Done Playing: Fracture Demo (Xbox 360)

For all its terrain deformation and “cutting edge” technology, Fracture immediately reminds me of the old Xbox game, Pariah. If you don’t remember that first-person shooter it’s probably because you got it confused with every other sci-fi FPS from the early 2000’s. The problem with both games is that they try to pack in every popular action game cliche and wind up being completely unmemorable for it. Let’s do the Fracture game design checklist:

  • Emo sci-fi commando: Check!
  • Shiny metal body armor with regenerative shields: Check!
  • Two-weapons-at-a-time combat: Check!
  • Shaky over-the-shoulder perspective: Check!
  • Genetically enhanced enemy soliders: Check!

Seriously, the list just keeps going. Where Pariah was an uninspired Halo clone, Fracture is an uninspired Gears of War clone. Yes, it has mildly interesting terrain deformation that would’ve been mind-blowing in 2005 but even in the demo it boils down to guns and grenades. The only difference here is that the explosions deform the terrain, but the results are the same as any other game: exploded enemies.

I was more intrigued by the setting which sees you traipsing through Alcatraz — wait for it — in the far-flung future where the San Francisco bay is dried up and the Golden Gate Bridge spans over a forest! But the story built around this retro-future landscape quickly finds its way back to the narrow and well-trodden path of sci-fi action cliche. A disillusioned good guy has rebelled against the other good guys and is now fighting a guerrilla war with his genetically modified super soldiers.

It’s so uninteresting that I can’t even see myself renting it; I could barely finish the demo. Sorry LucasArts, I’ll save my cash for that mysterious new Indiana Jones game (or another Maniac Mansion).

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