FUSE review – aFUSE Bouche 
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Geoffrey Tim
June 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I’ll admit to praising Insomniac’s Resistance 3 probably a little more than it rightfully deserved. the single biggest reason for that was the game’s weapons, and the incredible agency that accompanied them. Inventive weaponry seems to be Insomniac Games’ forte – because that’s the only thing that sets its latest, multiplatform effort FUSE apart from its myriad competition.

It didn’t have to be that way. Once upon a time, FUSE was filled with the promise of an interesting and unique aesthetic characters who weren’t cookie-cut combative contemporaries. Focus testing by EA and Insomniac told them that people didn’t want to play things that were different, or remotely cartoonish. What people wanted instead was the same generic, gritty and realistic shooters they’ve all been playing for years. And that’s what they have in FUSE – except of course, for all that wonderful weaponry.

FUSEScreen

Set in the not-too-distant future, an alien technology pilfered from Roswell’s famous UFO crash is finally made stable. The eponymous stuff, FUSE, is able to give the world an unlimited and free supply of energy. And it is of course put to despotic ends – as a way to end the arms race and enslave humanity.  Seemingly at the root of all of this is the the paramilitary corporation Raven who’s attempting to steal all the FUSE, using its extra-terrestrial abilities to create an otherworldly arsenal. A mysterious client has sent four elite mercenary agents from a rival gun-for-hire group called Overstrike 9 to keep this all at bay, and make sure the FUSE doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. That’s entirely as much of the narrative as you need to know, because that’s very nearly the entirety of the narrative. you’ll learn a little more about each of the agents as the story plods along, but certainly not enough to care about them in any way.

FUSEScreen2

Playing as any one of the four Overstrike agents – none of whom is imbued with any quantifiable amount of personality – you’re soon in possession of an agent-specific bit of FUSE-powered ordnance. And its these guns that have so much more character than the people wielding them  – and the only thing that’ll keep you playing through this any longer than you have to. Team leader  Dalton Brooks gets a gun that enables him to project a semi-liquid shield in front of him,soaking up bullets. Once sufficiently upgraded, it also allows him to create a pulse that knocks enemies on their feet. Obligatory black guy Jacob gets a long-rang crossbow that fires explosive bolts. Assassin Naya gets a cloaking device and  warp rifle that creates mini singularities, while medic Izzy gets a  healing beacon and and a shattergun; a weapon that temporarily crystallises enemies. in the end, each character ends up being defined by the guns they carry – and that’s telling.

FUSEScreen3

When it’s at its best – as a four player co-operative game – there’s genuine fun to be had in the dynamic interplay between all of these weapons. Shooting at enemies through Dalton’s shield increases their damage; hitting bad guys caught in Naya’s black holes with Jacob’s Arc-bolts causes a chain reaction of explosions – ands it’s in experimenting with these combinations with a group of friends (or even random strangers on the internet) that gives FUSE its raison d’être. a rudimentary XP and upgrade system keeps it slightly interesting – but It becomes insanely frantic once the fusion skill is unlocked – granting temporary team-wide invulnerability and unlimited FUSE ammunition, turning the whole thing in to a veritable fireworks display of relentless on-screen carnage.

FUSEScreen4

And though you can leap from agent to agent when playing alone, pretty much all  of that magic disappears if you’re playing the game alone. Much of that is down to some disastrous AI; when you’re playing with yourself, you can’t rely on your partners to do anything, leaving you to do all the dirty work. It’s not that the AI is terrible – just that it has its priorities completely out of order. Worse though is that when you’re alone you’re given time to notice just how bland everything is. Everything, from the artwork, to the handful of repeated bullet-sponge human and robot enemies, to the locales is just dull and uninspired. You can see that it wasn’t meant to be this way, and there was some sort of glimmer of originality somewhere. You can tell from the tone; the out-of-place, infrequently witty banter between the Overstrike agents that hints that this game could have been so much more.

In fact, here’s a reminder what it could have been.

Play through the campaign, and you can do exactly the same thing over and over again in the game’s co-operative multiplayer mode, called Echelon. Set in the same locales you’ll visit in the game, you get to face off against wave upon relentless wave of enemy – but be warned, it’s unflinchingly difficult, and dying every couple of seconds is only fun for a while.

FUSE’s core mechanics; third person shooting, basic stealth and a functional cover system are sound, and when paired with a handful of friends, approaching being genuinely, addictively fun – but they come wrapped in very boring, very brown paper. Five years ago, this would have been hailed as revolutionary, but the biggest problem with FUSE is that you’re unable to shake the feeling that you’ve seen and played it all before.

