‘Fracture’ offers a new gaming experience

By Ryan Chodora

Fracture is a Frankenstein of games.

It borrows a lot from other AAA titles, but it also adds a new important gameplay element to keep things interesting.

Developed by Day 1 Studios and published by LucasArts, Fracture was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on Oct. 7, 2008.

Fracture is a third-person shooter that takes place in the faraway future–2161, to be precise. Global climate change has altered the surface of the planet; the Midwest is under water. The U.S. has been divided between two factions: the Republic of Pacifica and the Atlantic Alliance. It’s clear pretty quickly that the writers of Fracture lacked ingenuity.

The Pacificans have turned to genetic enhancement to better their lives, while the Atlantic are determined to better humankind with improved technological advances. While both sides have always looked at each other with hate, the last straw was when the president of the Atlantic Alliance outlawed the use of genetic modification. Cue the civil war.

You play as Jet Brody. Yes, that is his real name. His name is as boring and cheesy as his dialogue. Brody is an Atlantic solider hell-bent on stopping the Pacifican advancement across the country. Brody’s major advantage is his Entrencher gun. The Entrencher gives him the ability to raise and lower earth at his every command.

While Fracture’s story leaves something to be desired, its core gameplay will ultimately be the deciding factor of its worth.


Fracture runs on the Despair engine, and the game fluctuates from good to moderate to just bad.

Fracture is plagued with framerate issues during heavy action sequences, which are frequent frustrating.

Other than the framerate issues, Fracture looks pretty good. Brody is well designed, although he looks suspiciously similar to Commander Shepard from Bioware’s Mass Effect series. The explosions look nice along with the environments.

With that being said, the Pacifican character models are a joke, they’re just men in green and yellow suits. Why does Brody’s armor look so defined, while his enemies look so generic?

The cut-scenes are absurd. They look horribly compressed and they are an embarrassment to the term “high definition.” I was tempted to give my monitor a cold shower after displaying such a mess.


Fracture was consistently mediocre in the audio department. The musical score is weak; the sound effects are generic and uninspired.

The voice work isn’t too bad; it’s the terrible script that’s so disappointing.


Up until this point, Fracture seems to be a quagmire of disappointment. Luckily, the gameplay turns things around.

Fracture changes the level of gameplay by offering a new element: terrain deformation. You can deform the terrain in several different ways. The Entrencher is a weapon that can raise and lower the ground on the fly. The Entrencher is often used for mini-puzzles, like clearing the dirt out of an underground tunnel or building a ramp to reach the top of a building. There are also terrain deforming grenades which change the surface of the battlefield.

Changing the surface of the environment to this degree is something I haven’t seen before. It’s like the developers gave you their dev kit and said “Have fun!” There is a lot of fun to be had using the various terrain deforming weapons. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel the developers could have done a lot more to incorporate these abilities, the terrain puzzles are too obvious and repeated.

Throughout the game, you will unlock special moves for Brody. These moves include a double jump and a ground stomp. It’s a mystery to me why these features were even locked in the first place. You don’t need to do anything special to unlock these moves; you just progress though the game normally.

The AI is pretty bad in Fracture, which leads to a game that isn’t that difficult to complete. The single-player campaign can be completed in about seven hours.

Even though the Pacifican AI is pathetic, there are quite a few different enemy types to mix up the gameplay. You’ll encounter enemies with jump-packs who fire rockets, giant brutes who will stop at nothing until you are crushed into oblivion, and the standard fare snipers and rifleman. Fracture offers a good mix of gameplay elements. There is one driving portion of the game, and it is downright bad. The vehicle does not control well; it’s a good thing only one mission utilizes the driving function of the game.

One cool side mode is Fracture’s weapons testing. You can unlock the weapon testing mode by seeking out and collecting data cells in the campaign, and you will continue to unlock new weapons when you collect more data cells. It’s pretty fun to mow down waves of Pacifican forces with various unlockable weapons. The weapon testing mode is a definite bonus to Fracture’s replayability.

Fracture does offer online multiplayer for up to 12 players, but the servers are a ghost town. I couldn’t find a single player over Xbox Live.

Round Up:

Fracture is a mess of a game. The visuals are lacking, and the audio is sub-par. The gameplay, however, is something new. I can almost guarantee that you haven’t used anything like the Entrencher in any other game before. Fracture is an old game that got lost in the shuffle, but you can pick it up with the amount of change that’s collecting dust in your cup holder. Fracture isn’t a must-play, but there is fun to be had here.