Fracked just wants you to have fun, and so it throws a lot at you. You’ll engage in shootouts, climb rickety structures, solve puzzles, and zip-line from platform to platform. Maybe you’ve seen all the individual parts before in other VR games, but that’s not a big problem. As it funneled me from action scene to action scene, I had little time to dwell on which game did what first.
The setting here is a mining operation run by an evil corporation. Your job is to kill all the workers (don’t worry, they’re purple interdimensional zombies) before confronting the maniacal CEO, a talkative fellow with a foul mouth and a southern drawl. This is a fine setup, but it’s hardly original. How many times have we stopped evil corporations from sapping a planet’s resources? The voice acting is great, though, and the whole thing feels stylish in a way many PSVR games don’t.
At the start, you find yourself skiing high up on a snowy mountain. You hardly have time to soak in the appealing cel-shaded world before an explosion causes an avalanche you have to outrace. Occasionally, beat-driven electronic music kicks in, suiting the style of the world nicely. It’s an exciting start that’s perfectly in line with the action-hero exploits to come.
To play Fracked, you’ll need a pair of Move controllers. In the headset these become your hands, appearing in your vision as meaty, floating gloves you’ll put to good use: you use them to pull yourself behind cover, shoot and reload guns, climb ladders, turn cranks, and operate levers.
When you have to climb, reload, or use your hands, everything feels nicely tactile.
Despite the Move controllers’ lack of analog sticks, you have full freedom of movement. The controls work exceptionally well, all things considered, especially if you’re familiar with games like Skyrim VR that use a similar control scheme. Also, when you have to climb, reload your weapon, or use your hands in general, everything feels nicely tactile. It didn’t take me long to get the hang of the controls, and soon I was navigating the mountainside mining operation with ease.
The campaign’s pacing is nicely varied, with environmental puzzles and exciting climbing sections sprinkled between the action-heavy shooting areas. In fact, I preferred the quieter sections over the shootouts, which can feel drawn-out and repetitive after a while. One reason is because the enemy variety is lacking, with only a few different types of foes to go up against. You have some basic gun-toting soldiers who usually just stand in place and shoot at you, and then there’s the exploding variety who run at you and detonate in a one-hit kill if they get close enough. Finally, you’ll encounter heavies who stomp around littering the ground with landmines. There aren’t any bosses to speak of, or other enemies that might make you rethink your combat approach.
Enemy variety is lacking, with only a few different types of foes to go up against.
The weapons feel satisfying to use, but unfortunately the more powerful ones, like shotguns and grenade launchers, are single-use and they disappear when you run out of ammo. So the only two guns you can always access are a pistol and an Uzi-like automatic weapon that shoots lasers. These are serviceable, but unexciting. It would be nice to have more weapon variety available during any given shootout.
Combat is fine in small doses, but later in the roughly three-hour run time you’ll have to kill a lot of enemies before you can move on. I died quite a bit in these sections, often in ways that felt unfair. For instance, the kamikaze enemies generally make noise as they approach, but sometimes one would appear behind me and explode without warning.
Fortunately, there’s plenty to do aside from combat. At various points you’ll find yourself skiing, climbing, zip-lining between platforms, operating a crane, and a lot more besides. I’ve done most of those things in VR before, but never in the same game. Climbing is particularly fun. From the outside you might look silly flailing with your Move controllers, but in the headset you’re shimmying around collapsing structures like Nathan Drake. The puzzles are also well executed, not too hard or easy.
As I approached the final encounter, though, the combat sections became more frequent, the map flooding with more and more waves of enemies, bogging down the pace before it came to a close. But prior to that, I had a lot of fun.
The best thing about Fracked is how it keeps pulling you along, giving you new things to do every few minutes. It’s so effective I only really noticed that the enemy AI and variety is lackluster when several of the shootouts toward the end went on for too long. But it works well in small doses, and aside from that, I particularly liked the climbing sections and environmental puzzles. It comes in hot, delivers its VR action charms, and ends before wearing out its welcome.