Fractured Space Captures Team-Based Space Warfare In Capital Fashion
In a time when esports are taking off in every corner of the video game industry, MOBAs and other online competitive games have become a popular front, but where many others are far more grounded, Edge Case Games takes to the stars with Fractured Space. This game tasks players with taking charge of a variety of futuristic and grand capital ships, joining forces with a few others, and engaging enemy teams in a cosmic battle royale for control of every strategic inch of the system. While Fractured Space might be free-to-play, it’s progression can be more than a bit slow, but it nonetheless offers up a fantastic formula for competitive space combat with a variety of very cool and interesting ships to choose from.
Starship Captain Batman, we hardly knew ye.
As Fractured Space is a MOBA, it almost entirely caters towards a multiplayer environment where players build winning compositions with other players, gain experience, and build their arsenal of tools to take to the front. That said, it also does a pretty great job of supplying players with plenty of options to learn the ropes and make sure they find the ship that fits them best. Not only that, but between different weapon loadouts per ship and crew that can offer accumulative stat boosts, there’s a lot to customize in order to tailor your playstyle into a fine-tuned machine.
At the start, Fractured Space takes you through the tutorial, getting you used to the controls and the style of game you’ll be playing. Each ship has a primary fire, secondary fire, and several abilities unique to it. The game does a good job of introducing you to what you can basically expect when controlling every ship and if that’s not enough, it also offers a couple of easy-open guides that you can use to get a look at your control mappings at any time. For what it’s worth, Fractured Space might seem confusing in the first game, but by the third or fourth, you’ve got most of what you need to zip around the battlefield with ease.
Once the controls are taught, Fractured Space guides you through its main game mode, which consists of a three lane battle between two bases, as with most MOBAs, save for the fact that Fractured Space’s lanes and bases are separated into sectors that players must jump between. The two outer lanes, Alpha and Beta, contain three mining facilities and a forward outpost for each team on opposite ends. Each area is also randomized with themed terrain like obsidian spires or ice asteroids. The main idea of the game is that players take control of these mining facilities to gain resources to level and upgrade their team’s ships, gain control of the enemy’s forward station to open jump access to the enemy team’s base, and finally capture the enemy base to win the game.
Take the enemy base and you win the day, but be sure to protect yours.
In addition to all of this there’s a center lane known as Gamma. Gamma houses a special station that opens at specific intervals of the game for capture by either team. Capturing Gamma offers a special buff to whichever team captures, powering defenses, weapons, capture rates and more depending on which iteration of the Gamma unlock it is. This is a key strategic point in the game and can easily turn the tide in favor of one team or another depending on how the skirmish goes, adding yet another layer of strategy to the conquest.
Fractured Space offers up a lot of strategic options whether you’re considering your own hangar or the battlefield itself. Have a particularly fast ship? It may be best to make a dash for the enemy forward base in Beta while your team is busy distracting the enemy in Alpha. Got a hard-hitting attack ship? Jump into the sector with your team at the last second and turn the tables on the enemy with your timely and devastating payload. Honestly, the big part of playing any MOBA is discovering cool strategies with unique characters and Fractured Space’s vast array of capital ships provide an ample variety of gameplay options.
Every ship has a niche and finding the one that suits you best is all part of the game.
Ships in Fractured Space are separated into three different companies with their own style and therein lie three different main categories. Players will find attack ships focusing on lethal damage, support ships focusing on healing or supplying buffs to other ships, and defense ships offering superior abilities to soak up damage and deliver some in return. That said, each category features little subcategories. Attack ships alone can be broken into close range fighters, long range snipers, and cloaking ships built to move stealthily, deliver their payload and disappear.
The only problem in all of these ships is if you really intend to play Fractured Space for free, progress is almost painfully slow. You can buy special currency (platinum) with real money or just purchase all thirty-one ships outright for less than the price of a full game, but earning the in-game currency (credits) can take a long time. It’s not as though this is a pay-to-win game. The ships you get at the start are pretty good and you’ll see people use them well into your time with the game, especially the Sentinel. However, not all ships are created equal. Some ships have high difficulty curves and some are just not that great in comparison to the rest of the pool. Fortunately, Fractured Space is kind enough to let you try any ship out in a firing range free of charge and see how it works without having to buy it, which helps prevent getting a ship that you won’t be able to handle in the short run. We just wish it didn’t take so incredibly long to earn the in-game credits as opposed to buying platinum.
Don't know which ship will work best for you? Take them to the firing range and try them out before you buy.
Of course, it’s good to consider building an available ships in your hangar that you can handle well in any of the categories either way. In any good MOBA, a good composition will win the day. It’s not to say that your team of five Ghosts can’t succeed, but a balanced team of attack, support, and defense ships will often do better, meaning that you should probably have at least one ship in each category you’re comfy with.
