Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], PlayStation 3, PC
Rated: M for Mature
Insomniac has brought us some of the most creative and imaginative games the industry has ever seen. Starting with Ratchet & Clank in which we’ve commanded the destructive power of unique weaponry and FUSE is no exception. But with some bugs, inept AI, and bland encounters there’s only so much that these weapons of mass destruction can do to alleviate the frustration.
“Fuse”, an extremely valuable and dangerous substance incorporated in the applications of military use is stolen by Raven, a paramilitary group, and it’s up to the Overstrike 9 team to save the world. This playable blockbuster movie has you take on the role of one out the four members of Overstrike 9: Dalton Brooks, Izzy Sinclair, Jacob Kimble, and Naya Deveraux, each wielding a unique Xenoweapon powered by Fuse.
Usually a story that has characters carrying such heavy baggage would be the central focus, but what steals the spotlight is the Xenoweapons. With an arsenal able to create singularities, crystalize baddies, blots exploding into superheated mercury, and projecting blast waves you’re left not even caring about the characters endeavor. As you chase down Raven to recover the stolen Fuse you’ll come across some wacky villains and mow down wave after relentless wave of foes to reach them. Overall it’s the basic good versus evil, stop at nothing to save the day story, but with awesome sci-fi guns!
Playing by yourself proves to be soul-crushing, sort of like you’re being punished for even considering playing alone. You’re compatriots, despite doing an admirable job in most situations, they sometimes will do absolutely nothing and even stand still leaving you to handle the next batch of foes ahead. Regardless, playing solo isn’t entirely bad. You have the free reign to experience each agent’s unique weapon and abilities with the LEAP feature where you can swap between the four characters at will. This keeps things interesting throughout the campaign, but in the end you’ll be facing the same enemies in droves.
FUSE is advertised as a co-op game and you’d be wise to gather some friends to play with online or local. As expected the co-op is the highlight of the game making the campaign bearable and most importantly fun. Having human player you cause more havoc and chaos while having a blast. Being able to communicate with someone to execute coordinated plans rather than hoping that the AI does what it’s supposed to do is a great feeling. It all becomes a chore though as you still have to dispatch the same enemy archetypes over and over again. You’ll occasionally encounter enemy air crafts, and mechs, but these shootouts will shortly be filed under the “been there, done that” folder.
Amongst the mediocre AI and some frustratingly difficult moments the controls is definitely a rainbow in the dark. When playing by yourself you can really only rely on your own skills, thankfully the controls are smooth and responsive making any obstacle easy to overcome whether its attempting to remain undetected or dodging gunfire.
The upgrade system will allow you to put points toward your agent’s skill tree that increases various aspects to your characters skills like increased clip size and weapon damage. What’s disappointing though is that the skill tree for each agent is almost identical except four weapon specific skills. With tools of destruction capable of laying waste to your enemies some extensive customizable skills and abilities would’ve been rightly just.
Even when you complete the story you still have plenty of things to do. There are collectables to find, challenges to complete and 4 agents to max out. Echelon, the horde mode for FUSE, allows you to jump into several maps to annihilate a smorgasbord of enemies. This mode deserves some merit when it comes to replay-ability and fun. With friends this can be where most of your time is spent without having to go through the standard story.
After competing FUSE I couldn’t help but feel like there was so much more potential to be discovered that wasn’t taken advantage of. There were bugs that forced me to restart segments, the AI was agonizing, and the encounters where the same grunts that needed a bullet to the face. Despite all of that when you get some friends into the mix the fun presents itself, but at the same time giving you a very clear contrast of solo vs. co-op. There is still some hectic destruction to rain down upon your enemies and if you love some chaotic shootouts with a bit of frustration mixed in then give FUSE a try. Make sure you have friends on standby though.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5