implode

Posted by stones

Ah, the entrencher. The answer to a question no one asked.

Posted by CleverLoginName

The map deformation is a cool idea, I hope someone can implement it in an overall better game. Same goes with Red Faction.

Posted by The_Icon

Please Review Dead Space

Posted by MattBodega

This is a really terrific review. Obviously it's more fun to write a review of a bad game rather than a good one, but hot damn! This review is funny! And Informative!

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