During the most recent EA event held in New York City, I got some hands on time with the eagerly anticipated Fuse. Fuse (formerly known as Overstrike) is the first multiplatform game from Insomniac Studios; a developer known for making games exclusively for Sony’s consoles. Given the company’s history with creating games with imaginative weapons and memorable characters, I was expecting a lot from this title. How was it? Read on to find out.
The story of Fuse takes place in a fictional version of a near future Earth. A paramilitary terrorist organization called Raven discovers an extraterrestrial energy source and uses it advance their weaponry. This is something that the military isn’t ready for so the CIA calls in a small independent contact team called Overstrike 9 to take care of the situation. As the story progresses a new and greater enemy is revealed.
Fuse is a four player co-op third person shooter. This sounds like standard stuff but what sets this game apart are the imaginative Fuse weapons and how they work in conjunction with each other. Insomniac’s games always have far out weapons and Fuse is keeping that tradition alive. Players can play with up to three other human players or with as many as three CPU controlled characters. You can switch between characters at any given time. This is useful for overcoming a wide variety of situations. Some enemies may require an up close and personal approach. Others may need to be taken out from afar. Some enemies are best dealt with as a team. The game is very dynamic and is set up in a way that lets you tackle things in the manner you deem best.
Now before I go on I have to mention that I got to play Fuse with none other than Ted Price himself. I’ve been a fan of the man and his games for many years so you can imagine my excitement over getting to play a game with one of my idols. It was so incredible that I can’t even properly describe it. Seeing Ted’s reactions to his own game was priceless. He kept saying “oh shit…oh shit” as we played and that just brought a smile to my face. You can tell that Ted is extremely proud of Fuse and it’s that enthusiasm of his that makes the games Insomniac puts out so special. Anyway, you didn’t come here to read about my experience playing with Mr. Price so let’s get down to talking about Fuse!
Ted showed me the basics of the game before we got to the really good stuff. It was interesting to play an Insomniac game with an Xbox 360 controller let me tell you. My mind is used to holding a Dualshock controller when playing their games so I had a bit of a mental hurdle to leap. Anyway, the game controls similarly to most third person games out there. The learning curve is definitely not steep and Ted kept hammering the point about how Fuse is meant to be fast paced. There were small sections that had some traversal elements and door hacking but it was all pretty simple stuff. The main draw of the game is the combat and in this arena it shines.
Fuse encourages cooperation and experimentation. The Fuse weapons, as their name implies, can be combined with each other to great and destructive effect. For example, one character can use a Fuse power that freezes enemies in place while the other player uses their Fuse power to shatter the foes to pieces. The demo only had a few of these abilities unlocked but the full game will have more. I was shown a menu screen that lets you put Fuse points into certain abilities. The more abilities you unlock, the more powerful your weapons become. My mind went wild at the possibilities available. Price said that you can stay along one evolutionary path or pick abilities from different paths. It’s all up to you.
After playing the game with Ted Price for a good long while, I was then given the chance to play it with three other journalists. One of them was my boy Francois Chang from Buzz Focus. This mode is reminiscent of horde modes from other games. You must survive twelve waves of enemy attacks while trying to complete random objectives. I say random because you never get the same objectives in the same order twice. Sometimes the first objective will be to defend a position, sometimes it will be to take out a specific enemy. You just never know. This keeps things fresh. Since this mode is meant to be played with four players it is really tough. I hate to admit it but our group was pretty terrible. We kept getting destroyed and never made it past wave four. You can tell that this mode requires A LOT of cooperation but since our team was running around all Willy Nilly we got creamed. Even with all of the embarrassing deaths, this mode was a lot of fun to play. I can only imagine how awesome this co-op mode will be with a team of complete bad asses.
Experience points that you earn in single player carries over into multiplayer and vice versa. The game has leveling up as well. You are scored based on your performance and the higher scores that you get, the more XP you earn and the more Fuse points you earn. You’re only given so many Fuse points so you’ll need to replay the game several times to fully max out your weapons. Add in the co-op and you’re looking at a game that you could theoretically be playing for months.
The only thing that I didn’t get a sense of from this hands on was the tone of the game. That first trailer (when it was called Overstrike) had a lot of personality that the actual game itself doesn’t seem to. Ted Price assured me that the game still has that same feel to it since they aren’t trying to make a super serious game. I guess I shouldn’t have expected this from a demo but I was hoping to see a little bit of that sense of humor and over-the-top silliness from the first trailer. I take Ted at his word so I believe him when he says the game will be as witty as we expect it to be.
Being an Insomniac Game, Fuse has a lot to live up to. I didn’t get to see any of the humor and carefree spirit from the original trailer but the gameplay itself is on point. Fuse is a game that lives up to its name in so many ways. The small parts I played were a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing the full game when it’s released this spring.