Fragments of Him is possibly the most stripped back game I have ever played. It isn't a game in any traditional sense of the word really, as you do very little to interact with what is on screen. You move around and press A and that's really it. It's more of an interactive story than a game, I guess.
I wanted to get out of the way right at the beginning, because if you're looking for something action-packed and fun-filled then this one really isn't for you. If you're looking for a game that's really different and is more like watching a show with a controller in your hand, then read on.
When I said stripped back I didn't just mean in terms of gameplay, Fragments of Him features a really minimal art style too. The game features highly detailed environments but there are no textures at all - everything is flat and looks like it is all made from the same material, save for a few thing that are important to story progression. It makes sense for the game though (or at least in my head it does) because the game explores the memories of a few people who all know the central character, Will. It feels like you're walking through a fairly hazy memory. You know there was furniture there, but you couldn't remember what colour and fabric it was. It's an idea that has been beautifully realised in this game.
As always I'm going to stay away from selling you about the story, so I don't spoil it for any of you. I feel that that is even more important with this game, because it is only the story that will keep you going through. There are no interesting gameplay elements that will force you to carry on, only the need to find out everything you can about these characters.
I found the story to be a really interesting, emotive journey but unfortunately I found the gameplay element of it to be so dull I did find myself wanting to rush through rather than take my time. Luckily the story is linear and there are very few places and things to interact with, and even fewer that aren't necessary in continuing the story so rushing through doesn't mean you miss anything. You basically spend the game filling in or taking away items to spark a voice over (the voice overs are excellent by the way) and there is one part in particular where I felt like I was doing this just for the sake of doing it, like the devs made us do it just to reinforce the fact that it is a game and not just a story. But I do find myself struggling to think of a way that this game could have been played differently, in all honesty, so I guess this critique is by-the-by.
If you want to "play" something that will stick with you after you've finished, that doesn't require much cognitive thought or interaction then maybe Fragments of Him is for you. It is a beautiful experience, and one that has stuck with me since I completed it. It's fairly short and I don't see why you would want to replay it in an hurry so I struggle to recommend it at full price. But I'm sure it will feature in a sale in the not so distant future, and maybe you'll have gotten sick of killing people over and over again by then. If so pick this up, brew up, sit back and play this.
6/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.