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Video Game / Fracture

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The ground is your weapon. That sentence pretty much sums up Fracture, a third-person shooter video game developed by Day 1 Studios and LucasArts for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Set in the year 2161, Fracture tells the tale of a xenophobic United States which has been split into two sides, the Pacific and the Atlantic, by rising water levels caused by global warming. The Atlantic is devoted to advancing the technological prowess of humanity (cyborgs), while the Pacific is devoted to enhancing the human genome (bioengineering). The game's biggest claim to fame is that both sides can manipulate the local environment to their benefit and their opponent’s detriment. This is called “terrain deformation,” or TD, and it can be as effective as raising the ground to access higher locations or lowering the ground to undermine a structure and cause it to fall. It comes in handy in many ways and also looks pretty damn cool in use.

Other than that, Fracture is a fairly solid third-person shooter. Unfortunately, it was panned by critics for lack of replayability and repetitiveness as well as taking multiple features from other shooters such as Halo, Gears of War and Resistance.

LucasArts' website for the game.

This game contains examples of:

  • Acid Pool: You have to cross some to get to certain objectives.
  • Action Genre Hero Guy: Jet Brody.
  • Airborne Mook: Hydras.They can get annoying sometimes.
  • The Alliance: The Atlantic Alliance, consisting of the former United States eastern seaboard, parts of Canada and Europe.
  • Arm Cannon: Shermans have had one of their arms replaced by a bio-engineered grenade launcher.
  • The Atoner: The reason Mariko is helping Jet Brody in the first place is because she helped create a superweapon and she feels pretty bad about it.
  • Big Bad: General Nathan Sheridan. Formerly of the Atlantic Alliance, he defected to Pacifica because the Alliance's ban on genetic research.
  • Bull Fight Boss: Literally with the Bollas.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Used to a considerable extent by the Pacifican soldiers and civilians. To give one example, Pacfican infantry are capable of speaking using a subsonic frequency so the enemy can't eavesdrop on battlefield conversations.
  • Bio Punk: The Pacificans
  • Cannon Fodder: It is specifically stated on the game's official website that most Pacifican light infantry have received little training and lack experience. They try to make up for that deficiency with zeal and raw numbers.
  • Cyborg: Standard soldiers and citizens of the Atlantic Alliance.
  • Cyberpunk: The Atlantic Alliance
  • Defector from Decadence: Sheridan views himself as one and he is fiercely protective of his adopted homeland.
  • Deflector Shields: Alliance troops utilize self recharging shields to protect themselves.
  • Deployable Cover: You can use the Entrencher to raise and lower the ground to create cover and foxholes as needed.
  • Divided States of America: The United States is split in two, though it is East and West this time instead of North and South.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The piece of legislature outlawing genetic tinkering is called the Defense of Humanity Act.
  • Elite Mooks: Comes in couple of flavors.
    • First you have the Raptors, Pacifican heavy infantry armed with heavy rifles as well as grenades. Harder to take down than regular troops.
    • Next you have Shermans; heavily armored brutes packing serious firepower. They use a neon-green grenade launcher that causes extreme damage and they also explode on death. Fun.
    • Then you have Invaders; soldiers with heavy armor that can only be taken down with explosives, melee attacks or headshots. They use shotguns as their primary weapon.
    • And finally Cheetahs; super fast super soldiers. Use machine guns and seem like they can go at the speed of light.
  • Faceless Goons: All Pacifican soldiers' faces are hidden by their bio-armor.
  • Flesh Versus Steel:
    • On one side you have the Republic of Pacifica. They believe that though genetic engineering humans will be able to adapt or evolve to the global climate changes. Their soldiers are covered in bioarmor, enhanced using genetic engineering and several of their weapons are more of grown than manufactured.
    • On the other side you have the Atlantic Alliance. They rely on cybernetic technology to survive the global climate changes and have a Cyberpunk feel to them. Their soldiers wear heavy metal armor and use deflector shields and their guns look more normal compared to the Pacifican weaponry.
  • Freeze Ray: One of the guns in the game, the appropriately named ALM-37 Deep Freeze, uses a liquid nitrogen fuel cell to....well, you know what it does.
  • Giant Mook: Shermans.
  • Glass Cannon: Hydras; barely human soldiers who can jump VERY high and often carry rocket launchers. They have only light armor to give them lift and as a consequence can take only a small beating before death.
  • Global Warming: Has literally split the country in two along the Mississippi River and has forced humanity to embrace transhumanism to one degree or another in order to cope with the environmental changes.
  • Gravity Master: The Lodestone Rifle is the Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2 with the serial numbers filed off.
  • Happily Adopted: Brody's parents were killed when he was still a child and Colonel Lawrence adopts him.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Both Shermans and Invaders.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: Mariko has a high-tech suit with a hexagonal overlay on parts of it.
