It was only just the other day I found myself sitting in my room, twiddling my thumbs and reflecting on all the mistakes of my life. (Like playing Colonial Marines). In my stupor, I thought to myself, “Boy! I sure could use a good old fashioned cover-based, third-person console shooter! It been such a long time since I’ve seen and or played one of those” And like a bolt of lightning, Fuse from Insomniac Games suddenly appeared in my hands. For the uninitiated, Fuse is four-person co-op shooter with a greater focus on action and player interaction than story – basically, it’s the console equivalent of a cheesy, mid-budget action film.
You are cast as one of four members of Overstrike 9, an elite group of mercenary misfits with tortured pasts. Each member brings a unique set of abilities and weapons to the conflict, promoting team play. Dalton has a shield that can block and repel bullets, Naya has a cloaking device, Jacob has a fire crossbow that can punch through just about anything and Izzy can cook 2 minute noodles in 118 seconds. You get the drill.
Together, the team must stop a shadowy organization from creating insanely powerful weapons by use of an alien element known as Fuse. Despite the looming threat, clear story direction is a pretty big issue in Fuse. For example, the alien substance from which the game draws its name is never really explained in any great detail. People just acknowledge its existence and move on. The aliens themselves or how man came to acquire the element is never referenced or eluded to in any way, leaving you to question exactly who the dev team hired to write the story (My money is on Michael Bay).
The biggest problem, however, is the derpy AI. The game falls apart completely when you leave the fighting to robots instead of a group of real-life mates. When left to their own devices, your inept teammates can often be found clusterfucking a piece of cover one nautical mile away from the battlefield.
Although you can swap between members to properly place them during battle, setting up flanking fire and whatnot, they’re likely to run off the minute you leave their bodies. In one of the biggest mistakes of the entire game, you also can’t swap when you’re taken down. So if you find yourself bested by enemy fire, your cries for revival fall on deaf sorry-I’m-too-busy-running-face-first-into-this-wall-to-help ears. It’s absolutely infuriating to slog through a 20 minute fire fight then fall to the last man because a two foot wall prevents your allies’ advance. The short version is, playing this game solo made me feel as though I was being punished for not having three friends stupid enough buy Fuse and join me in my misery.
One thing the game does get right, however, is guns. Insomniac is pretty well known for their insane weapons, ala Resistance and Ratchet and Clank, so expect to wield a wide and crazy arsenal. We’re talking guns that create mini black holes, guns that crystallise your opponents and lasers out the wazoo. When you hit your stride and start to steamroll the bad guys with earth shattering explosions and funky team interplay, Fuse really does warrant a smile. But all glory is fleeting. Outside of the main campaign, which will take competent players about eight hours, you have the option of returning to key locations for survival mode.
If you’ve got three dedicated friends who love explosions and semi-tactical combat but hate story and emotional connectivity, grab yourself a copy of Fuse. If not, do I seriously need to go into further detail?
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