LucasArts has two internally developed games for “next-gen” consoles in 2008. There was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which I wasn’t very fond of, and Fracture. I’m sure this isn’t earth shattering, but I’m not fond of Fracture either. Today, the 700+ MB demo debuted on both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live! Marketplace today and I spent some time checking out the game’s terrain deformation. My findings? Both The Force Unleashed and Fracture share very similar faults.
The Force Unleashed sported strong physics and object interaction. Fracture’s claim to fame is its terrain deformation technology; any piece of terra firma can raised and sunken with the player’s arsenal. What both LucasArts games have in common is that despite the impressive technology surrounding them, the gameplay itself isn’t up to snuff. In Fracture, there was a noticeable disconnect between the terrain deformation and the rest of the game. You could only deform the terrain in specific areas which immediately degraded the terrain deformation down to the level of cheap gimmickry.
While The Force Unleashed had Star Wars as a backdrop, Fracture settled with the terribly generic and uninspired bald space marine arrangement. I couldn’t help, but see glimpses of Mass Effect throughout the demo. However, unlike Mass Effect, the scent of cheese was more potent with Fracture’s dialogue — not as bad as Haze’s though. I’ll give it that.
I usually don’t gripe about a game’s control layout, but Fracture’s is quite the bizarre case. Sprinting with the triangle button? It felt awkward. Hopefully, the retail version will offer customization or configuration options.
So that was the Fracture demo: a short tutorial and a brief exercise to test what I have learned. You may think it’s awesome to throw a grenade into a predetermined hole and watch a giant spire of rock upwards, but not I. You may enjoy raising and sinking the earth beneath your feet, but I associated the experience to some kind of map editing tool used in SimCity 4. It’s possible that the game could open up and become an amusement park of spires and holes, but good luck trying to convince yourself to pick this up over the rest of 2008 holiday lineup. It’s unfortunate, but those are the breaks.
For more information on Fracture, visit the official website.