Insomniac Games has been busy at work with Fuse – its latest shooter, which was previously known as Overstrike. Last week, we had the chance to meet with the developer and go hands-on with the game, which to our pleasant surprise, turned out quite entertaining.
A little background on what Fuse is all about. For starters, Fuse is an alien energy source that when in the hands of the wrong people, can be used to create some powerful technology and weaponry and of course, this is exactly what has happened. When a rogue group known as Raven has gotten its hands on Fuse, the CIA has called in an elite team, dubbed Overstrike 9 (you), to retrieve the energy source. The game feature 4-player co-op for the campaign and at all times, there will be 4 players. Now whether or not you’re playing with friends or by yourself, there will be 4 players on-screen, which also calls in the game’s cool LEAP functionality. If you’re not playing with 4 people at the same time, you, or any other human player can literally leap into another character’s body and take control of them. This opens up the capability to learn each character’s strengths and use them to your advantage.
The four characters in the game are Dalton Brooks, a former Raven himself, Isabelle “Izzy” Sinclair, Jacob Kimble and Naya Deveraux. Yes, there are both men and women characters, which strikes a nice balance in my opinion. Dalton is the group’s de facto leader but each character brings in their own capabilities, such as Dalton’s Magshield, which creates a cover force field/shield that protects his teammates from oncoming fire when shooting from behind it, while also causing damage when shooting with it. Then there’s Izzy’s Shattergun, which encases enemies in a black crystal. When enemies are trapped, they can be shot at and destroyed, which works as a great offensive and defensive maneuver. My favorite weapon so far belongs to Jacob who uses the Arcshot. The Arcshot is a crossbow that fires high-velocity bolts that carry mercury with them. The bolts can essentially liquefy enemies with its fiery chemicals and simply looks badass when used. Finally there’s Naya’s crazy Warp Rifle, which uses anti-matter to create some unreal singularities. When used properly, you can create a chain effect that hurts multiple enemies.
Each character can carry four weapons at a time while also utilizing grenades and melee attacks. The attacks are actually pretty fun to use as I first thought they’d be relegated to punches and kicks. Not so! In fact, you can do some athletic moves on your enemies as well as some brutal ones, such as slitting throats and stabbing them repeatedly while blood gushes everywhere. It’s sadistically enjoyable and gamers will have to try them out.
In the hands-on demo, I had the freedom to play through the game’s first three chapters. As it kicks off, we obviously learn about what’s going on and why we’re being called into action. We first hit up an U.S. government installation called the Hyperion Base, where we have to try and secure the technology. Upon our arrival, we run into a nasty mech called an Enforcer who doesn’t play around. Once we manage to pick up our Xenotech weapons, we get to unload on our enemies before running into an interesting Raven captain named Melin Mao. You’ll learn more about her as you play through the game.
Over the course of the next two chapters, we get to check out the Triton Outpost, which is an underwater Raven prison and lab, while also running into the devious Ivan Sovlenko who is doing a bit of experimentation on himself. Finally we head to Sheng Island, where we’ll have to dome some serious damage control to keep from added destruction taking place.
One major aspect of the game, aside from being able to use LEAP, is that there are RPG elements, in that each character picks up experience points and can upgrade their skills using a skill tree. These skills help with attacks, defense and other abilities. Each skill tree is also specific to each character, so if you leap into another character’s shoes, you’ll find their own XP points, so you can customize them as you see fit. There are also team skills that can be unlocked by picking up Fuse Credits (gold bricks) and using it to buy them. You’ll want to use the credits wisely as each team skill is quite expensive.
Aside from the game’s campaign, there is also what’s called Echelon mode, which is a wave-based mode that requires a crap-ton of teamwork (unless you want to be decimated, as it’s difficult to say the least), to advance. While this mode asks you to work together as a team, you’ll also find yourself competing with your teammates for gathering Fuse Credits, which you’ll see laying around in the form of bags of money and gold bricks. Echelon includes 12 rounds spread across 6 different maps, so you’ll need to do things such as attack a position, defend a Fuse source, taken down a specific enemy, such as a mech and pick up cargo drops before they get destroyed. It takes something like a horde mode and mixes it up by adding various objectives, which can be challenging.
Overall, I’d say Fuse is shaping up quite nicely and from the few hours I’ve gotten to play, I’m really looking forward to getting deeper into the game to see how the story plays out and to also get to know the ins and outs of each character.
Stay tuned for our full review later this month.