Fractured Space (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 01.10.2016

Review for Fractured Space on PC

Fractured Space is a space-themed multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) both designed and published by Edge Case Games Ltd. It takes the novel approach of piloting huge capital ships in asteroid fields that must be controlled, while blocking out enemy ships that are trying to do the same thing. The game is free to play, while using a micro-transaction model for things like new ships or skins. Cubed3 tackles this PC release to find out if it hits the mark.

Fractured Space, to sum up in one sentence, is lesser than the sum of its parts. Looking at any single aspect, it is amazing the game is free. The graphics are great, the flying is manageable, there are a lot of different ships, RPG elements in selecting a crew and, overall, what looks like a solid game all around. Unfortunately, it does not hold up in the single most critical question of "Is it fun?" since the answer is, reluctantly, no.

To give a quick overview, this is a new contender in the MOBA-style gameplay. MOBA games started about 10 years ago mainly in a Warcraft 3 custom map game called 'DOTA' or Defence of the Ancients. The idea is to take a team of five heroes, level them up as they slowly battle in lanes, either by killing small AI enemies, or by killing the other players. Each character had different moves, and could buy items and strategies to level up skills. The basics were simple, but the learning curve was vicious, and DOTA was arguably the crudest/rudest/most vile online gaming subculture. The flaming was so intrinsic to the game but apparently so provocative - chat to the other team was banned on DOTA 2 and many other MOBA games in the future.

Screenshot for Fractured Space on PC

The formula, sans the flaming, took off and there are many clones of the general gameplay out there. In Fractured Space it follows a lot of the basics, but with some major differences at the same time. There are no little enemies to kill and level up off of - there are no items to buy, and the only 'levelling' occurs automatically by controlling enough mines around the map. The only thing to do is kill each other. Not to say that was not the goal in others, but there were many ways to achieve it, get quick levels, get good gear, plan surprises, take down towers, and so on. This is a rapid slug fest and most game are over in 20 minutes.

This may sound all well and good, but some critical elements are removed. There is a disturbing trend in modern gaming to 'simplify,' and this is shown in another MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, where there are no items, and teams level up together. What made DOTA good was a bit of the complexity; players could debate endlessly what items to go with, what 'builds' to roll out, and so on. A single character could be played wildly differently. Here, the ship is the same every single time. It is always going to have the same missiles, the same radar detection…and it isn't even immediately clear what the minor level ups have improved.

Screenshot for Fractured Space on PC

Perhaps, given the nature of the game, it is an okay choice because the battles are far too hard to manage to be strategic. You are literally flying a ship in three-dimensional space, much like any jet shooter. The problem is it's a big slow ship, and combat is rapid from all sides. What a typical battle plays out like is shooting at one target, but is under fire from behind. In order to see who is shooting, you have to turn (thereby not firing at the original target) and are usually dead by this time.

Ships die very fast, and very randomly. It is never clear who is winning a battle until one side is dead and the other is still standing. Are those your explosions, those auras, and so on? Too much information. It is hard enough just keeping the enemy in the gun sights, never mind focus on anything else. Given that Fractured Space is fairly new and many people have the best ships unlocked already, expect a very cruel grind for any beginner.

The idea behind it is cool, warping into various sectors, controlling points, battling out with missiles and lasers -it all sounds great, in theory. In practice, though, the ships are too clumsy, numerical superiority trumps any sort of strategy, and nothing really happens other than waiting around for minute-long re-spawns until one side's base eventually blows up from the fighting.

Screenshot for Fractured Space on PC

Furthermore, with no items and no skill trees, once someone has stuck around for a while, it will all be the same. DOTA burned out and it had something like 70 heroes and 100 items and it got old; a game like this with only 20-ish ships, no items, and no different skill builds is not going to hold interest for long.

It is unfortunate, in a lot of ways. The graphics are great, and the idea of having various types of ships doing battle in space is a novel take on the MOBA formula, but there are just too many problems. Battles never feel satisfying, one way or another, and far too often the feeling of whether you are winning or losing does not reflect the reality. Looking at pictures or reading what the game is about seems like a winning formula, but playing it rapidly becomes obvious how grating the experience is.

Screenshot for Fractured Space on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Fractured Space boldly goes in a new direction for MOBA games by taking it to space and doing away with such key elements as item buying or killing smaller enemies to level up. It goes against the grain to focus entirely on pure PvP. The problem is that the PvP never feels satisfying, controlling the ships is clunky, battles are chaotic in a bad way, and the lack of strategy or predictability kills a large element of the genre. There is simply too much going on in combat, it is too hard to tell what is happening, and if what the player is doing is effective. This lack of feedback is ploughed into the high learning curve of these styles of games already and produces a recipe for frustration. Even high end, the lack of items or varied skills reduces replayability considerably.


Edge Case


Edge Case





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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