PC

Game Review: Fractured Space (PC)

Space is a vast and unending.  Some say it goes on forever, but that doesn’t matter here.  In Fractured Space 2 teams battle for supremacy of a sector in space.  The main goal … to capture the opposing teams main base.  This is all done by piloting some of the largest ships in space, the capital ship.fracturedspace_a-team-space-battle-1

Fractured Space is a team-based space MOBA available free-to-play on Steam. The game pits two teams of five giant capital ships against each other in matches that highlight teamwork and strategy with MOBA-style lanes and sectors as players work toward the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy’s team base. You can also play co-op or solo versus AI in PvE.

Created by Edge Case Games, and currently available in Steam Early Access, Fractured Space is a 5 vs 5 MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) style game where 2 teams fight each other.  Edge Case Games was always thinking about what’s above, with their office plastered with Sci-Fi Posters, Fractured Space was built after the company created a different game called ‘Strike Suit Zero’.  Wanting to go in a little bit of a different direction, Fractured Space was born.  Fractured Space is all about these large ships slugging it out against one another, sometimes in close quarters, sometimes sneakily from a distance.  Gameplay can be fast, vicious, and sometimes frustrating. I’ll go into more detail on the mechanics of how it all gets put together.

Graphics
fracturedspace_explosions-3The graphics in Fractured Space are well done. Designed with great looking ships, Fractured Space doesn’t disappoint with amazing visually stunning ship, shadows and textures.  You can’t help but turn the visual details up while you play just so you can see all the ships in their glory, usually at the cost of hearing your graphics card cooling system whirl louder and louder (mine did).

 

Gameplay

Gameplay in Fractured Space is straight forward. Your main objective is to capture the opposing teams main base.  To do this you need to get there first, and their 5 zones that all play an important part in every battle.  These zones are;

  • the 2 teams Main Bases
  • Alpha, Beta and Gamma zones.

Each zone can be reached via jumping into them with the jump drive, which takes a few seconds to ‘spin up’ before it instantaneously moves you into the zone.  While the jump drive is ‘spinning up’ you are very vulnerable to attack, and you will take massive amounts of damage during this short period, so it shouldn’t be used to get out of a combat situation.  Each zone has jump points where you can choose where to come in, but these are laid out so that you can only jump into Alpha, Beta or Gamma on your side of the zone.

fracturedspace_point-defense-gameplay-screen

  • Alpha and Beta Zones

Alpha and Beta play an important role in each battle.  Each zone contains a forward base for each team and 3 mining stations.  The mining stations generate resources for each team, which in turn is used to upgrade your teams ships when upgrades become available.  The forward base is like the gateway to your home base.  In order for the opposing team to get jump access into your base, they first need to capture one, or both of your forward bases.  Once they have captured it, they can then jump into your main base and begin capturing it. The forward bases also can repair your ship, and offer you upgrades in 3 main categories: Offence, Defense and Utility. Upgrading is simple, just fly into the sphere of influence for the base, and you are given the option of either of these upgrades, and you only have to press 1 of 3 buttons to pick the upgrade.  The simplistic nature of this was designed because of the fast pace of the battles raging around you, no one has time to browse a long list of upgrade options.

  • Gamma Zone

Gamma Zone is equally as important as Alpha and Beta, but there are some differences.  In Gamma there is only 1 object to capture, and that is Gamma Station.  Gamma Station gives your entire team certain boosts to your stats when the team has captured it, but Gamma isn’t always available for capture.  Gamma is timed to be available on capture during the match, and you are given a 1-minute warning when it is going to be unlocked, and is unlocked 3 times during a match. While you can jump into Gamma at any time, most of the fighting only takes place there when it is unlocked as each team is vying for the boosts it offers.  Gamma’s boosts stay active on the team that captures it until they have all been destroyed and once Gamma is captured again.  Once Gamma has been captured for the 3rd time it unlocks jump access to the opposing teams main base.  This is done to expedite the end-game, and start to bring the match to a close. Some strategy is involved when capturing Gamma, as it isn’t needed to win the match, but it does help a lot.  Most of the time, I’ve noticed that most players will jump into Gamma when the 1-minute warning appears, but that doesn’t always mean that you have to jump there, and can sometimes be smart to finish capturing the opposing forward base first, allowing you to jump into the enemy main base while they are engaged in the fight over Gamma.

fracturedspace_gamma-battle

In my time playing Fractured Space, most of the game battles take place in Alpha and Beta zones.  There are usually obstacles in these zones like asteroids, so some strategy is needed to pilot, and fight in these zones.  These objects are not destroyable, and can be used for cover, and you can also pilot your ship into them accidentally and become stuck, which can be bad if you are surrounded and in desperate need of escape.  When in any type of match, these zones play an important role in the generation of resources as well as locking or unlocking access to the main bases, so keep your eye on them, because if your forward base gets captured, the enemy will soon be attacking your main base, and once they capture that, the match is over.

Matches in Fractured Space average about 30 minutes. They have the potential to be faster but generally because each team is comprised of evenly skilled players, the battles can seem to drag on for a little bit of time.  For me, my battles always seemed to last about the 30-minute mark, never really going over that.  Teamwork is a huge must in this game, as single ships are often not enough to deal with the opposing team, so co-operative team play was designed into the game.