To aid your learning curve, you can recruit and build crews that you’re comfy with. Crews are your five man team of folks from several categories. Want to your slow ship a little extra speed? Employ a navigation officer. Need some extra oomph in your weapons? Get someone in tactical. Running a ship that needs to make quick escapes to different sectors. Then you need a jump drive specialist.
With only five slots to fill and one that must be filled by a captain, Fractured Space forces you to make the decision as to who will help you best. Unfortunately, earning extra and varied crew members can take just as long as earning new ships if you don’t plan on spending money. However, once you’ve got a good pool of officers, you can actually make different crews and assign them to each specific ship you have, making customization of your playstyles that much deeper.
Staffing your particular ship with the right crew can have tremendous benefits for both you and your team.
Performance & Graphics
Minimum OS: 64bit Windows 7 SP1 / Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 10 Processor: 2.3+ GHz Memory: 4 GB RAM Graphics: DX11 with Feature Level 11, SM5 DirectX: Version 11 Storage: 16 GB available space Recommended: OS: 64bit Windows 7 SP1/ Windows 8 / Windows 8.1 / Windows 10 Processor: 3.40 GHz Memory: 8 GB RAM Graphics: DX11 with Feature Level 11, SM5 DirectX: Version 11 Storage: 16 GB available space Additional Notes: Make sure your drivers and Windows are updated. Supported chipsets: NVIDIA 470 GTX, AMD HD6850 or greater. Laptop versions of these chipsets may not be supported. Updates to your video and sound card drivers may be required. We’ll be constantly updating the game to lower the required specs, so bear with us if your machine is struggling.
Sectors vary by the game. There are a handful, but you never know what you're going to get in Alpha or Beta.
In terms of visual quality, Fractured Space does a pretty adequate job in its presentation. In over 40 games played, we only experienced a modicum of frame rate drop or lag and these were very isolated incidents. Otherwise, the game almost always runs smooth as silk. Each ship is beautifully crafted and well varied and the weapons systems of each ship are unique and colorful, filling the depths of space with all the whistles, zooms and gunfire you might expect. There was occasionally a ship or two that, for some reason, the visual effect would be strangely absent from time to time, but most of the detail is pretty spot-on for what this game is.
Moreover, the sectors look as vibrant as they need to be. Depending on what kind of sectors you end up getting, each houses a variety of obstacles, blind spots, and travel lanes that aren’t just rather nice to look at, but also house opportunity for hiding and ambushing weary enemies without scouting equipment. The models on the space stations look a little lackluster compared to the detail poured into the rest of the game, but only really when you’re up close and personal with them. Otherwise most of the game looks and runs fine.
We want to see more out of Fractured Space. It’s off to an amazing start with its strategic team-based game play, wide variety of ships, and various tutorial and trial modes that allow players to get comfy and plan for the future, but there are most definitely a few things missing that could make this game a competitive masterpiece. We’d love to see more game modes for one. Though a Frontline mode was available in addition to the main game mode, we couldn’t get a game going there. Moreover, though Ranked is on the menu screen, it’s still absent for selection as of this time.
Gamma Station is the hill on which many will live and many will die.
Of course, we’d love to see additions to the roster on both the crew and ship side of things. The thirty-one ships and numerous crew available are pretty neat and enough to sate our cravings for now, but we would love to see even more additions to the roster that will add additional facets to combat and make Fractured Space fresh and exciting to play for months upon years. Thirty-one ships is nothing to sneeze at, but when compared to the rosters in other MOBAs, it’s certainly an early, albeit entirely acceptable pool.
FRACTURED SPACE VERDICT
Fractured Space has everything it needs for the early running. Between the tutorials and the neat ships to get you started, you’ll have everything you need to hopefully be an asset to your team. And the game only gets greater once you start to unlock more resources to play with. The deep customization and vast array of strategies this game allows for will keep you playing well into the night. Like any good MOBA, it pushes players to learn the system and find a few styles allow them to fit as one piece of a cohesive team. You might be playing the same game mode over and over, but it never gets old when you always come back with new tools and ideas to play with. We just wish progress on the in-game currency didn’t come so slowly, even in comparison to other MOBAs. Fractured Space’s true test will come in how much support it gets from both players and the developer. With the exception of ranked play, it has everything it needs for the early running. For what we played and how much fun we had, we hope it’s an experience that only continues to grow.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Once you make a ship your own, it’s a feeling of great pride. We learned the Infiltrator and we love the Infiltrator. Sending the Infiltrator’s Ion Drones after enemies, building up a charge, closing in on them while cloaked, and then teaching them the meaning of pain and punishment in one fell swoop is our game of choice. Netting the kill and disappearing into the void never gets old.
Great variety of ships with vastly different playstyles
Weapons loadouts and crew provide deep customization
Three lane sector gameplay allows vast strategy
Wealth of tutorials and trial arenas to test and improve gameplay
"Free-to-play" progression can be absurdly slow
Some integral features like ranked play currently missing