What’s this, a shooter from EA that isn’t Battlefield or Medal of Honor, an original IP, well this is what we have been asking for all this time, so just what is Fuse?
Coming from the team behind the Resistance series, Fuse is Insomniac's first attempt at a multiplatform title. The game is set in the not too distant future, a crack team of four operatives called Overstrike 9 are sent to a military installation following it going into lock down. Whilst initially Overstrike 9 does not know what is in there, with the powers that be labelling it as "sensitive" tech that needs protecting, it is soon revealed that the scientists were producing weapons of mass destruction from an unknown alien source. Like kids in a candy store the team very quickly procure these weapons for their own use to fight against a steady flow of rival forces and robotic menaces.
After the initial setup Fuse quickly turns into a cover based shooter, with a plot that just constantly throws excuses to fight a room full of baddies or work as a team to solve basic problems like opening heavy doors or transferring power coils.
The main McGuffin for this game is the Fuse technology, or more basically, the four xenotech weapons that the team pick up, The Arcshot, Magshield, Shattergun and Warp Rifle and though all sparkly and pretty, the Fuse weapons are just another way to class characters, taking on an almost MMO approach to how they act with each other as you gradually upgrade each weapon. The Arcshot is the sniper, allowing Jacob to zoom the view and also detonate its ammo, The Shattergun is wielded by Izzy, a weapon that encases enemies in crystal, with a follow up attack smashing them to pieces. Izzy also acts as a medic, throwing out med beacons for the team and Naya uses the Warp Rifle, a powerful weapon that fires antimatter rounds that can create wormholes, while later in the game she can also use a cloaking device. The only power worth using more than once and the most original is the Mag Shield, used by Dalton, when used it can soak up incoming enemy fire and then spew it back to whence it came, pretty satisfying. Alongside these weapons you also have the usual plethora of weapons assigned to the d-pad, with pistols to the left and automatic fire or sniper rifles to the right.
As mentioned, the Fuse weapons are upgradable, though for most of the time the actual additional benefits are quite boring, with only a couple of interesting additions thrown in near the end of each tier worth working towards, such as the Fuse Grenades, extra xenotech ammo or the afore mentioned second skills like healing or invisibility. Upgrades come in two flavours, the character upgrades which rank up with kills and the Team Traits, which are boosted by collecting Fuse Credits that are hidden all over the levels offering the likes of longer bleed out times or health boosts with enemy takedowns.
Though created for four players you can also play solo, however this is spoilt by some very iffy AI that gets stuck a lot and is missing ally commands which you can see in the likes of Mass Effect. The quick change is also fiddly, asking you to hold select and then press the face button that corresponds to your required character. Upgrading is also a right mess, having to transfer to each separate character before pausing and then tinkering with their upgrades.
Fuse is an original IP with some great ideas that are adequately executed and that sums up the whole game, it's adequate. There is no denying this is an attempt at a Gear of War clone. Gears has everything Fuse has but with the dial turned up to 11, it was at its best when it was so over the top and even though stupid at times, it even managed to shed a tear or two, Fuse just comes off as a bit boring and bland; harsh as the actual cover system works quite well and is very fluid, allowing you to skulk around corners, blind fire, run into more cover and also vault low items.
If there is one area where Fuse does feel different then it's Echelon. By taking the plot away and trying with just all-out action, the aim of this horde style mode is to run around a map carrying out objectives. This turns out to be more fun than the campaign and feels very similar to the Mass Effect 3 online mode, not a bad thing, but again, not as deep, with the team of four being dropped into an area and then tackling wave after wave of enemies, most involve killing everything in sight but with little additional twist like protecting or capturing items and the occasional boss fight. There is plenty of ammo to collect during the battles to keep you shooting away plus a few heavy gun turret emplacements and heavy weapon drops to spice up the action.