This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Fuse is a third-person, four-player co-op action-shooter, released by EA and Insomniac Games. In the game, you’ll play as one of four characters: Dalton Brooks, Isabelle “Izzy” Sinclair, Jacob Kimble, or Naya Deveraux, all of whom are part of an elite team called Overstrike 9. These characters are hired by the “client” and will travel to a top-secret facility to retrieve alien technology called Fuse. The Fuse is corrupt and must be destroyed before it can be used to extinguish life on Earth. Unfortunately, a group called Raven Corporation wants to do just that, and it’s up to you and your team to fight your way through the facility, across the world, and then into space to stop Raven Corporation in their tracks and destroy the Fuse.
The story-line is engaging, with a lot of action and laughter to be had along the way. In spite of this, the game can still get a little repetitive, as you do seem to find yourself hiding and shooting in a tedious loop against the same types of baddies over and over again. However, a way to break up the monotony is the Leap feature, which allows you to jump from one character to the next as required. This feature is only available if you are playing with less than four people in co-op mode, but it’s worth using if you run out of ammo, or get stuck on a particularly challenging part. It’s also a fairly simple mechanic that requires the use of the back button and A, B, X or Y (depending on which character you wish to switch to).
If there is one thing to be said about Fuse, it’s that the narrative sucks you in. Once you get started, you’ll want to see where it goes – compelling you to push forward to see how the story ends. While playing through your levels, be sure to look around for XP canisters and Fuse piles. The extra XP will help you level up faster, and the Fuse piles can be spent to purchase team skills, which help the party advance. Each member of the team can equip a different skill to make the party more powerful. That being said, it can take quite a while to build up enough Fuse to buy something worthwhile, so keep your eyes peeled for caches as you progress through the game.
The AI of the game is programmed beautifully, as your adversaries will run around and duck for cover frequently, making it more difficult to hit them. During battles against a group of snipers, for example, you’ll find that if you get a body shot instead of a head shot they will duck or use jet packs to get to another vantage point, making it easier for them to hit you. I have found that using Dalton’s Mag Shield, along with a sniper rifle helps you make quick work of these particular enemies.
Throughout my playthrough of the campaign, I did run into a particularly debilitating glitch: during a battle, my character wouldn’t fire or duck into cover, effectively turning him into the epitome of a sitting duck. Thankfully, this was overcome by Leaping to a different character. Another small issue in Fuse is the lack of notification, or ability to level up each character without leaving the in-game leveling menu. You have to choose the skills for your character, then back out and leap to another character just to level them up. This is mildly annoying as the game doesn’t make you aware that the other characters don’t level up until they are at level 16. I personally ended up having to go through each of the menus separately to level up these characters, so they would be ready to use on the fly.
Visually, the game is quite spectacular. Everything from characters to backgrounds and vehicles have been crafted with exquisite detail, bringing the game to life. Although you can’t interact with everything in the room, you can knock things over (like computer screens), which can add to the enjoyment. Your path is pretty much laid out for you, but there are a lot of detailed objects and backdrops to look at in each area. The cutscenes are great and packed with enough action and explosions to keep all die-hard action fans riveted.
Sound is great in this game – from the voice acting to the background music (which although low, is still engaging, and sets the tone of what’s happening to the dialogue between the characters). There are some funny quips in the game which you won’t find here lest we spoil the surprise, but let’s just say you will be up for at least one good belly laugh when you hear it.
Players will find themselves having to be okay with the limited choice of guns the game offers. Each character has his/her own experimental weapon that is not tradeable, and then their choice of one out of two hand gun types, two machine gun types, one shotgun, and one sniper rifle. This may deter some gamers in the end, but those who enjoy just a few good weapons will really thrive on the selection. For the most part you are fighting against either giant robots, or people (and occasionally someone in a hover-type plane). Even with the Leap feature, fighting the same types of foes does get a little repetitive. Aside from the mentioned let-downs, Fuse is a very enjoyable game, that’s good for at least a couple of playthroughs by yourself or with friends.
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