Aside from Zombies, Space games are making their way up the popularity charts as a gaming flavour of the year.
Fractured Space, released on November 2014 and currently in Early Access is here, looking to capture and hold a position in the gaming galaxy.
There isn’t a great deal of story or history in the Fractured Space universe at this time, and I’m not sure that it necessarily a bad thing, the game is all about the here and now, and who needs a reason to jump into a galactic battlecruiser an fight Red versus Blue with a shoot now don’t ask questions policy?
Controlling a battleship teamed with up to 4 pilots, with the main objective being to capture and control space ports across 5 sectors whilst stopping the opposing team doing the same, and eventually creating a path to the enemy’s base which is required to be destroyed to reach the end game. The gameplay is quite slow an tactical, it can be a case of taking on the enemy head on, or avoid each other in a race to the enemy base, in order to get there you first need capture and control 2 points in either the Alpha or Beta sectors, there is also a central Gamma zone, which opens up after time an if controlled offers a resource boost, but other than that this area of space holds no other interest and the game can be won without laying claim to it.
Winning can be achieved by the awesome amount of weaponry and firepower available dependent on your chosen ship type from the generous range available in the hanger before you go into battle, currently there is a sniper, stealth, close range, heavy and general support classes, each with their varying stats in offense, defense and mobility.
The classes are quite self explanatory, heavy has low speed and mobility and is a big target but can take a lot of damage, the sniper picks off targets at great distances and the stealth has a cool cloak capability to sneak up on your opponents or to escape from heavy fire when the space shit hits the fan.
The control system is simple to pick up with the WASD looking after the directions, Shift and Control for the vertical, the mouse for aiming an firing. The display handily highlights numbers 1-6 at the bottom, for any of your specific ship abilities, 4 activates the jump drive to travel between the sectors an 5 covers a jump back to base if it’s under attack or you need a quick retreat.
Your damage meter is near the centre of you screen and reduces as you take hits, your ship also shows signs of visual damage with sections on fire, once your meter hits 0 your ship explodes an you have to wait for a respawn timer before you are returned to base in a shiny new ship with a new found hard hitting emotion for revenge.
As you progress the ships loadouts can be customised as well as the crew from which there is currently 2 to choose from who take up the important roles of captain, pilot, engineer, comms and tactical, who frequently pop up in game to give you status reports which is neat feature and creates a feeling that it’s not just you being a spaceship. It would be good to see an expansion on this either with a greater number of crews to chose from or maybe even an option to buy/hire crew members with various levels of skills or attributes which may have an impact on your ships base stats.
As this is an online only game currently it is advised to check when the most active time is for your playing sessions, which currently recommends between 7 and 10pm UK time, I have struggled some nights to find a game, not being able to find a server to field 2 squads or maybe just enough to field a 2 versus 2 game, hopefully as the community builds this should become less of an issue.
There is also an opportunity to play with the makers on a community playtest which is usually on a Thursday, you can also jump on teamspeak where the details can be found on the Fractured Space forum and chat either tactically whilst you play or generally in the relevant channels. I’ve listened in to a couple of sessions now and they have a lot of drive for this game and are more than happy to answer questions thrown at them and sound a friendly and approachable group.
The game itself is fun to play and teamwork is definitely recommended, some of the ships I felt were slightly unbalanced but these I imagine are being tweaked behind the scenes on a regular basis based on player feedback and how the games pan out. Currently there is only the one game mode, in the future I’d like to see this expanded as well as maybe a higher player count for full scale battles or even a smaller maybe 2 on 2 cat and mouse type mode on a reduced playing field.
Fractured Space developed by Edge Case Games is currently £6.99 on Steam, and if you’re into online only multiplayer space battles even in it’s Early Access phase and feel you want to contribute it’s worth taking a look now and make space in your calender for Thursday evenings. For anyone else it’s worth keeping an eye on maybe adding it to the wish list and climbing aboard when the player base can guarantee you a game at your convenience.