Fracked is built on top of a lot of VR shooters that have come before it. But, at the same time, it’s also quite unlike anything else we’ve seen.
nDreams’ latest is a fleet-footed spectacle that has its own ideas about how to deliver super-fast action in VR. Here’s four things it’s doing differently to the VR shooters you know and love.
Fracked’s approach to weapon handling is very interesting. Like Half-Life: Alyx before it, the game keeps a gun in only one hand at all times – there’s no dual-wielding or mimicking holding two-handed rifles. Reloading is also very different; you don’t grab a clip from your pouch but it instead appears just below the gun for you to instantly lock in place and get back to the action.
The idea is to keep the game light and cohesive, not bogged down and tactical like other offerings. And it really does feel like that – Fracked is a run and gun shooter when you want it to be, with easy headshots scored mid-flight. But, whereas other snappy run and gun shooters can start to drag if they don’t put enough emphasis on VR, the game still feels in step with the platform. Plus, you’ll also have options for when you need to play defensive, too…
The other side to the action is the cover ‘system’ if you can call it that. In Fracked, you can duck in and out of harm’s way by grabbing the side of a crate or wall with your hand and then pulling yourself in and out of cover with your hand. It’s an idea that’s been explored in other games like Stormland but it works really well here given the player always has a free hand. It keeps VR’s sense of physicality going without being as demanding as getting players to physically crouch or lean themselves. It might not be as immersive as those options, but it suits the game’s fast-paced style really well.
Hitting The Slopes
You’ll likely also see some of Fracked’s skiing mechanics at this point – it’s a big focus for the game. Again, it’s designed to hammer home the game’s sense of speed and works a fair bit easier than you might initially assume. There’s no guiding your direction with the Move controllers. Instead you simply tilt your head from side to side to swerve, allowing you to keep the focus on shooting with your hands. It definitely takes some getting used to but, as you play, you’ll start to pick it up. And nDreams gradually ramps up the setpieces so that you’ll need to juggle steering down the mountain with returning fire with enemies too. It gets to be quite a handful.
Comic Book Blockbuster
Swapping out photorealism for Fracked’s cartoonish art style definitely helps set it apart from other VR shooters. The art does a great job of both playing to the technical restrictions of the PSVR headset, where finer details can be lost in the screen door effect distortion, and making for a striking experience in its own right. It genuinely does feel like you’re inside a comic book. Plus there will be enhancements for PS5 too, so you can expect to see even sharper scenes if you’re playing on Sony’s new console via backwards compatibility.