Fracture PS3 / Xbox 360

Fracture PS3 / Xbox 360
In this day and age, every gamer’s hoping for something different, especially in the shooter arena. After playing the Resistances, Gears of Wars and Halos, we’re all starting to feel like we’ve been there, shot that. LucasArts knows this, so they’ve given us Fracture, which has a game play mechanic they can legitimately call groundbreaking.

Fracture takes the third-person shooter genre and adds a Portal-esque element: the ability to build hills or dig holes with the pull of a terrarform trigger. So you can create cover in the midst of a fire fight or crawl under a fence to progress through a stage — it’s actually more fun and less gimmicky than it sounds — but mostly you’re just moving across levels shooting all the dumb AI that get in your way.

Those soldiers you’re killing are from the Republic of Pacifica, the western half of a no-longer United States, which has been split in two by rising water levels from global warming. Melting ice caps have caused the Mississippi to flood the central states and the government invented terraformimg technology to build massive mud barriers to keep the water at bay. The conservative east has renamed itself the Atlantic Alliance and are intent on warring with their liberal counterparts out west over the Pacificans’ use of genetic modification.

Yes, there are probably more important things to worry about in such a post-apocalyptic setting — especially since the Atlanticans are all about cybernetics, which seems just as guilty of messing with the bod God gave ya — and that’s where the game falters. The Second Civil War back-story, penned by a couple writers from the late, lamented TV show Jericho, is full of potential but the narrative simply isn’t given a big enough role to carry the generally generic game play (outside of the whole hill/hole thing).

Despite their best intentions, Fracture is not the lifeline LucasArts needed to wean itself off the Star Wars teat. Its original setting and terraforming game play hold promise but with its story getting short shrift, Fracture doesn’t leave a deep enough impression. (LucasArts/Day 1 Studios)