previews\ Jul 13, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Fracture - PS3 - Preview

E3 2007 Preview

Deformation is a great idea, but there aren't many games that have gotten it right. Fracture, one of the new non-Star Wars properties from LucasArts, is based around the concept that the world can be made a better place -- one gaping hole at a time.

Set in a futuristic world with cybernetic soldiers, Fracture is a third-person shooter with more than just a barrel of cool guns. Your bag of tricks contains a gaggle of world-deforming goodies. Some are in the form of grenades, others are applied directly to your weapon. The two most commonly seen were an implode grenade that creates a big hole and a terrain-raising grenade that forms a large, dangerous mountain that can either hurt enemies or just keep them from advancing. On its surface, the grenades may seem a little basic. But when you realize just how much of the world can be manipulated, and the number of ways that an enemy can be dealt with (multiple paths of pain or avoidance), the world deformation becomes very alluring.

Other grenades include the vortex, an energy storm-forming device that blasts a large (but not very deep) hole while damaging, if not eliminating, several enemies at the same time. The spike grenade is doubly cool, serving as both an elevator (hop on for a ride) and as a collapsing block of terrain that will crush those who are within its vicinity when it falls.

Not all areas are deformable. Building structures, 30-foot rock formations, and anything else in that size range cannot be manipulated in any way. However, since the terrain around them is free to be thrashed, you may loosen the ground underneath boulders, causing an avalanche of enemy-killing pain. In a more guided approach to lethality, players will be able to acquire what is tentatively being referred to as a "boulder gun." This weapon forms a large boulder (roughly 2 - 3 feet) that can be fired at your enemies.

As one of the most exciting games at the show, Fracture gives shooter fans a lot to look forward to in 2008. The innovations are definitely in place, but Fracture's core shooting mechanics looked very polished. This is not at all a slow third-person shooter game. In fact, the demo did not seem to leave any time for exploration. It was controlled by a developer who obviously knew what he was doing, and he never once let his character stand still.


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