The prolific studio nDreams, creator of many virtual reality games including Phantom: Covert Ops on Oculus headsets, this time delivers an exclusive PS VR announced just a few months ago via the PlayStation Blog. After a playable demo that has largely convinced, it’s time to talk about everything else. So, does Fracked have the soul of a great VR game?
We can’t say that Fracked went unnoticed. Since its announcement, communication around the title of nDreams has been almost continuous, either via the PlayStation Blog, or through a playable demo and pre-orders launched a month before its release. The game begins at altitude with the hero we play, freshly dropped off by a helicopter. Our mission is to join an isolated factory in the mountain to fight a legion of enemies from another dimension, before they invade the entire plant. We put on a helmet, we put on our skis but luckily here, there is no risk of breaking a leg.
Skiing is the first type of gameplay we face and it’s also going to be the most fun on this adventure. By leaning slightly to the sides, we can control the direction on the descent, while it is still possible to turn our head to enjoy the scenery all around. No weapon in hand for the first time, just the opportunity to learn the controls, as the speed slowly increases and an avalanche, unleashed by an enemy explosion, descends on our flank. Several vertiginous jumps later, we find shelter in a ruined chalet, and it is without our skis that we are now moving.
On foot, the controls are quite standard for the PlayStation VR. With both PlayStation Moves in hand, you press the Move button while pointing in the desired direction, while the X and O buttons on the other controller allow you to turn (choice of angular or free rotation in the options). One of the strengths of Fracked lies in its concept of cover shooting using motion gaming. made a lot of English words in the same sentence, but understand by this that you can grab most of the edges in the game environment (barriers, crates, walls etc …) and virtually lower yourself to hide behind various obstacles, while the other hand can duck enemies while remaining covered. Whether it is the pistol or the submachine gun, reloading is also done in motion gaming, however simplified compared to other action games in VR. No need to grab any magazine here, just mimic its insertion and replace the bolt, that’s it!
Did you frack my wife?
Technically, Fracked goes from excellent to rather bad. First of all the positive: the cel shading graphics render extremely well in virtual reality, and even if this artistic choice cannot compete with more realistic PS VR games such as Resident Evil 7 or Blood & Truth, we can say that ‘we have a game that pleases the eyes, even more on PS5, a console on which it benefits from a maximum resolution. Whether during the ski descents, in the outdoor combat arenas or in a cave and even during the climbing phases, you can appreciate the pretty play of shadows and light, as well as the particle effects that reinforce the ‘immersion.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the sound design, which despite the nice music and a completely correct English dubbing (French subtitles available), gets lost in an audio mush during the fights. It is then impossible to locate the enemies around us, and it is not uncommon to fail because of an ugly man who appeared behind our back and ducked us dead before we could realize it. . Actually, on rare occasions, I didn’t feel like I had a really directional sound. The sounds accumulate and we no longer know if the enemies are in front, on the sides or behind us. Moreover, it is likely that the developers are aware of this problem since they took the trouble to add a colored outline around the enemies that make noise, so that we can see their position through the scenery …
In a fraction of a second
Fracked has 8 chapters alternating small sequences of climbing the Nathan Drake, short walks, arnes or skiing. It is of course during the descents that we get the most out of it, destroying enemy jet skis which explode and literally throw its occupants at the other end of the track, dodging trees and various obstacles while possibly recovering hidden parts. (only optional item to collect throughout the game). It all ends in less than 3 hours after a boss fight, which unlocks a permanent death mode for the fiercest. It’s short…
But everything is relative, Batman Arkham VR ended in two …