Controls

The controls for Fractured Space are familiar to anyone used to WASD control schemes on fracturedspace_reaper-shroudPC games.  There is a little bit of a difference that did find a bit confusing at first, but once I got used to it I didn’t notice it anymore.  Essentially WASD would be W for forward, S for revierse, A/D would turn your ship left or right.  The SPACE BAR would move your ship upwards; CTRL would move it down.  Seems simple enough, but add in Q/E to slide your ship left or right, and it does become a little bit like finger gymnastics in order to keep your ship flying the way you want.  There is cruise control with the C key, but often you don’t want to always move forward.  The ships always flies in the direction you point them at, and always levels off.  The left and right mouse buttons fire your primary weapons, as I said, finger gymnastics until you get accustomed to it.

Each ship has 2 primary weapons, as well as a few secondary weapons or ability buffs/debuffs that suit the role of the ship.  Each weapon and ability has a cool-down period, but you can just hold down the buttons and they will auto-fire once the cooldown has finished.  Each ship has 3 secondary abilities that are activated using the keys 1, 2, and 3.  As with everything these will have a cooldown that vary’s depending on the ability/weapon and skills of your crew.  The other controls to note are static for all ships.  The 4 key activates your point defence system, useful for extremly close combat, as well as for defeating any missiles or fighters that you may encounter.  This ability is toggled on and off, and doesn’t have a cooldown.  The 5 key brings up the jump map, allowing you to jump to the different zones.  The 6 key is dedicated to jumping to your home base.  This makes jumping from Alpha to Beta quite efficient if used properly as you can’t normally jump that far in a single jump, and because of the cooldown of the jump drive ability, you can quickly jump from say, Alpha -> Home -> Beta within a few seconds by utilizing both the 6 and then 5 keys.  I hope I have not confused you yet.fracturedspace_explosions-2

So now that I have given you a more than detailed explanation of how the game plays, what about the most important part.  What part am I talking about? Well the SHIPS of course.  The main part of Fractured Space is piloting these giant ships in combat.  The ships themselves were built by 3 corporations, each one with a different style and design of the ships available. These 3 corporations are

  • USR – United Space Research (American)
  • Zarek (Russian)
  • Titan Defence Systems (Asian)

Both Titan and USR have 11 ships, while Zarek only has 8 currently available.  Remember this came is just coming out of early access, so there are aspects of the game that should change and advance as time goes on.  I am sure that more ships will be added to the game as time goes forward.

zarek_paragon-1-new-ship-for-launch

The ships themselves all fall into different classes, from light attack, heavy defence and support.  Each class determines what each roll the ship will be more suited for.  This does not mean it is tied into that roll, but the loadout of weapons and equipment will be designed around the ships class, and would be best utilized to these strengths.  When first starting the game you begin with 1 ship from each corporation, and from there, additional ships can be purchased with ingame credits, or platinum.  Credits are earned from participating in 5v5 PVP battles.  You get credits whether you win or lose, but you obviously get more for winning.  Platinum is obtained from special event drop pods, or by purchasing them from the games store for real money.  The difference between platinum and credits is 550:1, meaning for every 1 platinum, you need 550 credits.  If you have  a lot of platinum, ships can seem not that expensive, but it would be a lot of credits.

fracturedspace_purple-reignFractured Space also offers a little bit of customization for the ships in the way of skins, changing the look of the ships only.  You can purchase skins from the ingame store for platinum, as well as buy certain packages on steam (like the cadet or captains pack) which will give you several skins, and usually some platinum as well.

Each ship in the game has a crew, this is pretty uniform for all sci-fi ships.  I mean, who else would fly it.  The crew of your ship offers you a little bit of customization bonus’ to how your ship handles, such as a bonus to defence, maneuverability or jump drive cooldown.  You are given a starter crew who is more then sufficient to play for a long period of time, but you can obtain new crew members by purchasing drop pods from the store.  These drop pods will randomly choose a crew member for your barracks, but you need spend DNA to actually use them.  DNA is a 3rd type of currency in Fractured Space, and at this time it is only used to unlock new crew members and bring them into active duty.

Overview

In the end of all this, Fractured Space is both complex and simple.  It is complex in many fracturedspace_respawn-screenaspects of planning, tactics, and team-work, and simple in the basic controls and flow of the game.  Every match you play, you know what the outcome needs to be to win, and how well your team works together towards that goal, will determine if you will be the winner, or the loser.

Being a free to play game, microtransactions are an important revenue stream.  Having the ingame store use platinum, which is purchased for real money makes this simple and quick, but knowing that for the ships side of things, earning enough credits to buy a new ship is feasable, but will take a lot longer period of time.  Skins on the other hand require platinum, so if you don’t care about the look of your ship, then you never need to worry about platinum.  Of course, supporting the developers of games you like is always the best way to show them you enjoyed their game, so why not spend a little bit of money on a game you enjoy?  I have thoroughly enjoyed playing Fractured Space, and I can forsee myself playing it and enjoying it for a long time.

Check out the launch trailer below, and also a few game-play video’s.  Don’t forget to LIKE our video’s and please subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Note:

These video’s are the property of Edge Case Games, and were kindly provided to us by them.

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