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Review

Fuse Review

  • Game release: May 28, 2013
  • Reviewed: May 28, 2013
  • X360

Fuse is a slick third-person shooter that is just fine to play solo, but a lot of fun with friends.

by

Video games are packed with mercenaries. The term encompasses heroes and villains, fortune-seekers and power-mongers, faceless grunts and stars of the show. It can be hard to stand out among the crowd, but fortunately for the protagonists of Fuse, they found some very cool weapons to steal. Whether you're encasing enemies in black crystalline deathtraps or vaporizing them with a pulse from your protective shield, it's a lot of fun to team up with friends and take on the challenges of Fuse. Alone, the tepid campaign neither excites nor bores, while the horde-like Echelon mode is all but impossible without at least a few leveled-up friends. Regardless of what mode you play, "with friends" is definitely how this slick near-future shooter thrives, delivering a solid team-based experience with just enough style and substance to keep you entertained.

The campaign follows a team of four mercenaries who take a job to infiltrate a high-security research facility. When things go sour and a nasty alien element called fuse ends up in the hands of some very bad people, the team members do what they must to remain the heroes of this boilerplate action-movie plot. The narrative treads predictably down well-worn paths, showing occasional glimpses of character that make you wish for more. Though the main characters and a few villains are expressive and visually appealing, their personalities are disappointingly limited. At best, they make you smirk with amusement from time to time.

The environments are similarly serviceable, spanning industrial installations and military outposts that offer decent variety but few moments of beauty or intrigue. A well-appointed jungle compound and a mountainous gondola ride are visual highlights in a campaign largely spent in places that value function over form. Most areas are a bit bland to look at but are well designed as combat arenas. Plentiful cover positions and regular flanking opportunities encourage you to move around in combat, exploiting angles and using team tactics to take apart your foes.

Fuse is a third-person, cover-based shooter, and you do spend a fair amount of time moving in and around cover. Fortunately, the controls respond adroitly and make you feel nimble when maneuvering around barriers, allowing you to remain shielded from enemy fire. Movement out in the open can be a bit sluggish, but on the whole, the core action feels crisp, if very conventional.

That is, until you start flexing your character-specific skills. Jacob's crossbow is the most straightforward of the bunch; it focuses on dealing massive damage to single targets, though he can eventually detonate his shots to set nearby enemies on fire. Izzy's assault rifle fires black pellets that, with enough hits, trigger the instant growth of jagged crystal prisons. Enemies trapped within these structures can be easily shattered, though they escape and come for you if you leave them unbroken.

Dalton's no chiropractor.

Like Izzy, Naya must also reach a critical mass of hits before her weapon's effect is triggered. Once she does, the target vanishes in a resounding implosion that leaps to any other enemy tagged by Naya's fire, creating an impressive chain of singularities. The final character, Dalton, has the strangest weapon of all. His device generates a large rectangular shield that can catch bullets and grenades, then throw that potential damage back in his enemies' faces. He eventually gains the ability to deploy shields as well, making him a powerful asset in tough fights.

A few other abilities round out the battlefield tactics that you can employ. Izzy can throw a med beacon that heals or revives allies, while Naya can turn invisible for stealthy incursions. Friendly shots fired through Dalton's shield receive a damage boost, given the right skill upgrade, and this boost can make an important difference when you are beset by enemies. When you kill an enemy, the experience points you've earned flash onscreen along with specific monikers like "warpflash" and "shatterburst" that describe different combo kills. These arcade-y touches add some nice flair to the sharp visual effects and combine with some good sound effects to imbue combat with a little extra impact.

In addition to your special weapon, you get a primary weapon, a sidearm, and grenades. This all adds up to a formidable arsenal, but using each character's unique skills in complementary ways is the most enjoyable aspect of playing Fuse with friends. The campaign is smooth sailing when you have a human teammate or two, and the AI is quick to revive you when you get overwhelmed. Rely on the AI for more than that, though, and you're in trouble. They don't reliably bring effective fire to bear on enemies, and they infrequently make use of combo attacks. You can make fine progress in the campaign alone, but Echelon mode is a whole different story.

