When you think about some of the greatest action movies, what comes to mind? Die Hard? Rambo? Hot Shots Part Deux? What is it about action that can get us hyped up just to see what is coming next? Maybe it’s the not knowing or maybe it’s the characters themselves that really make us want to go on the thrill ride with them to see how everything is going to play out? I for one like to see how everything will play out and think if I was in that role, would I do things the same or take the risk and try something new. Action is all about having some fun. So does developer nDreams bring the thrill of the ride, the action-packed adventure, and the fun? Let’s find out with Fracked for PlayStation VR.
In Fracked, you play as a reluctant hero forced into a final stand between the planet and a legion of interdimensional enemies. Take aim and run head-first into the action as you shoot, ski, and climb your way across an extreme adventure. Now, before getting into the action and becoming the hero and wanting to shoot at enemies, there are a few things to know from the start. First, it is best to play seated experience. So find your favorite chair and get comfortable. Second, you will want to make sure your Move controllers are fully charged. You don’t want to be in the middle of the action and get hit making it game over just because you forgot to charge them now, do you? And finally get ready for all of the fun and the action, because you are about to go on one heck of a thrill ride. So with that said, let’s continue.
The first thing you will notice about Fracked is how well nDreams wants to make sure your experience is as great as can be. The focus on collaboration that is presented at the beginning to make sure the tracking is on point as can be is very well done and should be implemented like this for every single PlayStation VR game. The second thing is the controls. Some may have their own thoughts on the Move controllers, and I get it, but again nDreams made them work here in Fracked. From using the Move button with your free hand to walk and double-tap to sprint to swapping weapons with the Square button on your free hand and Triangle with your gun hand to even turning left and right with the X and O buttons, it really just works very well here. The third thing you will notice is the art style (more on this in a few) and then finally the action of everything.
When the world of Fracked opens up and you see the snow, the trees, the rocks and you have a flare gun to signal help, it’s when help comes that you realize that the action starts then as you have to start skiing down to avoid an avalanche coming behind you. I will say that skiing down the snow and regardless of how many times I hit the rocks or flew it was nothing but fun. And the part that you have to remember about skiing here, is you just look at where you want to go. Now, did that help me in my situation all the time? No. Is that even a worrying factor? Not one bit. Because as you get into the later levels with more skiing and using your weapons, you start to really appreciate that even though how simple this should be, it’s all about having fun within the action that counts.
Earlier I mentioned calibration and its focus surrounding it. This carries on for each new level without, at least for me, any tracking issues during the gameplay. In the game, there really are two main weapons that you can use. You have your pistol and the SMG. While the pistol really has unlimited ammo, the SMG will run out. Luckily, when you do shoot enemies, some of them will drop ammo for you to collect. So make it a point to collect as much ammo as you can. You will also find other limited weapons such as the revolver and the shotgun. Limited as once the ammo is gone, these weapons will just disappear. They do feel awesome when you shoot with them as they do really pack a punch, so use them strategically.
But reloading the weapons could not be easier. When your ammo is out on the pistol, the magazine will be highlighted and you just have to use your other hand to reload it and then slide to cock the gun and it’s that simple and works flawlessly. So again, this is not having to reach to your waste to grab a magazine, it’s just highlighted and insert it, slide it back, and you are good to go. The SMG is my favorite out of the two, as it can fire ammo like there is no tomorrow, however, even though there is an ammo count, chances are you may not be paying attention to it and only realize it’s empty when the weapon cannot fire anymore. Again, just be on the lookout for the dropped ammo and make sure to try and aim for the head when possible so you are not using more ammo than necessary.
And speaking of enemies, I really like how they bleed purple. It’s almost like they are full of some grape Kool-aid. There of course are the majority of the enemies called The Grunts, you have the Screamer who you can tell is coming for you with the battle scream and if it gets too close, it will explode, so shoot when you see them, along with a few other surprises. But one of the things that Fracked seems to have right is the covering mechanics. Being able to grab onto a ledge, rail, or even a wall and pull yourself in and out of danger feels very natural here, so use it to your advantage.
Another thing that Fracked gets correct is climbing. I am not just talking about normal climbing here. I am talking about if you can imagine your favorite action moment where the hero was hanging on by dear life with nothing but death below them and wondering how in fact, their finger grip strength became so amazing, then take that and mix it with VR and you will have the recipe for Fracked. (I apologize as I am not sure why there is a block on the top left of the screen as I did not see this while playing).
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Graphically, Fracked is pretty. It really is beautiful with the type of art style that is used here. From being out on the snow skiing to seeing the glair of the sun almost like you can imagine almost being there. The shadows vs the lighting are done very well here and when you add small things like collectible coins to find, it really makes the colors pop in VR. When it comes to sound, Fracked doesn’t leave anything behind. From the explosions to gunfire, to the music, and even the voices From Rosalez, voiced by Melissa Medina, Raymond Finch voiced by Scott Allen, and Wilson voiced by Jas Patrick all add to the action and adventure of Fracked.
There are just a few things that I would love to see added. For one, adding the 3dRudder controller. It may not be necessary, but being able to ski or moving in and out of tough situations with your feet would just be an additional level of play. Is it necessary? No as the Move controllers along with the PSVR headset are awesome for the direction and movement, but just having an additional level of control would be excellent. Second, more weapons. Yes, there are two main weapons and two limited weapons in the game and it may be enough to get through the game, but with the action that is here adding some additional weapons to add to the destruction could be a fun benefit to have. And finally, more of the gameplay. And what I mean is that Fracked can be what some will consider on the short side in regards to the amount of time it takes to complete the game. But within that time there is the action and voice acting that carries you along for the ride. It just makes you want more, so I really hope there is a sequel in the future.
Fracked brings action and adventure while taking us on the thrill ride we all need and deserve. It sets a new standard with the chosen art style, collaboration checks, and use of the Move controllers. It shows what fun can be if given the chance to let everything go and just enjoy the moment that you are in. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in life with things that may take a priority over the more important things in life. And shouldn’t we all take the time to enjoy the smaller things as well as the action and adventure that life can bring?
Fracked is out now on PlayStation VR in both a Standard and Deluxe Edtion along with a free demo on the PlayStation Store. A review code was provided. To learn more about nDreams, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter
Also, check out the Fracked interview.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to go find more of the collectible coins.