What is the appropriate venue to discuss the morally questionable practice of fracking? Well, with an irreverent shooter about eco-terrorism, of course. While Fracked may side-step saying anything meaningful about fracking, it does not sidestep crafting a fun PSVR experience. Touting a movement system hand-crafted to work best in virtual reality, navigating the world at a breakneck pace is both easy and comfortable, which is no easy feat. While the handful of skiing gauntlets don’t control as well as the regular minute-to-minute experience, they’re exhilarating enough that it’s pretty easy to shrug off. And to be honest, this is how playing the game feels overall: Fracked does many things well, even if there’s very often a “but”.
Gunplay is fun, but hit registration takes time off seemingly at random, landing you in much hotter water than you may have initially thought. Likewise, the game has a tendency to spawn enemies right behind you, only alerting you to their presence by whittling your health down to almost zero. While it’s not normally a huge issue, when the tanky enemies start showing up, things get problematic fast. The issue is occasionally exacerbated by the enemy AI as well, which is much more aggressive and adept than we’re used to. They are very capable of flanking, and the enemy is fond of relentlessly pushing on you, which ups the challenge, and more importantly, the thrill. In a game less deftly designed, these would be inexcusable roadblocks, but Fracked strikes a good balance. A satisfying gameplay loop and solid controls turn these things into hiccups rather than deal breakers.
It doesn’t hurt that the game is designed with a confidence and flair we don’t often see in VR. Absolutely everything down to the menus has a level of swagger that makes for a stunning experience. Cel-shading works well in certain settings, and VR is absolutely one of them: it allows Fracked’s environments to have exponentially more detail and complexity than a similar game without cel-shading, adding much more life to the title’s alpine mining facility.