Fractured Space in a nutshell
Fractured Space is a new, multiplayer capital ship combat game being developed by Born Ready Games (the same guys that created the incredibly awesome Strike Suit Zero and Strike Suit Infinity space combat sim games for PC/Xbox). It just launched on Steam early access, but as I had access to the alpha, I’ve had a bit of time to play around with it. The concept is solid and fun, but the game is definitely in beta – there are definitely bugs (more about that in a bit).
In a sentence: if you ever wanted to replicate the capital ship combat depicted in the re-make of Battlestar: Galactica, this is your game.
Fractured Space is all about outfitting your capital ship for combat, and then, well, being combative (in an awesome space explosion way, not in a resisting arrest sort of way…). You accomplish the first part in the ‘Hangar’ screen, where you can select your crew (currently there are only two crew options, at least at level zero, and one is totally a nod to Kaylee from FireFly – nice touch, guys!), and ship (6 ships are available so far).
Each ship has three main stats: offence, defence, and mobility. Yep, the stats matter, because you will be maneuvering, firing, and taking fire each game. My advice in these early stages is to play around with them to get a feel for what you like.
“Who cares Mike, get to the fun part already!” FINE, but only because you twisted my arm! Obviously since you’re in space, you have a full six degrees of freedom in which to move (W,A,S,D, CRTL, space). Weapons tracking is really neat too – because your turrets have a transition time, you have a realtime mouse indicator and a circular targeting reticle. The reticle indicates where your turrets are pointing, and ‘lags’ behind your realtime mouse indicator by a few seconds, which is the time it takes the turrets to achieve a firing solution. Very cool. More details below:
Fractured Space is multiplayer 4v4 only currently – I don’t believe there is a single player planned, or at least not announced as of yet. Big ups to BRG for emphasizing multiplayer!
You spawn into an asteroid-filled map (I think there is only one map currently, or at least I’ve only seen one) with 5 zones that you can hyperspace between. Once in game you have a primary weapon (currently the only option is a flak screen, BSG style!), secondary weapon (a railgun / mass-driver type weapon with a long cooldown but little to no travel time) and 3 three special abilities.
Fractured Space Early Access – 1
Fractured Space Early Access – 2
Fractured Space Early Access – 3
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Fractured Space Early Access – 9
Fractured Space Early Access – 7
Fractured Space Early Access – 8
Because you’re moving a lot of mass around, your ship takes a while to, say, turn 180 degrees several seconds, although it depends on the ship. Remember that space isn’t a 2-dimensional playing field: using the Z-axis can lend you an advantage if you force other players to react to your heading. Because you have both a movement and a firing solution delay, you can ‘get the drop’ on opponents who aren’t used to thinking in 3D. Using asteroids, etc as cover is also a big part of combat.
In addition to your standard drive, your ship also has FTL abilities – press ‘4’ to charge hyperspace drives. During the charging process you can move as usual, but you will take increased damage from enemy fire. Your engineer will alert you when the drive is fully charged, and you can hyperspace to one of the five sectors on the map.
Strategery (aka Strategy)
The goal is to destory the enemy team’s station. Each map has resource stations that can be captured by being in the vicinity. Resources allow you to upgrade your ship in-game at your base station or in ancillary stations that your team has captured. Enemy stations pack a lot of firepower, so rushing type strategies don’t really work because you’ll need some decent armor to survive and destroy the enemy base station. There is respawn if you are killed, the game isn’t over until one team’s base station is destroyed.
What I think
I think Fractured Space is a really neat idea! I love the fact that someone is actually making a capital ship combat game (or two someones if you count the upcoming Dreadnought).
I am a bit concerned about the multiplayer-only aspect: not because I dislike multiplayer (definitely the opposite, we need more multiplayer space combat games!) but because the fanbase for skill-based space combat games tends to be quite small. Yes, I know Star Citizen has garnered oodles of cash, but I guarantee you the vast majority of those players aren’t going to be partaking in space combat, even if they think they will be. Space combat is hard – and most people dislike hard games. As a Descent and Freespace series veteran I think they’re all total pansies, but it doesn’t change the fact that the harder the game, the smaller the playerbase typically is. So, there is a risk that you won’t be able to find people to play with.
The above concerns being said, if no one can play a game that hasn’t been made, and I greatly appreciate any contribution to space gaming, especially multiplayer space gaming!
For the record, I do hope a single player campaign will be part of the official release.
Do I buy it or not?
Because Born Ready Games has already shipped two incredible titles and is actively seeking and implementing fan support and input, Fractured Space is definitely worth $9.99. That’s about the price of what Hollywood gouges you for to make you watch complete crap, so instead use it to pop out from behind an asteroid with a flak screen while yelling “ACTION STATIONS, ACTION STATIONS!”. Sweeeet.
If you do buy the game, keep in mind that when they say early access, they mean it. Don’t bash or flame them for this – instead, take advantage of the Fractured Space bug reporting system here. I’m not sure why they didn’t just put this on a subdomain, but I guess that’s my internet marketing side coming out, thinking about things like domain authority when I should be thinking about hull integrity…
PS. Oh awesome space game devs at Born Ready Games, please create more DLC for Strike Suit Zero. WTB more space combat. Thank you.
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