In Echelon, you take on waves of enemies, sometimes defending an objective or taking out a tough mech target. Clearly calibrated for teams of leveled-up characters, Echelon mode is a death sentence for the solo player, even a maxed-out one. As you use each character in your roster, they get stronger and unlock new skills and attribute bonuses (AI companions level up as well, albeit more slowly). Along with the purchasable team boosts, these improvements can make a big difference in Echelon attempts. It's a mode targeted at players who have played a significant amount of the campaign, and who can use team tactics to survive against tough odds.

Set on fire and sent to another dimension. Rough.

But luck factors in as well. Sometimes you have two mechs spawn on a defend-the-objective map, and if one or two players go down in the chaotic cluster of combat, the swarm of foes keeps you down for good. Other times you might have leftover power weapons liberated from crates or previously defeated foes, and beating down the big bad guys becomes a breezy affair. Your Echelon experience can vary widely from match to match, and this haphazardness can be unpleasant. It's no fun to feel like you have no chance.

Still, the challenge of Echelon is a welcome one for folks looking to flex their skills beyond the bounds of the campaign, and if you've got some willing allies, you can definitely have a good time. And that's pretty much true for the whole game. Fuse is calibrated for people to play together, designed in such a way as to be merely serviceable for solo players, but solid fun for groups of gung-ho mercs.

The Good
Neat array of unique weapons
Combining skills with friends is gratifying
Some nice visual flair and punchy sound effects
The Bad
Friendly AI is barely helpful
Solo play is fairly dull
Echelon mode is impossible to enjoy alone
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Fuse

About the Author

/ Staff

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Years later, you can find him aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent while desperately avoiding sunburns.

Discussion

274 comments
gamekingpin
gamekingpin

This game is fun, I can see how some people would automatically compare it to gears but trust me,I am a Gears fan and this game has some RPG elements that set itself apart. The major thing being the fact that each character has their own unique special weapon (aside from the other traditional weapons used throughout the game). The unique weapons create a variety of ways to combine abilities with other characters or take out a chain of enemies on your own.  One character can deploy a sheild big enough for the entire squad to get behind that allows your weapons to fire through while protecting you from almost all eney projectiles.  As you level up more abilities become unlocked or unlocked abilities can be made more powereful.  The targeting system and movement in combat are awesome you can climb slide vault and move in and out of cover with ease and perform stealth takedowns all the while.  This is a fun game... I found it used and if you can find it used or rent it I would def check it out. 

Dont sleep on this game just because you want to compare it to a popular and well established Title. 

Bahamutx21
Bahamutx21

you guy's are compairing this to something like Halo,well it's NOT Halo,SO  STOP COMPLAINING AND GO MAKE YOUR OWN GAMES LOL'S...

SolidTy
SolidTy

 I'm sad for Insomniac. Maybe next time fellas.

Stardust7
Stardust7

Another brainless action gears of war clone...please stop..

franfran123
franfran123

I've seen the gamplay through youtube and noticed something that I hate about lots of games released nowadays. It's the implementation of some aspects of Gears of War game like covering system, some movements and what i mostly don't like the fact that you can regenerate life like if you were some kind of alien (you can tolerate certain amount of damage,if you are not killed then you wait some seconds and you regenerate all your life) TIRED OF THIS.

Really, there is no creativity from game developers? or maybe gamers like this kind of style because it makes it easier to play?
I want just normal games were you have a health bar, and so you have to take care yourself and manage your health during the level.
What do you guys think?.

SillySkeleton
SillySkeleton

Seems like they had a bunch of interesting ideas but just didn't quite manage to pull it off. Kinda like Lost Planet.

therealneoturk
therealneoturk

when i started the demo i was enjoying it. the first fire fight dragged on a little too long for my taste but whatever i didnt hate the game until the boss fight...most annoying thing ive played in a very long time. hated the skill tree too

DarthLod
DarthLod

It looks FUN, and that's what games are supposed to be no? I'll pick it up someday and play with my brother.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

I played the demo, the game was definitely off for me. Didn't have the high quality you would expect from Insomniac. Not sure what exactly happened after splitting from Sony.

