A third person team based co-op preferred shooter, does the world need another?
Take four special ops specialists with particular skill trees, spoon on some irreverent humour and throw them in a twisty plot of subterfuge. Add to that the mysterious alien substance known as Fuse and suddenly life is like a box of combos. The game is an interesting bag of tricks, there are things about it that are pretty exciting, well, at least lots of fun and there are things about it that just feel perhaps a little insulting considering it is 2013 and we’ve been playing games like this for a while now.
Fuse is shiny, the graphics are bold, colourful and remind me very much of the style of Timesplitters, the writing does its job and the voice acting is suitable. Initial stages take you deep into an underground base on a rescue, where you come across the Fuse weapons, all four of them that are tailor designed for each of your team. Handy coincidence? Check.
By this time you will have discovered that the environment is somewhat funnelled to be kind, batch upon batch of bad guys are presented and despatched, and there is one of three possible collectibles available every 2.37 minutes. The controls do feel like a poor man’s answer to the other mammoth third person shooter franchises, and being downed into a crawling heap just seems like a momentary rest rather than a dangerous, vulnerable state.
The game breaks up the action by throwing in a secondary action, plugging a MacGuffin into a Thermo Generator Coupler thingy while surviving a selection of enemy waves and the ticking clock of the Fuse MacGuffin you are carrying possibly self destructing. This is okay, but does not add to the experience particularly, the are also Boss and Mini-Boss fights which are beyond telegraphed. The AI can often be appalling, stealth killing an enemy while his partner stands two feet away, or even the whole team standing in full view of a blind guard just makes the action comical. Overall the game feels like a shooting gallery of goons who are purely there for you to score experience from and level up in the process, levelling will add some interesting skill additions. Although the skill tree if anything, has been thoughtfully put together.
Let’s talk about the team, given that the focus of the game is teamwork and the best use of the Fuse weapons is by combining skills between your crew an interesting Rock, Paper, Scissors dynamic starts to take shape. Team leader Dalton has a weapon that projects a protective shield, not only deflecting incoming fire, but also firing it back at the goons. Things get interesting when working together to back him up and shoot through the shield, gaining bonus damage and effects. Of course when playing solo or with limited co-op you get the chance to LEAPTM or in layman terms switch between them on the fly. This is encouraged as you will rack up points on all characters used, while it is possible to stick with a favourite character and concentrate on levelling them, you might find it pays better to spread the love and rack up score on some combos.
Taking the campaign online or playing some Echelon (Horde-ish) modes will add to the characters persistent experience and skill count, it also changes the dynamic of AI actions when your actual person buddies start playing around.
There is something about Fuse that hits the spot, for its weak level design and sideshow combat I struggle to commend it, but there is some mindless fun in the Fuse effects at least. It does also have a fair share of glitches, my first couple of hours had a couple of camera lock-ups post cutscene, where the view was fixed up and away from my character. Then after attempting to use a doorway for cover I was sent juddering all over the current area, before been knocked off the map and outside the complex. Both issues were fixed with a quick Leap to another team member, but surely it wasn’t just me experiencing these things.
Overall it’s a decent distraction at best, but I really don’t see it having legs.