(PlayStation 3)

Fuse (PlayStation 3)

Game Review

Fuse Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Greg Giddens

Blown it

For a game named Fuse, the latest title from Insomniac Games does fittingly merge a plethora of ideas to create a satisfactory experience – but we're not sure that such meek praise was on the developer's agenda when it embarked on its first multiplatform project. This is a competent third-person shooter that ticks every box in the cover-based action checklist, but it doesn't leave any memorable impressions at all. Given that this is the latest release from the studio behind the Ratchet & Clank series, that's a massive disappointment.

As with most entries from the Burbank-based studio, the weapons are at least a blast to use. Each of the four playable characters – this is a predominantly co-op focused affair – has access to a unique firearm, infused with an ill-defined and unexplained alien substance named, er, Fuse. This grants the gaggle of otherwise ordinary human agents with some unique abilities. For example, team leader Dalton can wield a devastating shotgun in conjunction with a shield, providing mobile cover for the entire squad. Meanwhile, Jacob, the team's marksman, is equipped with a crossbow and bolts capable of melting enemies. Naya, the unit's covert specialist, has a cloaking device and a warp rifle that opens miniature black holes in the world. Finally, Izzy's weapons crystallise enemies, freezing them in place.

The characters are deadly alone, but working together makes the team practically unstoppable – at least they would be if the artificial intelligence that governs them understood the concept of teamwork. If you're playing solo, the game offers a desperately isolated experience. Wave after wave of enemies flood each environment, and it becomes a repetitive slog killing them off. Your team is often nowhere to be seen, hanging out from the side of the battlefield while you do all of the work.

You can switch between protagonists at any time, so you at least have access to the entire roster of weapons. Should you die, though, you'll be at the mercy of your computer-controlled teammates, who'll rush to your aid about as fast as a tortoise with a walking aid. It's frustrating, and it slows the already sluggish pace of the action even further.

Fortunately, the experience fares better in co-op. Bring another player (or three) along for the ride, and the tactical options of your team adopt a much more meaningful guise. Ordering covert agent Naya to sneak up and slit the throats of a bunch of enemies while you save ammo is a fun option – even if you are free to pick up and use any weapons that you find. Meanwhile, gathering behind Dalton's shield as you merrily snipe your enemies with flesh melting bolts is sinisterly satisfying. Playing with others definitely elevates the experience, and it's the only way to really derive any fun from the game.

Outside of the main campaign, there's a secondary option named Echelon, which allows you to take on waves of enemies in addition to various themed objectives. All of the aforementioned issues exist if you're not playing with friends, though, and above all else the action just gets tiresome after a while. It's nice that the experience points that you gather in this additional mode carry across to the campaign, but powering up your weapons doesn't feel like a particularly compelling incentive when the gameplay is so bland.

It doesn't help that the presentation is as dull as dishwater, either. Despite being pitched as a humorous spy adventure with a vibrant aesthetic, Insomniac Games bafflingly opted to change direction mid-development, culminating in yet another gritty shooter awash with grey textures and featureless corridors. It's completely devoid of charm, and while there are a few amusing lines of dialogue tossed in to hold your attention, these cheeky quips don't really gel with the game's otherwise serious tone. Unsurprisingly, the narrative is about as exciting as a cucumber sandwich, too.

Conclusion

Fuse is a boring game that just so happens to be tolerable with friends. Aside from some idiotic AI, there's nothing necessarily wrong with the shooter – but it fails to ever do anything to justify its existence. If you have a group of buddies willing to commit to the experience, then you may find a glimmer of fun here. Otherwise, expect one long, dreary slog.

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User Comments (9)

Epic

#1

Epic said:

Was expecting a score like this after playing the demo, is just bad but gotta admit they have few funny lines around.

rjejr

#2

rjejr said:

That pretty much summed up my feelings from the demo. I don't ever play FPS or team based games so I can't comment on any of that, but the graphics were meh, and even more meh when compared to what I thought this game was supposed to look like.

I also felt like I just played this game when I played Binary Domain, which despite being gray all over still had some memorable moments. Some games seem better if their new rather than seen as retreads. 5 years ago this might have been a really good game.

Paranoimia

#3

Paranoimia said:

I don't think I even lasted 10 minutes on the demo. Looked a mess and seemed pretty generic.

Last game of theirs I actually enjoyed was Tools of Destruction. I wasn't mad on Resistance 2 despite loving the first game, and A Crack In Time bored me. I didn't bother with Resistance 3 or R&C All 4 One, and I didn't like the look of Sunset Overdrive either.

Cirno

#5

Cirno said:

I think Overstrike was a better idea.

But then again, I thought the Resistance games were meh as well. Maybe Insomniac's style of shooters (I like Ratchet and Clank but that plays more like a platformer than a TPS) just are not for my taste.

Gamer83

#6

Gamer83 said:

It's a shame. Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, A Crack in Time, Resistance 1 and Resistance 3 are all very well made games and four of the best PS3 exclusives. Unfortunately, Insomniac has become very uncreative with recent Ratchet & Clanks and now that it's sold its soul to EA and MS I expect bad things to continue. Same thing happened with Bioware when that studio sold out to EA.

BlueProxy

#7

BlueProxy said:

5/10 makes sense after playing the demo. Was not interested after playing. They should have stuck with the original direction and look of Overstrike.

MorriganIsHot

#8

MorriganIsHot said:

Too bad they didn't want sony to buy them. Not only insomniac games no longer own spyro anymore, they are now partner with ea and making an exclusive on xbox one.

BossKiller

#9

BossKiller said:

I don't think it's boring it's just that it's focused on multiplayer gameplay. Playing it solo is fun as you have the ability to switch characters and use their abilities to crush waves of mech enemies. There are less than 6 missions (you can check this guide: http://www.cheatmasters.com/blog/2013/06/20/fuse-walkthrough-guide/ ) and it's actually a short game being focused on multiplayers.

However, Fuse is far from games by Insomniac and since they are planning for a sequel, I hope they'll do better.

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