Product Type: Activision Xbox 360 games
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You Cannee Change the Laws 'O' Physics
Fracture (Xbox 360)
Member Name: samueltyler
Fracture (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Interesting concept, fun weaponary
Disadvantages: Just another run and gun game, wasted potential
I have ranted about George Lucas before, but that is not going to stop me - the man is a pie fingerer. That's right! He always has his fingers in many pies. In fact, I have heard rumours that he has special pastry made for his pies so that he has easy access for his money swollen digits. With fingers entrenched Lucas likes to close his grasp destroying the pie and all the good that once was. CRUSH - go the Star Wars pies; watch as millions of 30-somethings lose their dreams. SPLAT - the memory of decent Indiana Jones films to be replaced with a 2008 farce. But wait. Sat in the corner of the Lucas patisserie sits one untouched delicacy - a computer game pie. Lucasarts has always been free of their monikers influence until - SPLERG! Lucas closes the computer game studio he owns, stilting the memories of games such as 'Monkey Island', 'Day of the Tentacle' and 'Grim Fandango' to name just a few. Could one of the last two games released by Lucasart give hope, when all hope seems lost?
'Fracture' is a third person action game that sees you play a fighter in a future civil war in America. The East and West coast are attacking one another over the touchy subject of genetic engineering. The East have decided to concentrate on manipulating their cells to empower them, the West by better technology. You are on the side of the West and must use a series of weapons designed for future warfare.
The main selling point of 'Fracture' is the land deformation physics. Lucasarts sold the game on the ability for the character to raise or lower the earth around him. This is used in a series of puzzles, but also as a means of defence and attack. Need some cover; throw a land grenade and the floor pops up to protect you. Throw a different type of grenade and a giant spike forms out of the ground and kills the enemy. In essence the game is made or broken by how good this mechanic is. Unfortunately, it's merely ok. The puzzles are not hard enough and the fighting is little more than frantic throwing and shooting - not really a new type of gameplay. In fact the physics have a minimal impact and the game ends up being a decent, but bland, 3rd person shooter. (3 out of 5)
Probably one of the most neglected areas of the computer game industry is the story and character development. The most you can say for Lucasarts in 'Fracture's case is at least they tried. The war over genetic modifications is interesting enough, but it's probably only an excuse to have people shooting each other. The main character is very bland, and the token attempt at introducing a love interest falls flat. (3 out of 5)
In the modern era the average length of a game seems to be around 10 hours. Once more 'Fracture' is distinctly average in that it is about 10 hours long. I think this is about right as the weak concept of raising the floor would not have lasted much longer. The achievements on the 360 version of the game may give some people added value as you will probably need at least two playthrus to get the 'kill all X number of people with X gun'. With the online mode being a bit quiet there is little more than 10 hours in this game for most people. (3out of 5)
'Fracture' has a solid online system that sees you play traditional games such as Deathmatch using the 'Fracture' game engine. Essentially, the set up is same as the single player game, but you are in a confined maps and fighting humans. When I went online, soon after the games release, it was already looking dead and I assume now that no one is playing. This is too bad as it not awful, especially the fact that online kills count towards the achievements for using different guns. (2 out of 5)
I actually think that the graphics are of a high standard, probably due to the limited level design on offer. It's a technical feat that they managed to get the physic engine to work with no tearing or glitching. Perhaps the act of floor deformation may not look as sexy as people may have hoped, but it does pose interesting possibilities for the future. You feel that with 'Fracture' we are a step closer to completely destructible scenery. (4 out of 5)
This is perhaps the one area that I feel let down most, not because the level design is completely awful, but because so much potential was wasted. With the ability to manipulate the ground the possibility for intelligent puzzles is huge. However, Lucasart forgo this in favour of making the physics engine just another weapon in a generic 3rd person fighter. Too many times in the game you are shuffled along a corridor only to meet a dead end. You solve this quandary the same way you did the last 10 times by shooting the floor and revealing the inevitable underground tunnel - pathetic. (2 out of 5)
With the power of Skywalker Ranch behind them Lucasarts went all out with the music in 'Fracture'. The score is incredibly 'Star Wars' like and many times you think you are listening to tracks that could have been used in 'Star Wars: Force Unleashed'. In fact, I would not be surprised if they were tracks dismissed from that game! The vocal talent is not on the same level, but is still professional enough. The problem is that the voices don't retract from the blandness of the characters. Luckily, the music makes up for it. (3 out of 5)
'Fracture' sits firmly in the bracket 'also ran'. The initial idea of having a powerful physics engine that would allow texture manipulation was an exciting one. Therefore, it adds to the sense of bitter disappointment that the game ends up being nothing more than a run and gun game. This run and gun element is in fact ok and if you go into the game not expecting much you will probably appreciate the experience. However, the game does not stand out from the crowd and for that reason I would be unwilling to pay more than £20 for it. (3 out of 5)
Maker: Lucasarts RRP £50
Amazon uk £17.99
Summary: Could have been so much more...
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