Conclusion

Even though it's not visually distinguishable from may of this year's games, I have to admit to having more fun with FUSE than anticipated - when I played it with friends. Playing it alone is a chore, and something best avoided.
6.0

FUSE was reviewed by Geoffrey Tim on a Xbox 360

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces. I am also the emperor of the backend

  • Hammersteyn

    Sounds a bit like Gears of War. “doing the same thing; shooting the same enemies, running from encounter to encounter” but with four characters.

    Also what the hell IGN and Gamespot? If you are going to give a game 6.5 and 7 respectively don’t let them quote you in the trailer. Save that for games at least 8 and up!

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      Gears has a little more soul to it.

      • Hammersteyn

        Referring to the chainsaw guns? Bloody hell I remember the second GOW now

      • Rinceandspit…

        Soul, is that what they are calling mindless blocks of meat these days? Trolololo!

        • Admiral Chief Commander

          THOSE EYES MAN O…O

          • Rinceandspit…

            That’s what roids will do to ya!

      • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

        Yeah Gears has more soul….in the neck

        • Rinceandspit…

          Haha! Okay, you may leave your corner… FOR NOW.

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            Yay :) that corner was cold as hell

      • brad coetzee

        the soul of American Football and Creatine?

  • Sir Twakkus

    Overstrike looked awesome. Sad they decided to go this route.

  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    No RE:Rev Review yet :(

    • Rinceandspit…

      It’s coming, now back to the CORNER!

      • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

        No! I will not stand for this any longer. Just as Mandela fought for our freedom so will I fight for mine. Send me to jail if you will I will not drop the soap!

        • Rinceandspit…

          Right, not RE: Rev review for you!

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            but….but…..I want people to know how awesome this game is..okay I will sit in the corner

  • Admiral Chief Commander

    DAT OVERSTRIKE!!!!!!

  • Purple_Dragon

    It’s a shame when something promising is changed. I bet the order to change from Overstrike came from the top.

  • Trevor Davies

    I recognise Axton & Lillith in the first pic, who are the other two?

  • Admiral Chief Commander

    I heard that EA employees get these instead of coffee:

    • Trevor Davies

      It’s true, but they have to pay to unlock the lid & 1600 Bioware points to fill the jar

      • Admiral Chief Commander

        O_O @ “fill the jar”

        FILL IT WITH WHAT MAN?????

        GAAAAAAAH

        *runs away at light speed*

        • Trevor Davies

          With vaseline of course. It’s a corporate environment man, keep it clean! :/

          • Admiral Chief Commander

            *phew*

            You made me worry O_O

    • Hammersteyn

      So they drink their coffee like this?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_enema

      • Admiral Chief Commander

        Ag nee sis man, at lunchtime AGAIN

        • Hammersteyn

          Bwahaha rather have brunch then.

          • Admiral Chief Commander

            Apparently. Good thing my stomach can handle it, but damn, think of the children man!

          • Hammersteyn

            What must the children think of Vaseline?

          • Admiral Chief Commander

            You use Vaseline on a baby’s bottom to prevent nappy rash dammit!

          • Hammersteyn

            Soooooooooooo instead of coffee EA employees gets Vaseline to prevent nappy rash???

          • Admiral Chief Commander

            Yes, they are not potty trained yet

      • Admiral Chief Commander

        HOW DO YOU KNOW THESE DISGUSTING THINGS??????

        • ElNicko

          the Internet is a Wonderful and Scary place……

        • Hammersteyn

          Fight Club. Tyler mentions his boss had a Cafe Late Enema. Turns out it’s actually a thing. Plus when I drink three cups of coffee in the morning….

        • Trevor Davies

          Have you ever heard the story about a hamster & duct tape?

          • Admiral Chief Commander

            *fingers in ears* I CAN’T HEAR YOOOOOO*
            *closes eyes as well*

          • HvR

            A great adventure is waiting for you ahead. Hurry onward Lemmiwinks, for you will soon be dead. The journey before you may be long and filled with woe. But you must escape the

      • Unavengedavo

        Did anyone else chuckle at the term “rectal cleansing”?

  • Tbone187

    What’s this, no COD reference in a shooter review…comments included…cannot be…

    • mancera

      The world is changing to a place where you ignore COD, and hope it goes away completely…

      • HvR

        shhhttt, if that which will not be spoken is mentioned one more time it will return.

        • mancera

          Sorry, the game that shall not be named, shall not be named by me again… today

  • DaxterZA

    I finished this game with a friend, Im incredibly disappointed :-(

    Shame on you Insomniac for making this garbage game….you literally encounter every enemy and get every gun in the first mission of the game, and for the rest of the game its just the same damn thing over and over….

    Gears Of War Judgement was also garbage (Compaired to GOW 1-3) but it was still better than Fuse….

    I guess Dead Space 3 and Tomb Raider are still on top for my 3rd person games of the year…

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