Fuse is a new game just released from EA and Insomniac which bases itself on team and co-operative playing modes. Fuse is a fun game once you get into it and bases itself very heavily on action oriented combat situations. The player is given a choice to play with either Dalton Brooks, Jacob Kimble, Naya Deveraux or Isabelle Sinclair during the story or various game modes within the game.
Fuse is a surprisingly fun game and those who enjoy the multiplayer game experience such as that of what Call Of Duty offers or Battlefield 3 would likely enjoy playing Fuse. The reason I say this is because for much of the game you face waves and waves of enemies. There are two modes to play in Fuse the first being story mode and the second being the Echelon mode.
First I’ll start with story mode. Story mode is broken up into 6 campaign levels that take about an hour to an hour and half to complete (well that’s how long it took me). The story of Fuse is simplistic as is expected I guess for a game emphasising team oriented shooting and action over story. But thankfully you don’t really need a character driven story for Fuse.
The story is very simplistic in that an enemy group known as Raven attempts to steal the Fuse which is an alien technology that is used to power the weapons in the game. Your team of four characters are essentially recruited to stop Raven, an organisation led by the mad man Fable from gaining this technology and using it for questionable purposes.
There isn’t really a strong character dynamic in this game and no character is really developed or changed to anything more than they were at the start. I would not recommend this game to a person looking for a character rich story experience because in Fuse this isn’t really the focus. But I don’t think this was the intended focus when Insomniac made this game. This game has all the attributes of an action game, it’s fun, entertaining and doesn’t require so much thought to play through it. It’s simple point shoot. This is sometimes good, because as a player sometimes I just want to play a game, shoot a whole lot of things, gain a high score and log off. It’s quite similar to the experience you would have or why I think so many people play COD or Battlefield online.
As an action oriented gaming experience I do think Fuse delivers, and I think it delivers its action experience quite well. There are always multiple enemies to shoot at and there is a wide variety of levels in the game that are visually different. No one level felt the same visually which is an upside, it makes you feel like you are getting somewhere.
To review this game I thought I would look to see what it promised on its box, it states “Four Elite Agents, One Lethal Team. Join Overstrike 9 and combine weapons powered by alien Fuse technology to devastating effect in single-player, co-op or Echelon multi-player modes.” As this is directly what the game promises on the box, I think it is exactly what it delivers. It is very strongly based on the team play experience and places a very heavy emphasis on the multi-player component to the extent that your friends can be given the option to even join you during your single player missions.
The four characters that you can play as are quite diverse in their gameplay in terms of the strategies that are available for use. Dalton is more of a defensive player who deploys his shield in strategic positions in order block fire or protect the team. Jacob is the sniper of the team and positions himself usually towards the back and picks off enemies from a far away position which helps characters like Naya or Isabelle; who are more in the line of fire. Isabelle is the support character, her fuse weapon can freeze enemies while she can also deploy med kits that can be used to support the team. Naya is more of an assassin type of playable character. Naya’s weapon the warp rifle is strong and her ability is invisibility allowing her to sneak up behind shielded enemies and assassinate them from behind. All together when mixing this team of four the player is given quite the amount of options to choose from to strategically attack the waves of enemies sent forth. You can read more about the characters in our preview.
As for the actual combat in the game with your team you are likely to have two different types of experiences as you can either play the game single player or have your friend or other online players join in as your team. I found the single player to be the best part about the game, the AI team partners always revived me and I cannot recall any moments in the entire game where I wasn’t revived. As helpers I found the AI to be very helpful and quite intuitive as to what was going on. As a single player experience I had the most fun, I loved fighting waves of enemies and was always helped if I fell.
There is also a feature known as “Leap” in Fuse which was helpful in single player. A player using “Leap” is able to switch between characters by holding Select and then pressing triangle, square, X, or circle (PS3) to “Leap” between the characters. This means switching between Naya to Isabelle for example during the game. I found this to be fun as it allowed changes in the gameplay during the story mode. But for most of the time I just played as Naya, I thought she had the best weapons and her invisibility ability not only helps to sneak up on enemies but also allows you to be virtually impossible to kill as the enemies don’t fire on you once you are invisible. Same can be said for Echelon mode, Naya was just the best to play as, I was rarely killed while other players were constantly down. But I guess you can get good at any of the characters, Naya was just my best of the bunch.
In terms of the multiplayer experience I found it to be a bit lacking in terms of the skills of the other players I was joined with. In the Echelon mode I was in a team of 4 and playing as Naya. I was on about 15k points quite early on while my other team mates were barely over 500! I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve finished the game or because they are new to it just now, but I found myself way ahead of the other players in the game. I was constantly reviving them, constantly rescuing them, constantly going back for them. A strange thing happened as well, I completed the Echelon mode when they left and the AI players took their places. I guess your multiplayer experience will be heavily determined by the team of players you are joined with. In my case, they were absent skill and were of no aid. But I had so much fun carrying the team and chatting to them with the microphones that I hardly could care.
Apart from the playable gameplay based experience which is quite fun once you get a handle on how each character operates, or how to counter the many enemies in the game. Fuse does have what I thought to be quite a good soundtrack. Apart from the main menu theme which I thought was a bit subdued, other tracks in the game really brought the game to life. As an action game it is extremely enhanced by the music tracks offered during the game which I found really added atmosphere and urgency, to what was happening on the screen. Music wise I think this game is quite good and the type of music chosen matches well with the gameplay experience.
The art style in this game is quite unique in that it’s sort of almost cartoon like in its presentation. But at the same time certain environments like the jungle, snow or even space levels stand out quite a lot visually. Action scenes to are graphically impressive. Naya for example when assassinating and enemy from behind would use a knife and quite a lot of blood would be splattered everywhere, or the same thing would happen with the shot gun at close range. This violence level I think made the game better than not having the blood splattered as so. The reason being because of its cartoon like style it would have bordered on the unrealistic but adding this in made it seem slightly more real, I don’t know how, I just know I liked it. Alternatively the cartoon like appearance of the characters helped take away the violent tone of the game making it lean towards the more entertaining rather than the violence. As an entertainment game I thought the art style was well chosen to match its purpose.
There are a variety of upgrades to your weapons that you can do during the game through the Fuse levelling up system. This system is very basic however, but it does give you extra perks. Playing in the Echelon mode will give you points you can spend on team perks and also player skins.
Overall Fuse is a good fun gameplay experience. It’s the type of game you can turn on and play for an hour or so without much drain on you mind from having to concentrate on a dramatic character based story. It’s the type of game you can play with your friends either at home or online with the multiplayer features. It’s the type of game, that really is just a game. It’s you against a whole range of enemies or as the box says its “Four elite agents, one lethal team”. It’s not a game to be taken to seriously and I don’t think it’s trying to be, it’s just a game to have fun with and I had quite a lot of fun with it.