Fractured Space was initially released on November 20 as an early access game on Steam by Edge Case Games. The developers have offered some interesting insight into how the game will eventually look and play, although they do not have a firm release date as of yet. Is the game in its current form interesting enough to draw people back come launch day?
One thing that becomes evident very quickly is that the scale of the environments here are massive. The manoeuvrability of the colossal ships depend on the large playing field, but it is a feat that is pretty impressive. The sheer scope and size of Fractured Space’s presentation gives off a realistic representation of the vast, quiet depths of space. The physics and movement of various objects, such as the ships, asteroids, and bases, also feel accurate and controlled.
The size and speed of the game offers its strategy element a real chance to shine. Open playing fields combined with a steady, streamlined speed, minus the typical oil slick speed of most games, allow players a chance to plot out their attack formations. The set-up is essentially to take down an enemy base before you, your team and your own base are destroyed. It is a sort of capture the flag approach, except with lasers.
What players have to keep in mind is that, unlike capture the flag, enemy bases will be firing at you. They aren’t slow or meek about it either; boasting exceptionally high HP and armour that will take a strategic approach and a strong team to cut through. The essence of this combat is essentially the meat of the game and the variations that can come from each experience prevent it from growing stale. With more maps, ships and other content being touted for full release, it will be interesting to see what else Edge Case Games has in store.
Currently, Fractured Space features six ship variants: Sniper, Flagship, Assassin, Frigate, Hunter and Disrupter. Each ship offers its own play style, boasting different armours, weapons and overall designs. For what is available currently, the design of the ships themselves is fairly impressive. It’s worth noting that Fractured Space does look rather nice. The neon shaded lights juxtaposed with the darker, grainier textures of open space and asteroids does put the game right up there with modern science fiction-based art. The actual build of each ship might feel a bit familiar to long time sci-fi fans, but it appears that the developers are fans themselves and it shows in the construction.
The game currently offers five vs. five team battles as its main mode of play. Multiple maps and sectors are planned for full release, as well as two combat teams to control the players’ ships. As it stands right now, the gameplay mechanics are all pretty top notch. All the controls feel especially responsive and controlling the ships feels natural.
Pacing wise, players have a warp feature they can use to make a speedy retreat back to base or to get out of Dodge when feeling overwhelmed. On the other hand, the cool down for the warp is quite long, so instead of using it as a means to rage-quit the field, hardened strategists will find it comes to the rescue when all options have been exhausted.
The amount of thought that has gone into how the Fractured Space feels, handles and responds to players is impressive. Edge Case Games have made it a priority to respond to players’ requests and input; an admirable goal that seems to be paying off.
In short, Fractured Space is interesting, fun, paced well and holds more surprises yet to come. Even for the few people on staff who don’t care for slower strategy-based combat, it has made a positive impression and many of us can’t wait to see more. The only downside is that we’ll now all be making Zero Wing jokes for awhile.