Insomniac Shows What It Does Best With Fuse

The co-op shooter formerly known as Overstrike shows Insomniac branching out with its strengths firmly in mind.

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After years of developing exclusives across three generations of PlayStation hardware, Insomniac has ventured into multiplatform territory with Fuse, an upcoming co-op shooter in the vein of Borderlands. It's Insomniac's first attempt at multiplatform development as well as its first new console IP since Resistance. Not easy work, and a task made more challenging by the fact that a small army of fans is upset over the stylistic changes made to the game since it debuted last year under the name Overstrike. It's too bad, really. There are so many people focused on what Fuse isn't, when what it is happens to be pretty damn fun.

Spend a few minutes playing Fuse, and it's clear that Insomniac isn't ready to abandon what it does best. Just like Ratchet and Resistance before it, Fuse features an arsenal of wild and ridiculous weaponry. The story goes that the US government has spent years experimenting in secret with a powerful alien substance called fuse, combining it with earthly materials to create a stockpile of devastating (and slightly absurd) firearms. After a rogue paramilitary organization decides to steal this fuse technology, a task force (hint: that's you) is called in to track it down.

Fortunately, the fight is evened somewhat because these four player characters also have access to fuse weapons. Each player uses a different type of experimental weapon, creating a class system where everyone has unique abilities to help the team out in his or her own special way. You've got Dalton, who can fire massive short-range energy pulses and put up barriers to block enemy fire. Naya can activate a stealth cloak and use her warp rifle to coat enemies in a substance that triggers a lethal singularity (which can bounce from one enemy to another like a freaking pinball). Izzy can use her shattergun to freeze enemies into crystals ripe for shattering as well as fire healing rounds to help her teammates. And finally, Jacob has got a crazy crossbow called the arc shot that can pin enemies to walls and (when properly charged up) melt those enemies into gooey puddles of lava.

These varied weapons lead to an interesting system where players are using their abilities in unison (like Jacob firing face-melting bolts at a turret gunner from behind the protection of Dalton's shield) while still racing each other for the kills necessary to build up their own unique skill trees. The usual co-op mechanics are there, like reviving fallen teammates, but it's that way of toying with enemies as a team that sells the co-op experience. There are a lot of combinations to work with, and figuring them out in the heat of battle is a lot of fun.

Of course, not everyone will play through the campaign with a full roster of four players, and that's where the character-swapping, "leaping" mechanic comes in handy. Rather than choosing your one character at the start of the campaign, you can hit a button at any point during the action to instantly jump into the shoes of another character of your choice. As long as there's one open slot on the team, you can either jump around by yourself or play what Insomniac calls a "musical chairs" game of three human players constantly leaping around to the one open character.

The whole thing represents the sort of natural progression that you'd expect from Insomniac's increasing emphasis on social experiences in its games. What feels like a larger change of pace, though, is the game's sense of humor. Fuse maintains a focus on humor like the Ratchet & Clank series, but it's a more subtle, almost dry sense of humor. Rather than pratfalls and sight gags, it's dark jokes about how the all-business Dalton doesn't care whether a mysterious Raven device contains "the head of Walt Disney," followed by a disconcerting glow and Jacob quipping, "That…doesn't look like Walt Disney's head." It's an M-rated game, and the humor comes from how the characters react to these dangerous situations.

In that way, Fuse is almost a blend of Ratchet's humor and Resistance's seriousness. The things it shares in common with both those games, however, is its sci-fi nature and whirlwind tour through various settings affected by a powerful threat. In your journeys tracking down Raven, you'll venture all over the world, from a palace in India to Raven's intimidating headquarters in the Swiss Alps. It's almost got a Bond film quality to it in that regard--its heroes are constantly on the run after an elusive organization operating in numerous parts of the world.

One caveat is that the cutscenes Insomniac showed were far from complete, so it was tough to get a full picture of what this game's sense of style and personality will be like. But with that said, I went back and rewatched that original Overstrike announcement trailer, and the general look wasn't that different from the version Insomniac presented. The humor was a bit subtler than what the trailer offered, but it honestly wasn't that far off from what I saw from Fuse.

It's a good thing, too, because Fuse looks great with its brand-new engine driving all the action. This is a game that deserves a distinct personality, and it doesn't seem that Insomniac has forgotten that personality is something it does quite well. Fuse is schedule for release sometime in 2013.

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63 comments
TheMich2112
TheMich2112

After reading up on this, it reminds me a lot of the co-op multiplayer of resistance 2, which was fantastic. I'm looking forward to this one, as Ratchet and Resistance are among my favorite games. But I'm still hoping for another full R&C game, not this A4O or FFA nonsense. Crossing my fingers

Hoski0999
Hoski0999

These guys aren't Naughty Dog, they cant go from AAA Uncharted to new AAA IP Last of Us.

 

Lets face it, with how well Resistance 1 was, how disapointing Resistance 2 was, and then they hit a perfect sweet spot with Resistance 3, they should have stuck to making one more at least in the franchise.  Resistance is also a generic shooter with all do respect, but it was so much fun!  Now it looks like they are trying to hard to be original.....

pqwoei
pqwoei

Is this First Person View or Third?

never-named
never-named

I'll be honest, I'm much more enthusiastic towards the upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal over this game...

NuclearFlower
NuclearFlower

The over the top, campy and charming style of the trailer is what had me interested in this game in the first place. Without that, I don't care anymore.

 

Shame, thought we'd finally have something other than a generic shooter. I should know better than to be so trusting of today's shitty gaming industry.

