The agents of Overstrike 9 first came into the world with a colorful and cartoonish presentation, until Insomniac Games rebranded them with a more serious demeanor in August 2012. Overstrike became Fuse, and the result is a fun, action packed co-op adventure Ted Price and crew can be proud of as they enter the world of multiplatform development for the first time.
Fuse follows a group of misfit operatives from an independent team called Overstrike 9 as they are tasked by the CIA to recover a volatile alien substance called Fuse from Raven, a rogue paramilitary organization who stole it from a classified government facility. Raven has developed Xenotech weapons from Fuse and now Overstrike must stop them from unleashing it on the world. Here is where you and three of your friends come in.
There are four operatives at your disposal – Dalton Brooks, Izzy Sinclair, Jacob Kimble, and Naya Deveraux. Each character is equipped with a different Fuse-powered weapon that compliments their weapons load-out quite nicely. There are a limited number of weapons to choose from so don’t expect to find a variety of assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, etc. The good news is that weapons and abilities can combine for even more hurt. Shooting through Dalton’s Mag Shield scores you more points or shattering an enemy Izzy crystallized with her Shattergun are just some examples of how varied the gameplay can be during combat.
If you decide to play it solo, Fuse has a “Leap” feature that allows players to switch between characters. You might start to prefer certain agents over another (Jacob and Naya for the win!), but certain areas are best handled by switching members in your team so you can plan an ambush or coordinate stealth attacks more efficiently. The AI of your squad can sometimes be a mixed bag. They certainly hold their own and I never felt like I was a one-man army while they sat back and watched. However, you might have a “Why did you do that?” moment here and there through a playthrough.
The agents of Overstrike are class-based and improve by spending skill points to upgrade their abilities. The progression system in Fuse is unified, so points earned in single player carry over to multiplayer and vice versa. Unfortunately there isn’t a auto-level feature so remember to spend those points when you have them.
Fuse is six massive levels filled with puzzles to solve, objects to take cover behind, and opportunities for platforming. The levels are designed well for the onslaught of different enemy types you will fight to reach your goals. There is a problem with enemies invading your team’s personal space, and the result is a chaotic dance of guns and bodies. It gets hard to tell what is going on as you are forced to break away to get distance from the action.
The visuals are clean, colorful and crisp. The minute you start playing you can tell the Fuse is developed by Insomniac Games. I was a fan of the Overstrike presentation, and during my time with Fuse I couldn’t help but wonder how the game would have looked if Insomniac would have stayed with a cartoony art style. Nevertheless, Fuse is a great looking game.
Echelon is a wave-based multiplayer mode where 1-4 players face off against 12 waves of enemies with randomly selected objectives between each wave. It is the best way to gain Fuse Credits to buy Team Perks, weapon and outfit skins, or to level up your characters outside of the campaign. I’m sure you have played “Horde” mode in other co-op games, and Echelon is no different. It is a great way to pass the time but you will find yourself overrun quite easily due to smaller and compact level designs.
Should you give Fuse a try?
There is more to Fuse than what you might see on the surface. I was very impressed with the solid gameplay and how it successfully sets itself apart from other co-op shooters. Don’t judge this game by its cover because it will surprise you with its fun gameplay mechanics, an entertaining story, and a likeable cast of characters. Fuse offers a lot to any gamer looking for a solid cooperative experience, and even more fun played with friends. Insomniac Games definitely has something here and I hope the agents of Overstrike 9 are around for more world-saving missions in the future.
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Insomniac Games
Released: May 28, 2013