Fragments Of Him Review
Fragments of Him is not your traditional game. In fact it is hard to call this a game due to the lack of any real gameplay throughout the two to three hours it takes to finish everything. Don’t let that put you off though as Sassybot Studios have managed to craft a touching story that covers subjects rarely featured in video games.
Spoiler alert! – If you want to discover everything that Fragments of Him had to offer without spoilers then I would strongly suggest that you read no further as this review will be spoiler heavy. In Fragments of Him you follow the life of Will, a run of the mill guy who is planning on proposing to his partner. The first few scenes consist of nothing more than you clicking on highlighted items and watching things unfold in front of you. Although this doesn’t sound overly exciting it helps you build a connection with Will that makes what happens next feel that much more devastating. Just as you learn about Wills plan to propose he is killed in a car accident. You then get to see the life of Will through the eyes of his friends and family as they relive how they met him and how much of an impact he has had on them all. There are a few pacing issues with some of the scenes but for the most part they are very engrossing and really draw you in.
Tackling tough topics – Death in a lot of games is almost expected. Whether it be a first person shooter or a sprawling RPG we have become somewhat desensitised to it as it occurs in a large portion of what we play. In Fragments of Him the effects of a death are shown as you explore the lives of Wills family, friends and also his partner both before and after his car accident. There are several moments that are really touching as it shows the various characters struggling to deal with the reality their lives are changed forever. Some of them take a sentimental approach to death and prefer to look back at the great memories they have of Will, while others will talk about how they blame themselves for what has happened and the regrets they have. Sassybot Studios have crafted a very well put together story that pulls on the heart strings throughout its three hour lifespan. The tagline for Fragments of Him is ‘A story of love, memories and hope’ and it is refreshing to see a title that dares to be different by having the main character in a same sex relationship. Homophobia is tackled as it turns out that Wills grandmother disapproves of his relationship with another man and has refused to have anything to do with him although she ultimately comes to the realization that her grandson is still the same person regardless and it is her views that are wrong. Fragments of Him is not afraid to use subjects that have previously been seen as taboo in the gaming industry and for that I applaud them.
Seeing in sepia – For almost the entire length of Fragments of Him you’ll see everything through a Sepia lens. There is no real explanation as to why this is but it actually fits the mood pretty well. Anything you need to interact with is highlighted so it is usually easy to find where you need to go next although at times the objects you need to progress the scene fail to show up until you are mere millimetres away. I found that some of the character models were a little lifeless looking but the rest of the environments are very detailed.
But is it a game? – Although the story in Fragments of Him is very well done if you come into this expecting it to play like a traditional game you are likely to be very disappointed. You have absolutely no input into what happens other than to press the A button on pre-selected objects that you have to interact with to be able to progress any further. Other than that all you really get to do is move around until the scene ends. Personally this didn’t really bother me too much as I was engrossed in the story but there was the odd occasion where I would find myself a little bored while waiting for the next development in the story.
Repeating yourself – In a game that is barely three hours long there should be absolutely no need for repetition unless it is crucial for the story. Unfortunately there are more than a few occasions where you revisit the same area which to me felt like filler instead of real story development. Retelling a story from multiple perspectives is fine but there is so much source material to work with here that it feels like a waste. Pacing is also a bit of an issue as some scenes are torturously slow although thankfully this only happens on a couple of occasions. Loading screens are frequent in Fragments of Him and also rather long. Most of them clocked in at well over a minute and I would occasionally get snippets of game audio coming through.
Fragments of Him is a heart wrenching story that is as fascinating as it is flawed. If you can get past the long loading screens and the fact that this is more of an interactive movie than it is game you’ll discover a compelling story that touches on subjects rarely covered on console games, just don’t expect to have any real input in the outcome of what happens in the life of Will.
Fragments of Him was developed and published by Sassybot Studios. It was released on June 1st, 2016. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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