In LucasArtsâ€™ latest sci-fi shooter you play as Jet Brody, a soldier in the Atlantic army and forgettable protagonist, who looks like Resistance: Fall of Manâ€™s Nathan Hale â€“ in a civil war against the Pacific side of the US. Unfortunately, the similarities with other games donâ€™t end with a simple character likeness. Fracture is one of those games where you will pause occasionally to wonder why youâ€™ve been hit by a sudden sense of dĂ©jĂ vu. This is because it rips elements from several games - most prominently Gears of War and Resistance.
It seems like Day 1 Studios were so desperate to make a huge hit they looked at the best shooters in recent memory and plagiarized their best features. The only thing of note in Fracture is the terrain deformation. Although it has been done in older games, Fracture makes it easier using the entrencher. Need a place to hide? Raise or lower some ground at the click of a button. It can also be helpful against monsters that burrow underground, as they need to be dug up.
Story wise, Fracture takes place in the distant future, when global warming has raised sea levels and split the United States in two. Eventually the two halves - the Atlantic Alliance and the Pacificans - get locked in civil war. Your side specializes in cybernetics, hence you have an upgradeable suit, while the pacific side has genetically enhance super-soldiers - who are far too easy to kill.
Over the course of the game Jet Brody will find upgrades; some will enhance his suitâ€™s shields, while others will enhance his melee attacks and special moves - such as the entrencher jump - a variation of the rocket-jump that uses entrenchers to give him the extra boost. Some of the melee boosters make your punch so strong it renders the guns pointless, as if youâ€™re so much as a few meters away from the target you can just run up and punch them to death.
On the weapons front Jet has the usual assortment of guns to play with, from machine guns to sniper rifles and rocket launchers - but nothing really stands out. The real fun is in the grenades: Vortex grenades generate â€“ you guessed it â€“ a vortex of wind that sucks up everything and everyone nearby - including you, if you arenâ€™t careful. Another bundle of joy is the spike grenade; these raise a spike of dirt wherever they land and are used to lift doorsâ€¦ and team mates.
The ground deformation plays a big role in areas that require a bit of puzzle solving usually involving using the spike grenades to open doors or cutting off power supplies. If you get bored - and you will be after a few hours - you can use the entrencher to raise the ground below your team mates, throwing them up in the air; their AI is so bad they wonâ€™t make a sound.
Fractureâ€™s levels have the typical sci-fi shooter look, featuring next-gen brown and a dash of red in Jetâ€™s suit. Enemies come in two colours: yellow and green. The larger Pacificans have green weak points â€“ including a shameless rip off of the Berserkers from Gears of War - the Pacifican Shermen.
Overall Fracture takes parts of Xbox 360â€™s Halo 3 and Gears of War, PlayStation 3â€™s Resistance: Fall of Man, GameCubeâ€™s Metroid Prime and several other recent sci-fi shooters. Unfortunately, once youâ€™re over the novelty of ground manipulation, itâ€™s not nearly as fun as any of the above.