Fracture is one of those games that you'll want to love but can't. Even more so than LucasArts' other recent next-gen release Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Fracture will dumbfound you with endless moments of greatness followed by even more moments of vein popping annoyance. It's a game that teases you with possibilities, but rarely delivers, and it somehow manages to look solidly next-gen and woefully generic at the same time. Just as the United States has been divided in the game, our thoughts on Fracture are split right down the middle. Can a game be good and bad at the same time?
If you were describing Fracture to your typical Halo/Resistance loving gamer they'd probably be very interested. It's a third-person shooter that allows you to manipulate the ground. Dirt can be lowered and raised by firing your special Entrencher gun into the ground. One button fires off a lowering blast, another fires a raising blast. It's pretty neat. This basic idea is used throughout the game, with puzzles being solved by moving the ground, cover being made on the fly by raising the ground, pathways being cleared and enemies bamboozled. As we said, it's pretty neat and initially quite exciting.
You also have numerous weapons that work with this terraforming mechanic. Grenades come in four types, two causing explosions while lowering or raising the ground, one causing a pillar of rock to shoot out of the ground and the other causing a mini vortex of air that sucks up everything (including enemies and objects, and you if you're close enough) before imploding. The Vortex Grenade will probably go down in history as one of the best weapons ever to grace a video game, it's that much fun to use.
On top of this your standard weapons aren't too shabby either. As well as standard machine gun, sniper rifle and shotgun-alikes you'll get hold of plenty more interesting tools of destruction. Our favourites are the rocket launcher, the grenade launcher and the Rhino (we won't spoil what the Rhino does, but it's very cool). The grenade launcher, named the Black Widow, allows you to fire off four explosives before detonating them one after the other. We're not especially sadistic here at VideoGamer.com but it's hard not to smile as enemies go flying after mini explosions tear up the landscape.
The game even does a pretty good job of gradually introducing these tools, so you don't feel overwhelmed with options. You'll grasp the basics pretty quickly and it won't be long until you're crushing enemies with your ground shifting super gun. There's rarely a dull moment as you work through the sizeable three-act campaign, but something isn't right. On paper Fracture should be amazing fun, but for a lot of the time it's simply not.
Let's start with the story, something that could and should have been a strong backbone to the action gameplay. After an intro that briefly fills us in about the two sides (evil Pacificans who want genetic modification and the Atlantic Alliance good guys) we're not given much more to latch on to. A fight between those who approve of genetic modifications and those who don't has the potential for quite a lot of deep storytelling, but it falls a distant second to the endless ground deforming and explosions.