Preview: ‘Fracked’ is Shaping Up With a Great Art Style and Chunky, Satisfying Combat

  • Preview: ‘Fracked’ is Shaping Up With a Great Art Style and Chunky, Satisfying Combat

    updated 1 week, 6 days ago 1 Member · 1 Post
  • Anonymous

    July 21, 2021 at 10:20 AM

    Fracked, the upcoming PSVR exclusive from developer nDreams, is now due to launch next month, and today we got our first hands-on time with the game thanks to a new demo that’s available today.

    Fracked leans clearly 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, climbing, and some more novel thrills too.

    The first thing you’ll experience in the demo is a relaxing downhill ski while being pursued by an avalanche. It’s somewhat surprising to see skiing in the game, as the rollercoaster-like motions aren’t generally comfortable in VR. Granted, in this case nDreams seems to have taken care with 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 introduces you pretty quickly to combat. You’ll find a semi-automatic pistol which, thanks to unlimited ammo, seems like it’ll be your go-to backup gun.

    While Fracked is by no means aiming for realism, the game features simplified manual reloading that so far feels really good. There’s already a lot on your plate with the game’s locomotion (which has to overcome the lack of sticks on the PS Move controllers), so the simplified reloading fits in nicely. Rather than asking you to juggle mags, a new magazine will automatically float next to the gun and simply needs to be inserted before chambering the gun.

    While I’ve seen similar systems in other VR games, the implementation here feels quite good. It manages to be easy to do without taking away the visceral feeling of manually reloading your weapon. This is surely helped by solid sound design, good hand poses and forgiving grip points. If you peer into the side of the magazine it will become transparent and show you how many rounds remain inside. Though 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’ll be doing more with your hands in Fracked than just pulling the trigger and reloading. The game uses a sort of grab-based cover system which allows you to grab any nearby cover to easily move yourself in small increments to peek around corners or over cover while leaving your other hand free to shoot. In practice it’s very natural and also works as an effective alternative to real crouching or a button-based crouch. It’s a simple and smart idea that I wouldn’t be surprised to see adopted elsewhere.

    From the guns we’ve had a chance to use thus far, Fracked has a deliciously chunky feel to its combat, both in the reloading and the shooting. Although enemies can definitely tank a handful of shots, the animations, effects, and sounds help sell the action quite well.

    Between the fighting Fracked mixes things up with climbing, zip-lining, and some one-off activities. Beyond skiing, another one-off we saw in the demo is controlling a crane to clear an

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