Fuse – PS3
Platform: PlayStation 3
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts (EA)
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Genre: Third Person Shooter
Nerd Rating: 6/10
Reviewed By: Steroid Gamer
Insomniac Games has a long running history of creating games with crazy-ass weapons and FUSE is no exception. Insomniac’s latest game is a four-player co-op shooter with four unique kick-ass weapons and a whole lot of mediocrity. FUSE can be played cooperatively online or offline (up to two player split screen) or you can choose to fly solo. However, from the get-go (and after playing the game both solo and with 3 other players online) it’s obvious that the game was designed with the hope of players NOT taking a solo adventure. Sure, it’s an option but it certainly isn’t ideal.
There is a tremendous amount of third person shooters out in the market today, and it can be hard for one game to differentiate itself from the rest of the gun wielding affairs. FUSE contains one awesome quality that does set it apart, but it is also the only gem in the game that makes it worth experiencing in the first place. That gem is the unique Xenotech weapons that each character uses.
The four characters in FUSE, (Jacob, Izzy, Naya, Dalton) each have different Xenotech weapons and unique attributes of their own, but when you really break it down these are their classes: Healer, Stealth, Support, Assault. The game never spells this out, but nonetheless it’s an obvious statement. Each character also has a specific trait that goes along with their Xenotech weapon. Let’s get to the juicy part, the weapons. First up is Dalton’s Magshield, which puts up a semi-clear shield that blocks all projectiles. The cool thing about the magshield is you can shoot bullets through it yourself, making them more powerful, and Dalton can place shields anywhere on the map. Next up, is Izzy’s Shattergun which, according to the games lore is powered by Melanite, will crystallize enemies and “freeze” them in place. Izzy is also the team medic and can throw grenades that create healing rings.
Naya, the ninja, uses the Warp Rifle and can cloak herself with a simple button press. Obviously, cloaking is self explanatory and very useful, so useful that it can feel like cheating at times. Naya’s Warp Rifle allows you to “paint” enemies and when you focus your fire on one enemy they will explode causing a chain reaction to “warp” in all the other enemies you painted. It’s super badass. Finally, there is Jacob, who seems like the least important but can play an important role if he is used properly. Jacob has access to the Arcbolt which shoots out arrows into foes and pins them to walls, ceilings, and any other surface. Jacob can also explode those bolts after they’ve been launched, which is great for crowd control.
There are several other weapons in FUSE, but these are your standard guns like sniper rifles, handguns, shotguns etc. You can freely swap those guns in and out as much as you please. However, the Xenotech weapons are unique to each character and stick with them permanently. This creates a weird dynamic. Theoretically, if you and your squad mates plan and communicate well, making sure to optimize your characters with their strengths and weaknesses, you’re going to have a significantly easier time. But let’s be realistic. Most people you come across online are going to play how they want, not how they’re “supposed” to. If Dalton is using his magshield properly and Naya uses her stealth properly, certain objectives are a walk in the park, which is why FUSE has such a weird system. Think of it like a math formula (I know math sucks, just bare with me). 1 + 1 = 2, right? But -1+3= 2, as well. Well, this is FUSE’s system. If you stick to the specific formula that Insomniac had in mind, then the game is going to play out a certain way and be a lot more fun. If you choose (or are forced by online teammates) to try a different formula but get the same answer, your experience might not be as good. The A.I. is fairly competent and sticks to the roles nicely, however you’ll find them sometimes being super passive and waiting for the human controlled players to not only take the lead, but do most of the work. It’s not horrible, but playing with the A.I. isn’t ideal either. To sum it up, if Izzy is being played as the healer (which is her class) than things should go smoothly, but due to the fact that Xenotech weapons and attributes are tied to a single character, if Izzy is being played as the stealth class you’re going to have major problems.
FUSE can create some really fun moments when you and your teammates combine Xenotech weapons, on accident or purposefully. Watching enemies get warped closer together only to be obliterated by Dalton’s magshield is as awesome as it is watching Izzy crystallize enemies and seeing Jacob follow up by burning said crystal foes with his Arcbolt.
Moving past the complicated shooting sequences (it’s not that complicated) there are a few platforming sections in the game, but they are really just there briefly as artificial ways to break up the shooting. The game’s campaign has six chapters which are fairly long taking about an hour and a half to two hours to complete. FUSE also has a wave-based mode called Echelon. Echelon consist of 12 waves that randomize objectives such as: protect a zone, killing a boss, or taking out all the enemies. This mode is actually pretty fun and addictive at first, but with only six maps and little variety in enemies and objectives, even though they are randomized, it becomes repetitive rather quick.
FUSE’s biggest flaw is the repetitive nature the game takes. You basically enter from one shootout to the next, and while there is usually a good diversity amongst enemy types, you’ll go through sections that are quite forgettable. The characters themselves are the biggest stereotypes a video game has ever seen. Izzy is the brain, Naya is the hot one, Dalton is the meat-head leader, and Jacob is just kind of there, or plays a “sidekick” role. The story is really not even a story, apart from explaining that the boss is the bad guy, and that your chopper isn’t going to make it because….well that’s what happens in these sorts of games. The lack of depth in FUSE is like kryptonite to Superman. Entering corridor after corridor to take down baddies is as simple as it gets. It is important to point out that the game is extremely more fun when you play with friends. It’s not so much that the game itself changes, but there is just enough built in the foundation to make FUSE a fun adventure to share with friends. A solo venture not so much.
The level design in FUSE is creative at times with levels having multiple layers so you don’t just have to shoot back and forth from the same level plain. The visual design has some nice features here and there, but nothing too exciting. The animations, however, are pretty great when it comes to the Xenotech weapons. Warping foes or crystallizing enemies with the Shattergun are animated well and come off as how it would look if this sort of thing was possible. The voice acting is average at best, and the script itself isn’t anything to write home about either.
FUSE is a game built upon mediocrity from left to right. The shooting feels average, the level design and gameplay has all been seen and done before, and the characters are pretty awful. However, wielding the Xenotech weapons and causing all sorts of unplanned chaos is a delight. Echelon mode is a blast and the game truly shines as a four player co-op adventure. Unfortunately, taking a solo journey enhances the spotlight on the games many flaws. FUSE rarely creates an identity of its own, but when it does it’s borderline brilliant. The end experience leaves you wishing for more of what could’ve been than what it actually is.
Share This Post