Developer: Edge Case Games
It has been many years since I’ve had fun being the commander of spacecraft in a game. Using commander as a general term rather than a rank of the same name, flying small fighter crafts or giant capital ships has always been fun for me.
However, any game that has entered this area recently has usually one of two facets to it. Either the game is an isometric 2-D game with plenty of depth, like “FTL”; or the game is 3-D and has a pilotable spacecraft section with limited depth to keep gameplay focused, such as the space battles in “Star Wars Battlefront 2.” From the long time I’ve spent with it, “Fractured Space” combines a lot of depth with focused 3-D gameplay, and it has been fun for most of it.
“Fractured Space” is a 5v5 MOBA game where you take command of capital ships that belong to three different manufacturers and combat the enemy who is in your way towards victory. Titan Defense System ships belong to a military corporation with a predilection for using smart guns and experimental abilities or weapons. United Space Research is a deep space research outfit with a fleet known for explosives and intelligence gathering or disruption. Finally, Zarek Manufacturing is a mining and zero-g specialist firm with a love for lasers and versatile longevity abilities. It must be noted, however, that these traits are not exclusively limited to those manufacturers.
If you have a preferred playstyle in similar games, you will easily find a fitting ship for you to take command of. If you like to play support, there are a good amount of specialty ships for you to pick, depending on whether you prefer augmenting or healing your allies, or even both! For players that like to take attention and dish it back, “Fractured Space” boasts a very diverse selection of fortified heavy-class ships, dependent on how close or far you want to be from the enemy. And for everyone else, we have the most versatile selection of ships: attack craft.
A good way to think of a team setup is to think of the heavy and support ships as a heart and red blood cells of a team, respectively. To fit the analogy, attack craft is the white blood cells of a team, identifying and eliminating external threats or dying trying. There are three types of attack craft: general, stealth, and sniper class ships. General attack craft have some utility to them to make surviving the fray a matter of more than just “damage the enemy more than they can damage you.” Stealth ships are ships with payloads that do immense damage but have heavy weapon cooldowns and frailty to balance. A similar frailty is had by the sniper class, but it has reliable damage across long distances to make up for their low survivability in a firefight.
I would feel fine with the main concept of “Fractured Space” alone, but the game has a great amount of depth to make it much more than just essentially “submarines in space.” Weapons have maximum ranges, as do utilities, so you can’t just say “FIRE EVERYTHING!” and expect it to work, and some actions require targeting. When an enemy or ally is targeted with the targeting key, you gain the ability to use mechanics dependent on an active target, such as missiles or fighter craft. These can be defended against by point defense. Point defense is not infallible, but reliable enough that strategies develop around disrupting or forcing the use of the ship’s energy reserves on other matters. This combines with drones, other weapon types, armor, crew members, and buffs/debuffs to make a chaotic battlefield. Yet, it never feels like that it’s too fast, and you’re constantly kept informed by the UI.
The only real negatives I can say for the game are in terms of ease of entry and controls. This game has a minorly elevated skill floor that may seem daunting to a new player, but can be surpassed with time and practice. With the recent introduction of bot matches to the game, this is less of a problem in my eyes, as it allows people to have fun with the game without the pressure of having other intelligent minds on the other side of the match. The default controls are another daunting issue. While alleviated with the ability to rebind keys, the daunting issue with the controls is getting used to all of the functions you will come to use frequently. As someone who has put in a couple hundred hours over this game’s lifetime, from alpha to full release, I can say you will occasionally dance across the keyboard, but you will eventually get the feel for it.
Overall, this game is a blast for me to play, as it has scratched and continues to scratch the itch I’ve had for a space battle game. If you are intrigued or on the fence from reading what I have mentioned above, give the game a try. “Fractured Space” is a free-to-play game with the development team being supported from buying a premium currency that goes towards skin purchases and grind skipping for ships and weapons. This is probably the best business model that can be attached to any F2P game, and it’s got gorgeous spacecraft and sectors. For anyone into sci-fi, or looking for a new MOBA to try out, give this one a few hours to see if it’s your cup of tea.