Fembot_Eulogy
Fembot_Eulogy

Ok, we can all agree that no one is a fan of EA. I kind of wish this wasn't published by them, as I'm sure all of you are feeling. But I wonder if Shaun McInnis isn't alluding to the fact that maybe the game won't be that bad. He's not ranting, that much is obvious. I think the concept is cool even if it isn't the change people were hoping for. Remember, there are other games to play if you want your artistic fix.

The__Kraken
The__Kraken

The name is overly generic, not to mention that the visuals have been changed for the worse (and surprise, they look generic, and based on the screens above, ugly). Insomniac should stick to what it is good at (from an artistic perspective).

 

The game may be fun (which is hard to tell, due to lack of any gameplay footage), but frankly, an ugly game being fun does not change the the fact that it has ugly graphics.

PDXmauler97
PDXmauler97

I don't think many people understand how the co-op element works in this. Its not gonna end up to be like COD, don't worry. Its just a 4 player campaign like Borderlands. Not that it should be considered a rip off of Borderlands because it isn't anything like it.

b0sse
b0sse

Deciding to not do single-player only games anymore ,and focus on co-op and online instead has made Insomniac major fail.

 

Why does everyone have to jump on this stupid bandwagon?

Online games are not more fun.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I don't like the name change, but I'm willing to give it a chance since I did enjoy the R&C series so much. Plus, it being a 4-player co-op game doesn't hurt either.

ToTs_00
ToTs_00

Insomniac just fucked up big time.

SolidSnakeFan
SolidSnakeFan

What once was a game called "Overstrike", is now called "Fuse". What once was a cartoony, humorous breath of fresh air, now looks like a generic gray/brown grimdark super srs bore. What once had a great sense of slapstick and humor, now features an "evolved" sense of humor in the form of... "dry wit", as claimed by the dev.

 

Coming out March 2013; good luck with sales. Oh and EA is publishing. Geeee, I wonder how much input they had. Hate to say this, but I hope this fails so we can set an example in this industry. I'm all for extended replay value, but the cop-out that is "technology is evolving, we need multiplayer now, k" just gives them excuse to hop aboard that ol' map pack season pass online pass gravy train everyone seems to be catching up to. Ah, and preorder bonuses. We mustn't forget that icky practice.

NiteX
NiteX

This has EA generic crap oozing all over.  How depressing, that even the great Insomniac, which had more charm and humor than all EA games combined is now nothing more than another EA pawn. 

DarknautXXX
DarknautXXX

Is multiplayer so abundant that one player being able to switch between different characters instantly is innovative?

shinspikes
shinspikes

I like the trailer of overstrike compared to this change.  Not very interested in the game anymore.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Sounds interesting and looks even better. I'll be looking forward to more info on this one.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Oh the madness EA is involved, I feel sick :/

revanknight
revanknight

The good news: Insomniac is developing it.

The bad news: EA is publishing it.

 

I love insomniac, but I find the recent changes they made to the game very suspicious...almost like a reverse Borderlands.

Gblazer01
Gblazer01

Anyone who's played a R&C or Resistance installment should know that Insomniac has more than enough potential to create a very innovative video game experience. It is too soon to draw any reasonable conclusions so all I can do is hope that they keep to their ways with this new IP. 

Vojtass
Vojtass

Why not Overstrike? I'm conFUSEd.

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

meh.  Nothing against Insomniac but the fps genre needs something new.

Kyrylo
Kyrylo

oh, wow , yet another boring shooter. No thank you. They could as well scrap the project

Gue1
Gue1

original trailer of Overstrike looked unique and charming but with these new changes the game now looks just like another Gears of War rip-off. Another  crappy and generic looking military shooter with aliens like if we didn't have enough of those already.   =/

DarthSithari
DarthSithari

I thought this called Overstrike? What is this Fuse?

AhvrenStone
AhvrenStone

What the heck have they done to Overstrike.EA and their homogenization of everything.

lowkey254
lowkey254

This sounds like R2s competitive coop mode. I miss that mode. 

NickyWithATicky
NickyWithATicky

Sounds good so far. I will keep an eye on it, but I hope they will release some footage soon.

_yuriy_
_yuriy_

it's unfortunate that they make the mistake of releasing this in Borderlands' shadow. There is no way I am buying 2 shooters at ones.

dariush_m
dariush_m

 @pqwoeifuse is a first person. i noticed from main characters animations.

jgtogi
jgtogi

@b0sse

It is because EA has specifically said that they will not do any singleplayer only games. Never mind that they bought up companies like Bioware, Insomniac and Maxis who are all known to make great singleplayer games and are now going to be pigeon holed into making sp games with poor mp components. It is a perfect example of publisher/developer meddling and another reason to hate EA.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@Vojtass Fuse is too close to Ruse for my likings. Oh, bad memories.

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

 @_yuriy_ Fuse won't be out until next year. Its not at all in its shadow.

 

gfstool
gfstool

 @jgtogi  @b0sse

Insomniac wasn't bought by EA. They're in a partnership with them for this game though. Insomniac hasn't sold

to anyone. They have their own IP now and can publish games for whatever platform they want for future ORIGINAL games. However, future games for already current franchises like Ratchet & Clank will still only be on Sony Playstation platforms as they own the IP for them.

gfstool
gfstool

 @jgtogi  @b0sse

 @b0sse...Insomniac wasn't bought by EA. They're in a partnership with them for this game though. Insomniac hasn't sold

to anyone.

b0sse
b0sse

 @jgtogi Yeah =/ Screw EA!

 

Co-op games etc are alienating people who just wants to play a good old fashioned single player game.

I mean, what if you dont have any friends and you still wanna play the game cause it looks awesome? Well, then you're screwed =/