Fractured Sanity Review – A Good VR Horror Concept That Needs More Work

Fractured Sanity Review

Fractured Sanity, from developers United Games, has a setup that should be ideal for a VR game. You’re alone in a dark, abandoned insane asylum. You’ve got to survive, with little to help you except your wits. I’ve played similarly-themed games before. And in first-person virtual reality, this should be a pants-crapping good time. But unfortunately, Fractured Sanity fails in its design and execution, resulting in a game that’s a painful slog and just not a lot of fun to play.

The gameplay is essentially escape room puzzling with survival horror elements. After an initial and straightforward escape from your patient room, Fractured Sanity places you in a locked, white office. It serves as a hub around which other patient rooms are situated. You solve various puzzles to unlock doors and discover what the rooms hold. There are keys to find and passwords to discover as you reveal fragments of the game’s backstory.

All of which is fine, except game glitches are a major obstacle. This game, in general, just doesn’t feel like a fully-finished, polished product. One major issue I encountered was on saving and reloading. Reloading a game caused important items such as keys to disappear. This made progressing impossible, so I had to restart. Any progress made up to that point was this lost.

Walking Through Walls

Another issue was in teleport-movement. Many times, I found myself teleporting through walls and into rooms and hallways I wasn’t supposed to be in yet. This caused some untimely deaths from whatever monsters were there. Thankfully, Fractured Sanity also has free movement, so I was forced to use that instead.

Making may way though the game and seeing what it had to offer was therefore very frustrating. At times, I felt like I was missing an important item to progress. Or, by bypassing the intended order of play, crucial narrative events failed to trigger. For example, I figured out that I needed a gun to get past a blockage in the hallway. But I couldn’t get into the safe or cabinet to look for one. I don’t know if a key item like a key was missing due to a bug, or if I just couldn’t find it.

fractured sanity

Speaking of monsters, that brings us to the horror elements. Unfortunately, Fractured Sanity just isn’t all that scary either. That’s in large part again due to poor execution. The game’s developers have certainly created a creepy, claustrophobic place to put you in. But that’s about all. Rooms all look the same. Some have a body on a gurney, or blood on the walls. But low-quality visuals pull you out of the immersion. The blood floats oddly over the surface. A dead body on the floor is in an unnatural, mannequin-like position. It’s like assets were just drag-and-dropped into the scene, without much refinement.

Moonwalking Monsters

The monsters I encountered were the same “mad scientist” looking guy with a hacksaw. He had a cartoonish face, and he floated over the ground as he chased me. He seemed to ignore corners and just ended up doing a continuous, futile moonwalk against a wall. His hacksaw was sticking partway through the wall on the other side. Oh yeah, collision detection is a problem in Fractured Sanity. Between this and monsters’ bad AI and animations, it’s hard to immerse yourself in the experience.

Immersion can also come from narrative. But Fractured Sanity needs more here too. A series of cassette tapes gives audio fragments of a story. A Dr. Simmons has been doing experiments, trying to break patients’ minds into the Freudian ID, Ego and Superego. I will say that the audio clips are voice-acted well. But the sparse, basic game environment just doesn’t fully realize this ambitious narrative premise. Various physical artifacts like patient records add some much needed detail, but Fractured Sanity just doesn’t have enough of these elements to bring the story to life.

Overall I would say that Fractured Sanity is a decent concept that needs more polishing, and more detail. It feels unfinished. I definitely felt uneasy at times, but that was more from the frustrating glitches and general rough edges than actual horror. I would say hold off on picking this one up until it’s updated and fully fleshed-out.

** A Meta Quest 2 code was provided by the publisher **

The Good

  • A decent narrative concept
  • Some creepy atmosphere
  • Good voice acting

The Bad

  • Glitches
  • Bad visuals
  • Bad AI