Insomniac Games is well known for some great first party PlayStation game such as the Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank and Resistance. The question is can Insomniac make another great game with its first multi-platform game, Fuse.
Fuse is a co-op focused third person shooter where you play as one of four agents on Overstrike 9. The game’s story is about Overstrike 9 attempting to stop a PMC called Raven from destroying the world with piece of stolen technology called Fuse. When Raven was in the process of stealing Fuse, you and your teammates come across Fuse based weapons which you use throughout the game.
The idea of a private military company being the enemy new, and it is something that is getting old quickly, in the game the PMC Raven have access to a huge amount of weapons and soldiers. The PMCs plans in Fuse also make no sense, because at the start they plan to sell weaponized Fuse to the highest bidder, but at one point they decide it would be better not to sell it and use it themselves. Honestly you won’t find much of a story in Fuse, because in truth I don’t think there is one, just a piece of string pulling you from one chapter to the next.
Well with a poor story, what are the playable characters like? There are four members of Overstrike 9: Dalton, Jacob, Naya and Isabelle, so two men and two women. Throughout the entire game only two of the characters get any meaningful backstory, Dalton and Naya. Dalton is an ex member of Raven who had a fling with one of the high ranking members of the company and in the case of Naya, her estranged father is one of the people looking to sell Fuse on the black market. What about Jacob and Isabelle? Well we know Jacob was once a police officer and Isabelle hates people. That is the length of Jacob and Isabelle’s back story.
Ok enough backstory what’s the gameplay like? Well it isn’t too bad. I played through the game on single player because no one in my friends list unfortunately owns the game, but thankfully playing it like a single player game isn’t that bad. The missions can be broken down into, enter an area, shoot waves of enemies and move onto the next area and repeat until you fight a Fuse powered boss. There is a stealth section where you can’t use your weapons, but this thankfully doesn’t last very long.
The ally AI is competent; it shoots the enemy and resurrects you and the other players when they get hurt. I did however notice one annoying issue with the ally AI, and that is when you and two other members are down, the sole remaining AI will run to you in an attempt to resurrect you regardless of how close the other characters are to bleeding out and dying. This can lead to some annoying moments when upon resurrection you get a game over because one of the other AI bled out and died. That’s right if anyone on your team dies it is instantly game over go back to your last check point.
However the enemy AI isn’t the greatest either. I found myself being able to defeat them without too much trouble. Even the bosses were relatively easy as they constantly exposed their weak point. However, the final boss is different; the final boss doesn’t make it easy unlike the other enemies, he constantly does attacks that can one hit kill or do major damage. This is great, but after fighting against relatively easy enemies for an entire game, the jump in difficulty for the last boss is rather surprising.
Moving onto a more positive note we have the Fuse weapons. Each character has their own weapon: Dalton has a shield, Jacob a crossbow, Naya with a rifle, and Isabelle with another rifle like weapon. Each weapon has their own unique power. Dalton’s shield can block all bullets although allies can shoot through the shield, Naya’s rifle can turn enemies into blackholes and create area of effect damage. If you are interested in this game, and are left struggling which character to play as, than good news you can interchange between the characters at any time on fly with the ‘leap’ function. This function allows you to take control of an AI controlled teammate. This function is nice, but as I got further into the game I used the leap function less and less.
To help choose your favourite character, the characters are class based; this means they all have their own function. Dalton with his shield is a tank and Isabelle is a healer once you unlock her healing skill. Even though each character is a particular class, there isn’t that big of a difference between the characters. When you look at their skill trees there is only 1 unique skill for each class: Naya gets a cloak, Dalton can drop a shield etc.
With a portfolio as strong as Insomniac Games, Fuse is a rather disappointing game. Both enemy and ally AI are poor and the story isn’t anything to write home about. With that said the fuse concept is interesting, and some faults can be overlooked if you play co-op with friends.
Developer: Insomniac Games
Platform: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (this game was reviewed on the Xbox 360)
Release date: out now
Website: Official Fuse website