Fastphase1
Fastphase1

Better luck next time Insomniac. One good advice from a fan if you decide to continue Fuse: change the publisher. The fact you did such a radical change from what you orginally showed was a dealbreaker because of your publisher choice. WB Games or Namco Bandai Games could have been a better publisher choice.


Insomniac owns the "Fuse" IP so what happens next is their choice.

Salta06
Salta06

Insomniac know how to make better games than this. That's not to say Fuse is a bad game, but just can't see the return for effort amounting to much with this franchise.

Ronin893
Ronin893

Something to keep an eye on for maybe a good sale purchase.

daviz88
daviz88

i really had high hopes for this game apart from the cool weapons it was a 3rd person shooter which was going to be a good change of pace from the FPS this generation. oh well at least there still LAST OF US & BEYOND 2 SOUL.

juiceair
juiceair

"Solo play is fairly dull.  Echelon mode is impossible to enjoy alone."


I think I'll wait for The Last of Us for my PS3.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Hope it has splitscreen if it never comes to PC.

Robertle419
Robertle419

I think the game is great because you don't normally played third person shooter where you can really interact with your peers see I will said that play this on solo might be boring but you play this with friends it is a lot better because that is what in my opinion is meant for and you can literately play this with a friend next to and for those like to know if their is an online pass the answer is no 

grasu
grasu

What the fuck is the purpose of this game's existence? Do we really need another generic as hell 3rd person coverbased coop shooter with horde mode?

branthecan
branthecan

Couldn't get into the demo myself. Felt like EA garbage to me.

Ghost_Thumbs
Ghost_Thumbs

I love his reviews, it always sounds as if a good friend is casually yet intricately explaining a game to you.


XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

I'll buy this when it is $5 in the bargin bin. 

godofwarbfcodfa
godofwarbfcodfa

what a dissapointment from this game or mostly what a mistake by isomaniac  to change this game and join EA take all the funny stuff away and the fun graphics. making the graphics dull boring and same old gray. disspoiting i laughed my asss off the overstrike trailer it was so great

CaptainSofa
CaptainSofa

Anybody know if  Echelon Mode has online matchmaking?

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Dear GameSpot, I am not a fanboy of any particular platform. However, I don't play many games on Xbox. The majority of the time the review is the same between PC, PS3 and Xbox, but in the off chance that the review is different I want to see the review on my platform of choice for the game.

For a very long time now, all reviews linked to from the main page of Gamespot lead to the Xbox version of the review. This is frustrating for someone who doesn't play on Xbox. Sure; we get the review and an idea of the game, but it's tailored for Xbox gamers.

In all fairness and to avoid bias, it would be favorable for Gamespot to either show a page that is not platform specific or give us the option to jump to the review on the platform of our choice instead of always forcing users to the Xbox section.

Thanks for your time

toyo75
toyo75

Some of the stage designs are reminiscent of the ones in Mass Effect. Looks like a Mass Effect shoot-em-up minus the interesting characters.

pcty
pcty

For me the best word to describe the game is unispired...

lowkey254
lowkey254

The question is whether or not EA had a hand in the game or not. I've always liked Insomniac's older games, R2 the most.

EL_Bomberdor
EL_Bomberdor

Couldn't get into the demo myself. Felt like EA garbage to me.

badiie05
badiie05

ughh really insomniac...

el_mariarchi_01
el_mariarchi_01

Garbage. More last ditch attempts to grab your cash before the new console arrives. This game looks shit.

antiheroeco
antiheroeco

This is what happens when EA makes a deal to distribute your game and then force you to changed it because they made a focus group with 14 year old kids.

Virdentaucent4
Virdentaucent4

@Stardust7 Seems a little reckless to say if you haven't tried out the game to experience how the different characters and weapon/item sets work together isn't it? Brainless indicates there's no strategy, but it seems they've at least put work into having players use their unique weapons smartly to fight foes.

