Friday, July 28, 2017

Fractured Space - 2/20 hours

There are times when I feel like cursing whoever invented the MOBA. I mean, I don't hate the genre or anything, but I must admit, my opinion on a game has never been improved upon discovering it's a MOBA. It's irrational, I know, but I feel like no one ever deliberately sets out to design a new MOBA. Instead, one just sort of emerges when video game designers find themselves with a diverse cast of colorful characters (or in this case space ships) and no ideas about what to do with them.

Which is unfair, of course. MOBAs are, in fact, the closest video games can get to a team sport. They are territory-control games that reward both tactics and strategy and have a very high skill ceiling. If you're interested in games as an abstract experience, a perpetual test of cunning and skill where your only benchmark for skill is the quality of your opponents. There have been times when I've been tempted by this idea, but honestly, it's a lot of work, and I'd rather spend my energies on other things.

The practical upshot of this is that there is not much "game" to Fractured Space. MOBAs are already a genre that's short on interesting level design, and when you set a MOBA in the vacuum of space, that problem is exacerbated. As near as I can tell, there's only one map - an asteroid field in which you have two opposing starbases and three mines that you can ineffectually try and claim for brief periods of time before they are inevitably taken back by the opposing team.

And since the bot AI is pretty bad, even for a MOBA, I feel like I've already exhausted the possibilities for single player. There aren't even any difficulty settings on the bot matches. You just sort of get thrown into a brawl that you will almost certainly win, because the enemy has no sense of strategy, and win inelegantly, because your allies have no sense of strategy.

I suppose I should try and play online multiplayer. Just really throw myself into the competitive scene. But that is a surefire path to heartbreak.

Then again, just because something has never worked in the past, that doesn't mean it won't work in the future!

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