Gaming Preview: Fractured Space

Preview: Fractured Space

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Pretty much the only time I compete online is in the world of MOBAs. Fractured Space has been going through a huge amount of changes, tweaks and updates but is heading firmly towards the ultimate goal of a final build. It’s a good start setting off in a sci-fi universe as pretty much every single MOBA worth playing is set in a fantasy world. There’s nothing wrong with orks and elves gameplay but giant capital ships blasting away at each other in deep space holds a greater appeal to me. First though, Fractured Space has a lovely new video to take a look at so sit back enjoy.

A few alterations to the core MOBA gameplay set Fractured Space apart from the rest. Team wide resources are a consideration with the team holding the most outposts generating the most resources. The key to winning the battle of resources is undoubtedly to maintain control of the gas mining station that resides in the centre of the map. There are only short windows of opportunity to take control of the station however and you can be sure that a battle will take place whenever the timer allows it. It’s such a valuable resource that you just can’t ignore it.

Towers work differently from a standard MOBA too and in Fractured Space you will be concerned with taking control of space stations rather than destroying towers. You will need to control at least one of the stations to have the ability to travel to the enemy main base. Defeating enemy ships and capturing points is refreshingly tactical for a MOBA and also makes sure battles keep taking place. Conventionally once a tower is gone it’s gone but in Fractured Space control can be won, lost and regained which makes sure battles keep taking place throughout the match and goes some way to ensuring the winning team still has to work to win.

The way the map is split up adds even more to the back and forth battles as even a team with a huge amount of map control can quite easily lose if all their ships are in the wrong place. The enemy can simply get into your base and capture it if your team has nobody to get in their way. It takes a significant amount of time to switch zones, even for a MOBA, so careful planning and map reading will be needed to make sure you stay ahead of the enemy team.

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Combat with capital ships is tactical and satisfying. Each ship has a selection of abilities that you will absolutely need to use correctly in order to win. You’re not likely to blag your way through a fight without any knowledge of what your guns do and how to effectively use them. Probably the most important thing to remember is the correct range for your chosen ship. If you’ve got a sniper you’re not going to want to let a close range enemy fight back. You might feel like you’re holding your hand on a short persons head while kicking them repeatedly but hey, that’s what the sniper is for. And you know you’ll pay for it if they get close up.

Learning the ships, their abilities and any strengths and weaknesses is just as fun as any other MOBA although I have to say it’s more manageable and accessible in Fractured Space than most MOBAs. Instead of being greeted with 100 or more characters to learn intimately before you even dare go online and let the Koreans thrash you there is a well sized but manageable roster of ships. There’s definitely a ship for all occasions but having a concise roster means you get the sense of progression and improvement that often seems so far out of reach for new players in a MOBA.

Manoeuvring so that damage is spread across all your armour while protecting any weak sections of your ship and also maintaining accuracy are definitely key to winning a fight. The feel of the ships is amazing especially considering I was using a mouse and keyboard. Keyboards don’t often give a real sense of feedback but you can very quickly learn to feel accurately how fast a ship will turn, accelerate and stop. It’s so rewarding when your manoeuvring wins you a fight as an opponent sits still and gets thrashed.

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A good majority of the bugs and issues that where present have been addressed and fixed and the team continues to do a fantastic job of staying on top of them and improving the game. It’s nice to see a developer use early access as it’s meant to be with obvious and clear movement forward for the game. One of the biggest issues that Fractured Space is currently addressing is matchmaking.

I had the chance to talk to the team at Insomnia 56 and we discussed the intricacies of creating a functioning matchmaking system. One of the greatest challenges is the divide between experienced and high levelled players and those who are just starting out. It’s a difficult balance to strike between finding a game quickly and finding the right game for a player. The team knows it and are handling things in the right way, once again making sure Fractured Space keeps moving forwards towards a full release. Hopefully the influx of new players from promotions will help to get enough players to operate decent matchmaking.

But it’s nothing that makes the game unplayable even as it is. Fractured Space is a genuinely unique look at a MOBA title from a team that understands the genre well from both their personal and professional experience. There is a sense that Fractured Space has been created by someone that plays MOBAs and knows what they would want. Fractured Space is looking very promising and I strongly recommend it to any MOBA fan. Provided the game keeps striving towards a full release, addressing issues and fixing things the way it is at the minute Fractured Space will be a great MOBA and is definitely one of the most promising Early Access titles I’ve seen.

phillvine
Phill has been the director of a small IT repair business since 2011 which he runs alongside studying for his degree in Information and Communication Technologies at the Open University. Video games are his real passion and they take up more of his time than he'd like to admit.

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