Virdentaucent4
Virdentaucent4

@franfran123 I don't mind the copy of movements too much, as long as it's not spot on, but Gears of War did get the general walking and running down very finely to balance out between the character's level of mobility without making them so floaty and fast they can dodge weapon fire without a problem. It's hard to stray away from a design aspect of a game series when they hit a good sweet spot, especially if you're designing a game in the same genre.

As for the cover system though, generally I liked it in GoW but I wouldn't mind something more unique, still it's more or less another case of a sweet spot being hit. I've compared it to the old school style in old fps, and that can work well enough to use in new games, so I am a little ambivalent. If they want old-school, they won't get a argument for me, they can even still implement their unique cover maneuvers without too much trouble I imagine, but if they want GoW style, as long s they make it work tightly then I won't complain.


Lastly, for regenerating health, it does bother me to a certain degree. Partly I am okay with it if it at least has good context behind it, but I also want it's mechanics to function so it maintains a good challenge. With it being used to make healing between fights smooth and quick that's fine, as long as it doesn't make things too easy in fights. That said, I do enjoy the old school style, and I'd like to see it used more often, certainly in more "realistic" war shooters.
Though I'm far from naive to consider the old style "Realistic" , it was only so more metaphorically in most games, but that's a small thing.

Now Halo, whether you hate the game in general or not, did have a good hybrid system I feel, you had regenerating "health" in the form of shields, a good sci-fi context for that mechanic, but you also had normal health with health packs to fix it up, and you had to be very very careful since it did not take much to put you down once your shields were gone. It was a nice balance I feel.

There's my... fifty cents on the matter. ^^

roman4545
roman4545

@youngzen69 

what do you mean ?

the 4 ? want someone to play with you ? same studio for FUSE ?

JTKenyon654
JTKenyon654

@grasu The same thing can be said about FPS's, the exact same generic games with slightly tweaked features for the different titles, just enjoy the game or don't

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

@Hvac0120 The reviews rarely vary in the text and it takes all of two seconds to click on the format you want in the top left.

gamekingpin
gamekingpin

IMO this game took the combat movement of gears and added a little more flair to it as you can slipe into cover and move around corners without making yourself vulnerable.  you can also climb up certain objects to allow yourself to flank enemies it also allows you to move in quietly and quickly for a stealth kill while still remaining in cover... it works quite well.  this game is not as well polished as gears in other aspects but again if you can find it used and play with friends using the character different abilites to gun down large groups of enemies will just make you smile for sure..... the more I got into the game the more I liked it.

franfran123
franfran123

@Virdentaucent4 @franfran123 Thanks for your comments.

I agree ...that kind of regenerating system is ok if there is a good context behind it... just like u said in Halo (a great game) it makes sense because the character is a futuristic soldier with a shelter that tolerates certain damage. And it is well implemented too.

But when you are just a human i don't like it anymore because it doesn't make any sense (ex: Army of Two)... it's not possible.

Another thing i think is ithat with this system the player can handle much more action and kill a huge amount of enemies in one single level. If it's not properly managed it can turn into a brainless game like Stardus7 said :P

In my opinion lots of games in this generation of consoles are taking this way... no personality.. nothing different with the rest.

There are exceptions like Left 4 Dead (a classic for me), Halo, Portal 2, etc.


And with Gow mechanics i have to say there are some movements i consider ugly...but it's an opinion. 

I would like to see developing new movements, like some kind of injured walking varieties.. depending on where the enemy hit you.

Also you can see shooter games where crouch and crawl movements are not present now ...wtf?!?


youngzen69
youngzen69

@roman4545 @youngzen69 Fuse appears to be a decent shooter but Resistance 3 or the whole Resistance series still remains the best FPS Insomniac has ever made. My point is I would rather play Resistance 3 over Fuse.

Fuse More Info

  • Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Fuse is a 4-person co-op story-driven action game that invites players to experience what happens when humans access alien technology they were never meant to have.
    6.8
    Average User RatingOut of 164 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Fuse
    Developed by:
    Insomniac Games
    Published by:
    Electronic Arts
    Genres:
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms