Fracture, the next PSVR exclusive from developer nDreams, is now slated to launch next month, and today we had our first hands-on experience with the game thanks to a new demo that’s available today.
Fracture Clearly leans into the shooter genre, but from our time with the demo, it looks like nDreams is aiming to shake up the format with an interesting cover system, rock climbing, and other new sensations.
The first thing you will experience in the demo is relaxing downhill skiing while being chased by an avalanche. It’s somewhat surprising to see skiing in the game, as roller coaster-like movements are generally uncomfortable in VR. Granted, in this case, nDreams seems to have taken care of the specific implementation (using a ‘lean to steer’ system) which, at least so far, seems to be relatively comfortable.
After hitting the slopes, the demo shows you the fight pretty quickly. You will find a semi-automatic pistol which, thanks to unlimited ammo, seems to be your backup weapon.
While Fracture is by no means aimed at realism, the game offers a simplified manual reloading which so far feels really good. There is already bread on the plate with the locomotion of the game (which must compensate for the lack of sticks on the PS Move controllers), so the simplified reloading fits well. Rather than asking you to juggle magazines, a new magazine will automatically float next to the pistol and simply need to be inserted before chambering the pistol.
While I’ve seen similar systems in other VR games, the implementation here is pretty good. It manages to be easy to do without removing the visceral feeling of manually reloading your gun. This is surely aided by solid sound design, good hand poses, and forgiving grip points. If you look in the side of the magazine it will turn transparent and show you how many cartridges are left inside. While unrealistic, it doesn’t feel out of place with the game’s comic book look and manages to be a useful detail to boot.
You will do more with your hands in Fracture than just pulling the trigger and reloading. The game uses a sort of grip-based cover system that allows you to grab any nearby cover to easily move in small increments to peek around corners or over cover while leaving your other hand free to shoot. In practice, this is very natural and also works as an effective alternative to a real squat or a button-based squat. It’s a simple and clever idea that I wouldn’t be surprised to see adopted elsewhere.
From the weapons we have been fortunate enough to use so far, Fracture has a delightfully chunky feel to his combat, both in reloading and shooting. While enemies can certainly fire a handful of shots, the animations, effects, and sounds help sell the action quite well.
Between the fights Fracture mixes things up with rock climbing, zip lining and some one-off activities. Beyond skiing, another unique element we saw in the demo is controlling a crane to clear an inaccessible path. This stuff can be fun breaks after constant run-and-gun, so we really hope to see more spice up throughout the full game.
One thing that also stands out in the demo is Fracked colorful and well-executed artistic style. From what we’ve seen so far, the studio has really pulled off the comic book look they are going for, and the game looks as crisp as any game could get with the resolution. dated from PSVR. Looking at the demo footage I would say the game is even better in the headset.
While the demo definitely gave me a promising impression of Fracture, one thing that worries me a bit is the comfort. The game offers a handful of comfort options, but it seems like it relies entirely on smooth locomotion without teleportation. While there are many games in which smooth locomotion is perfectly comfortable for me, the Fracture the demo stunned me a bit. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why, although I suspect it may have more to do with a wobbly ‘quick turn’ implementation that turns the player around. quick, instead of instantly, as it should be. This can be an easy fix, and we’ve given the feedback directly to nDreams.
– – – – –
If nothing else, Fracture seems filled with character of its own. The excellent art style, streamlined yet satisfying shooter, and grip-based cover system leaves a great impression that I hope will last. As long as the full game can pump up the action with a gripping storyline and solid level design, Fracture could offer an interesting experience.