Fracked is an upcoming PSVR shooter from nDreams, and in a show of confidence the developer has put out a free demo for players to try. I’ve given the demo a run and here are my thoughts based on that first 20-minute section of the game.
I was sold on Fracked around 30 seconds into the short demo. It starts by having you fire a flare gun up into the air, then you catch an item from an ally in a helicopter, and then you’re skiing away down the mountain, steering with the PSVR headset. It felt natural, fast, and a little freaky when I got scared. More on that in a minute.
Release Date: August 20th, 2021
Availability: PSN (Digital)
My biggest worry with Fracked, and all PSVR games that require the Move controllers for that matter, is in the controls. The Move wands are barely fit for purpose and after being spoiled by the Quest and its dinky sticks, I’ve grown a real distaste for them. I couldn’t play Sniper Elite VR with the Move controllers, but thankfully the game supported the PSVR Aim controller. Fracked has nothing to fall back on. It’s the moves or nothing, and if they fail, the game fails.
Fracked does not fail.
The controls are actually kind of brilliant and thankfully, very simple. You move by tapping the left move button and run by giving it a double tab. Tilting your hand will determine the direction you move in, and you also turn left and right using the cross and circle buttons on the right move controller. It’s intuitive and I was comfortable within minutes. Well, it actually took me about ten minutes to use those controls because the opening is all about skiing down the mountain while an avalanche thunders down behind you.
This was a thrill and I almost shat myself. I’m not scared of much in this world, but heights is my known kryptonite. There was a moment during the skiing section where I went over a ridge and I felt my stomach do that horrible lurch it does whenever I’m up high somewhere and look down. The graphics aren’t realistic, but the feeling of movement is and it was enough to have me grabbing my sofa to steady myself.
After bombing down the mountain on wooden planks – c’mon, let’s call skiing out for the silly sport it is – it was time to get moving around with the Move controllers, and shooting some bad guys.
Another neat feature is in how you take cover and engage in firefights. With my pistol or a submachine gun in my right hand, I could use my left hand to drag myself around corners or over cover, giving me the flexibility of moving in and out of the enemies sight without having to actually move or fiddle with a half dozen face buttons. It’s so simple I wonder why it wasn’t done before. Bravo, nDreams. Bra-bloody-vo.
The shooting was fun and although I only got to use two weapons in total, I still got a good taste of the arcadey action as I ziplined into a firefight and pulled myself around to pop off shots from cover. It was good and when the demo came to a sharp end, I was gutted. I’d enjoyed my time as an action hero and I wanted more. I wanted to see more, too, because Fracked looks brilliant – the comic book art style works really well inside the PSVR headset, masking any blur or shimmer that normally ruins the illusion.
Fracked releases on August 20th, 2021 for PSVR. If I don’t have a review code before then, you can bet I’ll be buying the deluxe edition to play three days early. I’m that excited about the game, and that’s not something that has happened to me in PSVR in a long time.