As this console generation comes to a close, the chances of seeing new IPs is becoming increasingly low, especially from established AAA developers. That’s where Insomniac Games comes in. The minds behind the hit Resistance and Ratchet & Clank franchises are set to release a new IP, Fuse, but are they breaking enough ground to be as successful as their previous games?
Fuse is set in an alternate reality, where the CIA must send in a small contact team called Overstrike 9 to prevent a rogue paramilitary group from using secret weaponized alien technology called Fuse to start an international arms race. During the mission, the Overstrike 9 team reach the Fuse weapon cache first, and discover that they will need to use the alien tech to fight off more than they were ever prepared for.
While at a preview event held by Insomniac Games, I was able to play through the first 3 levels of Fuse, as well as get an extended chance to play the wave based mode, Echelon. Fuse seems to be an interesting take on the 4-player co-op mechanic as you are able to level up your character, but at the push of a button you can switch over to a different character and use them as long as you see fit. While not unlike anything we haven’t seen before, the mechanic worked well enough. This is possibly due to each character getting a fundamental role based on which Fuse powered weapon they were equipped with.
Dalton uses the Magshield, a tank based weapon that protrudes out as a mobile shield to protect him and anyone behind him. Isabelle, the team’s medic, uses the Shattergun, a weapon that crystallizes opponents, freezing them in their tracks and allowing them shattered. Jacob, the team’s sniper, uses the ranged weapon Archshot to melt enemies on the spot. Lastly, there is Naya, the stealth operative who uses the Warp Rifle to create singularities out of downed foes.
At a glance, Fuse looks very familiar, and it should as it seems to be a based off of the best aspects that have become standard in many co-op third person shooters. Luckily, the parallels or correlations to other games are little more than fundamental aspects found in many games that contain guns and the ability to use cover. Having been able to sit down and play an extended segment of the game, it was easy to see that Fuse plays more like an evolution of the genre instead of a rehashing – much like a chef who can use the same ingredients as everyone else, but comes out with a much better dish.
Each of the characters feel very similar in their ability to move around the terrain, but once you understand the dynamics of the weapon at hand, Fuse gives players numerous options to mess around with. At first, I tried out Naya and discovered that I really was not feeling her stealth ability and Warp Rifle, so I switched to Jacob and found a play style very much my own.
Shortly after obtaining my Archshot, my team of journalists and I set forth to take on anything the game could throw at us. It was at this point that I realized the magic of the mechanics built around Fuse, being the team’s sniper I would normally be forced into the background of the environment, but this was far from how things have to be here. Soon, I was running around, jumping over boxes, hopping ledges and flanking enemies, all while still giving support from a distance. Being able to shoot from afar as well as eventually igniting my shots at the flick of a trigger, I was able to set up traps that allowed me to do crowd control almost anywhere on the map. Looking at my teammates, I saw their style was quite different to my own, but still equally as effective.
The rest of my Overstrike 9 team positioned themselves at various ranges, using Dalton as the bullet sponge to push forward or even save me when I was downed. This included the AI controlled teammate who would use cover to try and make their way towards me to pick me up after being down, almost to the point where I wasn’t sure if they were controlled by someone else or not.
After getting through the first 3 levels, the story behind Fuse was difficult to determine as the beginning seemed to be setting up for something much bigger, but that still remains to be seen – although, we were able to finally make it out of the overused military facility to a much more interesting environment.
The game’s Echelon mode is pretty much the well known ‘Horde Mode’ from Gears of War with a few exceptions. Besides controlling completely different, the game sets various points on the map where a random objective will start at each wave. This dynamic forces players to constantly move between areas, as well as fight to regain ground after having had to leave to accomplish something else. Having only lasted the first 11 waves of the mode’s 12, we were able to get to see most of the chaos and just how well the AI handles it on both ends.
While it is still too early to say just how good Fuse really is or isn’t, from what I was able to see from my time with it, it shows that you cannot simply look at a game by its cover.
Stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle for a full Review of Fuse as well as any updates and possible DLC announcements.