Not too long ago, myself and other journalists were invited down to the LucasArts studios for some hands-on time with their newest IP: Fracture. Sequestered in the rather dark and scary QA multiplayer lab, several of my journalistic contemporaries and I squared off against LucasArts' Fracture QA team.
While it goes without saying that the QA team had the competitive advantage, the entire experience helped the rest of us get past our noob-ness and into the world of Fracture multiplayer.
More after the jump.
[Editor's note: Sorry bout the video quality. Three was some weird compression things going that we (I) couldn't figure out. Don't worry, though, the game looks fantastic, as evidenced by the screen shots.]
At first glance, the action seemed overly chaotic. The more seasoned players were bouncing all over the level using the game's terrain deformation tricks, and all I could think of when seeing so many players rabbiting around was, "This looks like TF2." Not that that would be a bad thing, but I was initially disappointed by my first impressions since I was hoping for more.
After several matches, and some sage-like tips from Senior Producer Dan Hey, I realized that, while the game initially appears to be a crazed and frenetic bounce-bounce-bounce fest, the truth is that the Fracture multiplayer is riddled with depth.
While the fast pace action that you expect from any multiplayer is there, Fracture's terrain deformation feature changes the playing field (no pun intended) by causing the player to think differently. Not only do you have to be aware of what's in front of and behind you, but also what happens to above and below you.
If you can, imagine standing on solid ground, then having that ground suddenly drop down from underneath you. Then, while you're trying to get yourself out of your new hole, the bastard who put you there throws a Vortex Grenade in for good measure. The Vortex Grenade, my friends, is a mini black hole generator that sucks in and destroys everything in its blast radius.
Vortex Grenade: One hundred percent fun to have, one hundred percent pain in the ass to get hit by.
In addition to the Vortex Grenade, there are three other grenades that can used both offensively and defensively. As we noticed from our play session, the more experienced players knew how to use these quite well. After about two hours, the rest of us caught up on our learning curve enough to put up a decent fight. Sort of.
Unfortunately, two hours isn't enough time for a person to plumb the depths that Fracture's multiplayer seems to offer. Although, it certainly was enough time for a person to realize that they want to.
Along with the deformation mechanic, Fracture offers large amount of familiar weapons and some new not so familiar ones. My personal favorite was the Black Widow, a remote detonating mine launcher that I used to trap unsuspecting enemies. Nothing feels better than blowing the crap out of unsuspecting flag grabber right as he's about to storm your camp ... sucka!
So with all the fast paced fun combined with the terrain deformation aspect, I think that anyone who enjoys a good round of online multiplayer will be more than satisfied with what Fracture has to offer. And when the game comes out, you'll have more than enough game modes and maps to keep you happy. The tight lipped PR ninjas at LucasArts wouldn't say how many maps there would be, but I may have *ahem* *ahem* heard that there will be at least five when the game ships.