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
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.