|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Day 1 Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: LucasArts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 7, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (12 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by D'Marcus Beatty
May 8, 2007 - What if, instead of just shooting at your enemies like the typical shooter, you could actually use the environment against your foes? What if you could literally create mounds for cover or create underground tunnels to get around or under obstacles? Lucasarts, with their newly pledged focus on innovation and new IPs beyond Star Wars, has decided to answer this question with their latest project, entitled simply Fracture.
The story behind Fracture is an interesting concept beyond the simple "we don't like one another so let's fight" premise that a lot of shooters have. One hundred years in the future, global disasters have destroyed the middle of the U.S., submerging it completely underwater, so all that remains are the east and west coasts. Now, in addition to being physically separated, the opposite coasts are divided on the issue of genetic manipulation. Previous uses of genetic manipulation caused horrible effects on the subjects, many of whom died horrific deaths. The Eastern Seaboard put an immediate ban on genetic modification, while the West Coast decides to secede and continue to allow experimentation. This sets the stage for another Civil War, another "brother versus brother" conflict centuries after the close of the first one.
This is where the player comes in. As soldier Mason Briggs, you'll play as a demolitions expert for the Atlantic Alliance, which are the states on the east. You're charged with putting down the rebels of the Republic of Pacifica, which are the western states allied with some Asian countries. In addition to the innovative story, Fracture is different from the average shooter in that Briggs can use the environment to his advantage. While Pacifica was focusing on genetic modifications, the Atlantic Alliance focused on furthering their grasp of technology and were able to create weapons that modify the terrain as you choose. For example, a tectonic grenade will cause the ground it strikes to rise and create a large mound. Conversely, the vortex grenade creates a hole that sucks in all surrounding objects and people.
While the uses of the tectonic weaponry has obvious offensive abilities, they also have more uses. The tectonic grenade created mound can provide cover or create makeshift stairs to reach previously unattainable heights. The spike grenade creates pillars of stone, which can be used to cross chasms. You can use your weapons to destroy terrain and buildings, solve puzzles, and even create advantages for yourself, bringing an innovative and unprecedented interactivity with the terrain for the gameplay. Of course, since Pacifica was focusing on genetic modifications, the enemies you face will have superhuman abilities to counter your tectonic weaponry, so you'll have to be careful as you make your way to your goal.
The visuals in Fracture look good, especially since the game is still early in development. Especially impressive is the way that the environment deforms and reshapes in real time, since that is a feat that has rarely (if ever) been attempted in this way. The game is viewed from the third person, which is essential to give the player a decent view of the terrain and the best way to utilize their terraforming abilities.
Since Fracture is still a year off, there is still a long amount of development time in which the gameplay could be altered and the visuals upgraded, but even at this early juncture the game's ideas are intriguing. Lucasarts is hoping that the game is the beginning of a new franchise, so they're sure to throw their full support behind the game's development. Hopefully this game winds up being as innovative as they're promising, and we'll see when it releases in the second quarter of next year.
CCC Former Co-Site Director