A savage 4/10 kicking from Eurogamer, and not without good reason. Take away its landscape-deformation party piece and you're left with the very epitome of a bog-standard third-person shooter. Think of Gears of War then tone down the action, the entertainment, the weapons and the graphics. While raising and lowering the landscape at any given point can result in some amusing consequences (enemies being propelled miles into the air, for example), the bottom line is that it's too limited and too predictable to really excite.
Technically speaking, the game is sound enough. If Gears 2 is AAA, then this is what... C+? A very generous B-? On 360 at least, there's barely any screen-tear and the full 720p frame-buffer. Lots of detail, but no anti-aliasing. PlayStation 3 offers up fundamentally the same level of visuals, runs at 30fps just like the Xbox version, but has a couple of obvious shortfalls.
If the PS3 game looks a little fuzzy in comparison, it's because a pretty substantial drop in resolution: 1152x648 versus the more normal 1280x720 - a 23 per cent improvement in favour of the Microsoft console. In some games (like the one you'll read about next), this can be quite annoying, but in the case of Fracture, edges are smoothed off and the overall look isn't unattractive. Sometimes compromises work out quite well (see GTA IV), and were it not for the introduction of noticeable v-lock screen-tear, the PS3 would be more than holding its own, despite the detail loss.
Of course, the technical differences and deficiencies are almost irrelevant in the greater scheme of things. A blurrier (but smoother) image and an annoying lack of v-lock are the least of this releases's problems when the actual gameplay itself is so basically unoriginal. When the gaming drought kicks in sometime during January or February, when every single ounce of gaming enjoyment has been extracted from the riches of brilliant games released this quarter, only then should you even begin to consider renting this game.
Guitar Hero: World Tour
There've been some pretty major changes to the PlayStation 3's fortunes with regards this massive franchise since I first looked at Guitar Hero III just over a year ago. Crucially, downloadable content is being mirrored cross-platform, online has been sorted and, as such, with the release of World Tour, the gameplay experience is now identical to the Xbox 360 iteration of the game.
But like its rhythm-action ancestors (on PlayStation at least) and indeed the Tony Hawk games, this is a Neversoft effort, and it's fair to say that this particular developer has never fully gotten to grips with the PS3 hardware. Reduced resolutions, frame-rates and other feature omissions have been a hallmark of every single Neversoft game I've covered in these features.
Perhaps predictably, Neversoft has done it again. Guitar Hero: World Tour, just like the recent Aerosmith game, is built on the same engine as the aged Guitar Hero III. Specifically that means a resolution drop from 720p to 1080x545 or thereabouts, and less impressive lighting effects compared to the 360 code. On the plus side, just like its predecessors, this does mean that the game does run at the Guitar Hero standard of 60fps. And, as I've said before, the diminished graphics won't affect the basic fun you'll get from the game.
However, the question remains - on a hugely important, mega-money game like this, is a 'good enough' conversion across from Xbox 360 really the best PS3 owners should be hoping for? Bearing in mind that the Guitar Hero games and their plastic instruments are priced at a premium level, and also factoring in how much cash Activision must be making from the downloads, you'd think that platform parity wouldn't be too much to ask.