Sunday, January 20, 2008

Preview: CES Impressions: Fracture

One of the most creatively bizarre shooters this year, Fracture is literally groundbreaking

One of a handful of interesting titles that LucasArts has slated for 2008, Fracture has its own draw: you can "fracture" the earth. That's the focus of this shooter.

Set in a bizarre world futuristic underworld, Fracture takes advantage of an interesting new feature that allows you, the player, to deform the ground beneath your very own feet.

It's 2090 and globing warming has led to some rather nasty stuff, particularly genetically engineered humans and California-led tectonic weapons research. The main character in Fracture, Jet Brody, former seedy gang-banger who is now helping the military fight the good fight against a rogue group of the Pacificans.

Armed with a fancy, high-tech armor suit, Jet looks prepared for battle. In this particular demo, he was dropped under the San Francisco Bay to get to the Pacificans. The developers on hand from Day 1 made sure to use plenty of terrain deforming maneuvers to show off the handy feature in a number of ways.

The simplest way to mess with the earth is to use the nifty "entrencher" tool that can easily boost up the ground beneath you. But other guns and explosives can also mess with the ground, including grenades. The entrencher is the most focus and precise way to deform; it's especially useful in solving environmental puzzles like reaching creating vertical humps to access out-of-reach areas.

Jet's suit provides a handle rechargeable shield, and looks ultra cool. But other than its protective purposes, LucasArts is keeping the lid sealed on anything else to suit might be able to do, or even how it came about.

In the demo, Jet had to disable some guns and most of the action that ensued showed off the deformation technology. Other than making the ground move up, you can use it to move beneath the surface to create tunnels or holes to work under a physical obstruction. Even cooler is that you can fire your entrencher directly at your feet to do a nifty little hop maneuver--something that wasn't even intended by the designers. Oh, and you can also pull the ground out beneath enemies' feet, sending them flying like rag dolls.

Other highlights included a grenade-like device that sucked foes right into a vortex, and loads of more traditional gun-power that served the more conventional way to mow people down.

Fracture is lined up for release this summer.

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