  • King Mook: One of the bosses you face is the Spike Hydras, tougher versions of the regular Glass Cannon Hydras that use spikes from the ground to create personal shields and they still carry rocket launchers.
  • Knight Templar: Sheridan. He is right about the Atlantic Alliance taking away the rights of the genetically enhanced but what he intends to do about it is more than a little bit extreme.
  • LEGO Genetics: Pacificans, of course. You should have been able to guess that by now.
  • Meaningful Name: Sheridan shares his name with a Civil War general. Shermans are named after the World War II tank, according to the supplementary materials, which also shares its name with a Civil War general.
    • You can guess the function of some Pacifican troops based upon their name. Cheetahs? Hmm, I wonder what they are like.
  • Military Mashup Machine: The Dreadnought is a walking amphibious land battleship that the Pacifcans are hoping will win them the war with one quick knock-out blow.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Partially averted, partially played straight. The war starts over just what kind of transhumanism is allowed.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Alliance has one when the Dreadnought awakens from the Bay and destroys most of the Atlantic forces, then marches towards the East Coast while being invincible to aerial attack.
  • Organic Technology: Staple of the Pacifican troops. One prime example is the armor their soldiers wear, referred to as bio-suits, which are a mixture of organic and synthetic materials, regrow and repair themselves when damaged while organic fibers attached to the soldier augment endurance, strength and speed. Or take a look at some of their guns like the Raptor Rifle. It's main component is a bio-engineered organism derived from oceanic coral that grows around the provided titanium gun barrel. They literally manufacture them by dropping the coated barrels in a protected seawater area and dredge harvest the finished product a few days later.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: The Bolla, a large Minotaur-like monster that throws boulders and charges the player, and just for fun, can only be hit in certain areas.
  • Papa Wolf: Sheridan sacrificed his career, his reputation, his friends and family all for the sake of his daughters. And when it was All for Nothing, he became an extremist to avenge them.
  • Perma-Stubble: Jet Brody.
  • Powered Armor: The ones used by Atlantic troops is pretty standard. The Pacifican one, see Organic Technology above.
  • Psychic Powers: Mariko has them.
  • Recurring Boss: You'll face Bollas a minimum of three times.
  • Retirony: Jet drops down into a spacious tunnel and stops to receive a message while two Pacifican redshirts drop down and proceed ahead of him. Before they get taken out in a blast from an unseen source this exchange occurs.
    Redshirt 1: Is it bad luck to mention I'm getting out in two weeks?
    Redshirt 2: Shut up and keep moving.
  • Sequel Hook: North America unites under the banner of cyborg augmentation, but various continents begin sparking their own opinions about robots versus genetics... Unfortunately, the game flopped.
  • Shout-Out: Some of the achievements. Notably:
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Mariko used to belong to an inter-species communication group that, amongst other things, used subsonic frequencies to communicate with animals.
  • Spider Tank: The Dreadnought, a very big version of this trope. Practically invulnerable to air and artillery attacks.
  • Super-Soldier: The basic grunts of both sides' armies. The more elite and powerful units can almost no longer be called human.
  • Terrain Sculpting: The game's primary selling point is that this has been weaponized. This ranges from the Entrencher, a weapon you wear on your arm that pretty much functions as your own personal bulldozer and backhoe to missile launchers whose projectiles travels underground to grenades that create earthquakes.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Mariko, though it's not exactly the internet and you do see her on occaision.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: At one point you're given control of the TDV 1, an Alliance AFV that has an automatic turret and terrain deformation powers. Your supposed to use it to jump large pits of toxic waste and destroy a supercomputer. Also, while the game is mostly standard third-person shooter fare certain places in the game require puzzle solving using terrain deformation.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The event that finally triggers the war is The Alliance passing a law that states persons genetically modified over a certain percentage are no longer human and are to subsequently lose their legal rights.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: General Sheridan, go on, read his back story. His two daughters are diagnosed with a rare genetic disease which couldn't be cured by conventional means. In desperation, he resigned his commission and moved to the West, where the ban on genetic research is totally ignored. There the best geneticists worked tirelessly in a race against time to save them, but their efforts were futile and his daughters died within weeks of each other. And just to twist the knife in a little deeper six weeks after their deaths a cure was found. Shell shocked, Sheridan enlisted in the California State Militia, vowing to never look back as his life collapsed and his wife divorced him.
  • Wreaking Havok: Some people view the game as nothing more than one big tech demo for the developers' Deformable Terrain engine.