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Review

Fuse Review

  • Game release: May 28, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

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.

Jacob stays limber.

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.

Naya warps her enemies into some unknown dimension.

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

33 comments
jubeio
jubeio

Enjoying this game splitscreen with my brother. AI can be a pain but can be quite helpful most of the time. 

themc_7
themc_7

This looks good actually. Maybe after a price drop or two, I'll pick this up

Zekethompson22
Zekethompson22

I forgot all about this game. I thought it looked good but now I dont Know

SolidTy
SolidTy

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

REDDSouljah420
REDDSouljah420

Game is fun with friends (so get some friends) -- it's not serious which is the beauty of it -- don't expect a in-depth deep and meaty story line and get used to working as a team and you will have some fun with this game. It's worth a solid rent that's forsure!~

guildclaws
guildclaws

Don't buy this piece of shit game, i thought this was gonna be a fun shooter game and since there's not much else games releasing i figured why not? but boy i was dead wrong, Stupid AI is stupid (when you go into down state your 3 teammates just stand there getting shot like an idiot for 10 seconds and when they get to you to revive you they also go into down state because of getting shot at too many times resulting in mission failure and this was on Normal) there's only 7 guns including Fuse Weapons and Handguns and you will use those weapons till the end of the game which gets boring pretty quick, money is scarce as hell and the enemies are massive bullet sponge especially the Robots which takes massively long time to kill one of them.

TL:DR Save your money for something else, don't buy this game even if there's a price drop hell don't even look at it, don't waste your time on this POS.

jpm1276
jpm1276

I think I'll pass on this until the price drops.

resident_jisen
resident_jisen

one of the best shooter form this year. Thank god I didn`t get the 9 rated metro light. this is very fun. a 7 maybe an 8 really. otherwise the score is nearly close can`t complain.

Chris Van Zanten
Chris Van Zanten

i played the demo, not bad gameplay, not sure its something that I would play consistently though, I just recently got resident evil revelations, and racoon city, plus defiance with the walking dead survival insticts

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

Whenever I hear a game has to be played in coop to be enjoyable means it has a pretty poor solo experience.

jonnyjones72
jonnyjones72

Did somebody just turn the multiplayer from ME3 into a full game?

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Sorry Fuse I'm currently in a restructuring program at the moment so I gotta turn down your invitation to enter my home.  Nothing personal but third person shooters are a dime a dozen nowadays and yeah you just don't make the cut...

Wensea10
Wensea10

This looks like an amazing game but it is pretty much a third person shooter with stronger multiplayer elements.

Plava12
Plava12

The big positive comment was the well tuned controls. Sad Echelon is nearly impossible alone. They should fix it.


Max Smith
Max Smith

It's a filler for the dry season. Looks ok but I'm gonna just gonna wait for GTA5 and bf4. Can't afford to buy every game

X-Robert
X-Robert

The opening of this review sounds almost like an Gun Show statement, is the next Gun Show in bound on Fuse, Mr Watters?

Brad Hilton
Brad Hilton

The gameplay was boring. The fighting was dull. ALL of the ideas they had sounded like they could have made this game have a lot of potential, unfortunately... it doesn't. IN MY OPINION.

Emerald_Scott
Emerald_Scott

Dammit, what's the name of the track playing during this review from 1:54? I also heard it in EFMS's episode on StarCraft.

Dwayne Stanton
Dwayne Stanton

I haven't read one bad review, just reviews that aren't floored by the game.

TheRockSez611
TheRockSez611

So is this game getting a 7 due to being bland? Because glancing at the score, I would've thought it was gonna get reamed in the review... yet, reading the review shows it not to be that bad at all. Meh, I'll try it, I've got friends.


Chui_GamingX
Chui_GamingX

Ha ha HAAA !!! Another PROOF , that INSOMNIAC studios SUCKS Monkey Balls in making of Modern Games =))) Ted Price u Sir a FiRED !!! Do not port this GARBAGE on PC! We dont need it? MORTAL KOMBAT 9 come on PC soon :D

Andrew Galinsky
Andrew Galinsky

I really enjoyed the demo..but reviews have me waiting till price drop.

TookieMix
TookieMix

I like that it has split screen co-op

themc_7
themc_7

@resident_jisen Thank god you didn't get Metro? Metro is a great game, which actually scored much better than this game. I'd get both

Emerald_Scott
Emerald_Scott

@Chui_GamingX You are what is wrong with our current generation. Even if you don't like or support a particular studio, at least formulate a sensible argument instead of "SUCKS Monkey Balls." 

And have some respect for development studios putting in hard work and precious time to deliver games that someone out there will love even if it won't be you. It takes a lot of courage and risk to create and establish a new IP in the gaming industry. 

In short, have some respect!

KBABZ
KBABZ

@Chui_GamingX 7 is a respectable score. If it were given a 3 I might take you seriously... if you didn't type like a complete ape.

resident_jisen
resident_jisen

@themc_7 @resident_jisen thank god I don`t judge game by there scores or I would have the played or even own the worest game out there.i have no in interest in playing metro last light.the game just doesn`t interest me at all.as for fuse I got the game for the interesting story and fun game play.i would`ve got fuse no matter what score it got.

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