Insomniac Games is a well-known name in the PlayStation community. From its work on Spyro the Dragon to Ratchet and Clank and, more recently, the Resistance trilogy, Insomniac is known for its amazing games and storytelling across all of the Sony consoles. In a partnership with EA’s now-defunct “EA Partners Program,” Insomniac was able to release a game for PS3 and 360.
FUSE, which was originally titled Overstrike, is a third-person shooter. Unfortunately, this vague term greatly surmises the game. What was originally planned in more of a Borderlands-style tongue-in-cheek game with lots of damage and explosions ended up becoming more of a standard shooter.
The main spin on FUSE is the weapons that you use. Each character uses a particular weapon that combines a substance with the fuse energy to create interesting results.
Dalton is the de facto leader of the team. He is armed with a Magshield. This gun absorbs any oncoming ammunition and can fire back what it collects in a broad but short range.
Jacob is a former police officer and is armed with the Arcshot. This weapon is similar in design to a crossbow in that it can pin enemies to walls, however the secondary fire explodes the arrows into streams of fiery mercury.
Izzy is the healer of the group. She can deploy med beacons with her secondary fire. The primary fire for her Shattergun encases enemies in living crystal, helping to take enemies out of cover.
Naya is the assassin of the group. Her Warp rifle can create singularities that envelop the targets. By painting several enemies at once, you can create much larger and violent deaths. Her secondary fire allows her to become invisible. This is very handy for taking out guards quietly or in flanking enemies.
The levels are quite varied, taking you through several different and interesting places. The first few levels include a secret underground laboratory, an underwater hideout, and a tropical island. I don’t want to ruin the story but the locations definitely get more interesting as you progress.
The A.I. is not always as intelligent as it should be. There were a few times where my teammates were crouching facing a corner, running into a wall, or not taking cover during boss fights. The ability to switch between characters allows you to correct these problems quite easily and adds a bit of strategy to the game. The one problem I never really had was being healed. Anytime I was downed, my teammates would rush to my aid.
The game allows for a 4-player story campaign. However, you are only able to play with two people on a single console. Having a 4-player local campaign could have greatly increased the desire for group experiences. There is also a ‘horde mode’, where you battle through 12 waves of enemies, gathering money and experience.
A small issue I had with the game is its insistence on weaponry other than your fuse gun. While these become helpful when you run out of ammo, I felt myself fervently searching for more ammo just so I could use my character’s specialty weapon.
One of the major problems is the lack of an in-depth story. You are not given much more information than what your next location and objective is. Teammate interactions are attempts at witty banter that seem to fall short more often than not. However, as lacking as the story is, I felt myself drawn into the characters. I wanted to learn more about them.
FUSE is a definitely a game that creates a fun atmosphere with a rich backstory waiting to be explored. So much is left from the table that you constantly feel hungry for more. This, in addition to the technical issues, hurt the game, but never enough to keep it from being enjoyable. I feel that a sequel would definitely allow Insomniac to build upon a fun core concept, much like it did with Ratchet and Clank.