Review
GameGeex - Review: Fray More than a little Frayed around the edges.
FRAY
Genre: Turn Based Strategy
The ESRB has rated this product:
Not Rated

Release Date(s):
06/19/2012 ( Win PC )
Developer: Brain Candy
Publisher: Brain Candy
Desc: A gritty Sci-FI strategy game set in the year 2098

Before I begin, let me make it clear that this is an unfinished game, in its alpha stages, but released as a full product. Also, I had not heard anything about Fray until recently when it was released on steam. it sparked my interest because I enjoyed old turn based strategy games like Advance Wars. Fray is a turn-based-strategy game where each player decides on their actions, then they are both played out at the same time. The player can choose four units out of the six available classes, each with their own specific uses and abilities. 

The first mistake
At first, Fray seems normal enough, from screenshots and demo footage, but after seeing the tutorial, I wouldn’t even call it that; it was a series of categories, filled with written instructions for different functions of the game. There were no videos and there were few pictures, but they were far too messy and convoluted to help. The way the instructional text was written made everything seem far too confusing. I decided to just deal with it, and read through the monotonous, tiny font on the screen, until I reached a point where it just ended, without explaining what it promised to. I shouldn’t come out of a tutorial unsure of basic functions, all I can think of is that it’s just laziness, since teaching your player the rules is the most important part of a new game. This is where I realized I didn’t want to keep going.
 
Moving back into the main menu, I looked for “single player”, but found nothing, so I went to join game, expecting a AI player option, finding yet again, no such thing. My mind is boggled as to why they didn’t even provide a prompt- driven practice match with no enemies. So, with my eyes darting to the “Exit” button, I soldiered on, and tried to join a game, which fortunately was rather seamless, so they earn a few brownie points where many others fail.
May not include gameplay
Despite the tutorial being harder than reading the matrix, I discovered that Commanding troops around is simple enough, select one, and move it around wherever you wish, then click the “finish” button, and watch your and your enemy’s moves play out against each other. After sending my units out, the camera switched from a overhead view to a behind-the-ass view of one of my units, and I was able to witness some horrible character animation, and the inability to switch to another unit or go back to overhead view to actually see what was going on.  As the turn ended, the camera began moving erratically, and repeated a sweep action over one of my troops who was walking in place. I ignored it, as it was probably a one off bug. So the next turn, I again moved my troops around, and saw the very same ugly camera angle, strange repeated actions, and buttons flickering, it was painful to watch. After finally seeing an enemy, I set my sniper to shoot at the closest one, figuring that even if he ran away, I could still get him. Well it may have worked, but I couldn’t tell because the camera was stuck behind another unit’s back, and there was no indication that I had succeeded or not. Something like this is easily fixed, simply leave control of the camera to the player, so they can see the results of their decisions.
 
Fray has an excellent concept, it gives the benefits of real time actions presented as turn-based, thus making lag a non-problem. It’s a shame it was let down by the learning curve, and horrible bugs. This was my main attraction to the game, living in a distant land means playing with Americans in most games is impossible. Fray solves it quite well, and I’m sure the developers at Brain Candy are working hard to fix all the problems, until then it’s nigh unplayable.
 
DAT ASS
Unfortunately, Fray’s shortcomings don’t stop at gameplay, the game is stricken with some horrible graphics issues. Among many,  the horrible death animations repeating themselves over and over again was something that really stuck out, and the fact that all the character models just look... awful, like bad rip-offs of Metal Gear’s Frank Jaeger.
An all too common camera angle.
Despite everything I said about the character models, the overall environment was rather impressive, and the camera was easy to use and let you pivot it almost every way, even through buildings, which went opaque upon entering them. The world itself was very well-realised, and it looked very “near future”. The only issue it had was the layout of objects didn’t always make sense, at one point I found myself trapped by giant divider prevented me from going through anywhere but a choke point, where I was quickly dispatched. I enjoyed the music at least, it fit the scene very well, and wasn’t completely intrusive, like a lot of electronic music can be.
 
Quality, or the lack thereof
After getting my ass kicked by my opponent, I was well past the point of bored with this game, it does nothing to make you feel welcome, it’s barely functional, and doesn’t even let you see what is going on, they break so many rules of gaming it’s ridiculous. I encountered enough bugs to see that this shouldn’t be considered a final product, for instance, instead of a drop-down box just under the map, there was just a piece of code, a strange oversight, considering this was part of the main HUD. Fray has a lot of testing and fixing before anyone can truly enjoy it.
 
Overall, I’m just disappointed that I wasn’t able to play the game that the developers had imagined, instead I got a half finished game not fit for a beta.
tl;dr - Too long; Didn't read
TL;DR Fray has an excellent idea, but the shortcomings are far too great to enjoy it.
Aesthetics: 2.0
GamePlay: 1.0
Story: 1.0
Quality: 1.0
Overall Score: 1.5
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