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Fuse Hands-On Preview: The Power of Four

MiguelConcepcion

Posted January 7, 2013 - By Miguel Concepcion


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 Fuse

When looking at Insomniac Games’ portfolio, Fuse almost feels like the most natural thing for the studio to come up with in 2013. Announced first as Overstrike at E3 2011, the game’s original feel was as if Insomniac were bringing its shooter experience to the third person with the slick, cartoony tone of Ratchet and Clank along with that series’ emphasis on gadgetry. Since a name change to Fuse, its been given more grit and a serious edge, familiar territory for the creator of the Resistance series.

The key ingredient that Insomniac is counting on is the substance that gives the game its title. An alien substance originally discovered by the U.S. government in the 1940’s, ‘fuse’ has been kept hidden from the public ever since. It seems to be some kind of all-purpose juice that powers up your characters and weapons, making for guns that can create black holes or turn targets into mercury. With a rogue organization named Raven having stolen its source, it’s up to you and your squad of operatives to retrieve it and clean up any messes this rather unstable substance might have made on the loose.

FUSE "The Dalton Rules" Story Trailer »


If there's one thing you cannot miss from Fuse's marketing message (ie. official boxset and trailers), it's that the game is meant to be played in a team of four, at all times, even if A.I. has to step in for those playing solo. With mission structures that are tight and objective driven, it has almost the opposite feel of a wide open multiplayer game like Borderlands 2

Insomniac takes the game’s accessibility even further with a feature called Leap. If you’re part of a squad with any A.I.-controlled characters, you can choose to jump into the shoes of any of those operatives during the campaign, providing the rare opportunity to emotionally invest in a team as opposed to a single character. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to test Leap, and we’re left curious as to how well the characters will perform under A.I. control compared with a typical drop-in stranger.

It’s also when you play in a squad that you can make the most of Fuse’s team-enhancing benefits. Dalton, the obligatory tank, employs a shield that friends can fire through to boost damage and earned XP, while Naya’s Warp Rifle creates black holes that can actually be triggered by nearby teammates. Each weapon also has an added unlockable ability that’s earned through gaining XP, like the mercury-infused Arcshot that can be upgraded with a remote detonation enhancement. When playing the campaign by yourself, you can consider the Leap feature as the game’s method of weapon swapping.

Fuse

The studio has proven itself with first-person shooters and third-person gadget-centric platformers. With Fuse’s off-center third-person camera, Insomniac looks to appeal to the Gears of War demographic, though with a setting not quite as alien. Fuse is set simply on near-future Earth, with its four operatives globetrotting to wherever they’re needed. With a variety of locales, from mountain lairs to tropical bases, and dazzling effects from all sorts of highly advanced weaponry, it would not be far off to describe Fuse as James Bond meets Gears of War.

With such an emphasis placed on multiplayer cooperative play in the campaign, it’s more than a bonus that Fuse also features a non-story component. This recent hands-on session also showcased a co-op challenge with multiple waves of enemies that, like the campaign, featured the same kind of enemy infantry and bosses. This has me skeptical about replay value, but with a few more months until launch, there’s still plenty of time for Insomniac and publisher EA to reveal other multiplayer features to allay any concerns.

I will give Fuse a lot of credit for keeping the player persistently busy. From the wealth of pick ups to the flow of bad guys, there's hardly time to take a breather between waves. The same can be said for the story mode, which offered more than enough aggression to keep four players occupied. The only breaks came during cutscenes, but even these parts, with concise exposition and plot twists, were worth paying attention to.

Fuse Hands-On Preview: The Power of Four
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