The lead character's name in Fracture is "Jet Brody," and that goofy moniker is a pretty good sign of things to come. Boring, underwhelming, and oblivious to its own silliness, Fracture introduces some genuinely cool ideas—and then buries them in a mediocre game.
As (snicker) Jet Brody, you're a soldier in the year 2161. Fracture's setup is actually pretty unique and intriguing: Thanks to rising oceans caused by global warming, America has used "terrain deformation" technology to shore up the coastlines. But by doing so, the country has physically split itself right down the middle, creating two ideological and biological factions. The East Coast—or the "Atlantic Alliance"—embraces cybernetics, while the West Coast—"The Pacifican States"—are all about messing with their own DNA. When the Atlantic Alliance tries to stop the Pacificans from turning themselves into superhuman mutants, a second Civil War erupts. Enter Alliance soldier Jet Brody, who uses a terrain deformation gun to wage war on those immoral West Coast freaks.
Fracture's weird political implications aside, there's a lot of potential for the game to delve into a slew of cool sci-fi concepts. It never does, though, mostly because it's single-mindedly intent on the one-trick pony of terrain deformation, which lets Jet shape and modify the level around him, pushing earth into giant mounds or digging out trenches. It's a fun mechanic, and seeing how the physics-based deformation affects Fracture's environments is fun—but it gets old, and it can't make up for the repetitive missions or the hordes of generic, dumbshit A.I. enemies, all of whom incessantly spawn and respawn as if they took henchman lessons from the foes in Gauntlet. (That isn't the only déjà vu you'll be having—Fracture unapologetically swipes elements from pretty much every successful action shooter of the past few years, with Halo and Gears of War being particularly aggrieved parties.) As Fracture's gameplay stretches on and on, it becomes increasingly evident that the game isn't going to cash in on any of its promise—making genetic modification and environmental catastrophes the least offensive things about this dystopia.