Want some action? How does four elite agents, ridiculous alien technology and more cannon fodder than you can ever count sound? Good? Well then, Fuse
might just be for you. Just make sure to bring a friend.
The mercenary team Overstrike 9 has been sent out to infiltrate a research center and, upon doing so, come across the lethal alien substance called "Fuse". It turns out that Fuse can be combined with human technology to devastating effect and therefore, you guessed it, everyone wants it. Their vague mission turns into a race to stop Fuse from essentially destroying the world when it falls into the wrong hands.
It's good then that, right before this happens, the team all manage to find their very own experimental Fuse weapons. Izzy can crystalise and shatter enemies with her Shattergun, while Dalton's Magshield can deploy an impenetrable force field which captures enemy fire and allows it to be returned right into their faces. Jacob has a crossbow-like weapon in the Arcshot that shoots fiery goo bolts, while Naya can create devastating black holes with her Warp Rifle. When firefights really kick off and all these powers are combined, it can lead to some monstrous damage, earning players bonus XP. Players can also leap to different characters throughout the game, allowing you to play with the different weaponry whenever you want.
It is these weapons that keep Fuse
fun and interesting, as the missions are long and the enemies tedious. There are very few variations in enemies throughout the whole game: typical grunts and snipers, cloaked soldiers and slight variations of giant robots. As the game goes on, the fights are basically more of the same, just in higher volume. The variation in the characters’ weapons can allow for some great co-op teamwork when playing with other people, but when playing alone, the AI doesn't make good use of this factor. More than that, the AI borders on useless. They can be effective at reviving you if they don't get caught on the scenery, but other than that they can be infuriating to play with. When playing with actual people, a lot of fun can be had but otherwise, the AI will seriously wind some people up.
The characters themselves are as shallow as it gets and generally typical of a ridiculous, over-the-top, action-packed adventure. They come complete with little personality, irrational fears (cats, in this instance), a bitter love life and daddy issues.
Each character also has a skill tree and, though each character's is very similar, the skill tree can unlock further Fuse-based abilities. Naya can cloak, making assassinations a piece of cake. Izzy can deploy a med beacon that heals and revives teammates, Dalton can plant a shield anywhere he wants that also enhances team fire, whilst Jacob can lay trap bolts. Even further down the skill tree is the "Fusion" ability. The Fusion ability makes the player invulnerable and gives the entire team unlimited ammunition for a short time. There's also a "team ability" that each character can equip that gives all characters and/or players benefits. These range from increasing grenade range to upping the amount of credits earned.
The campaign is lengthy by today’s standards, clocking in at around ten hours. This isn't the only thing the game has to offer though, as Fuse
also comes with a wave mode, called Echelon. In this mode, players must survive for a total of twelve waves. These will also occasionally have an objective such as defending an area or securing a package. Once again, with human players this can prove to be great fun. It's hectic and it can be tough, but the satisfaction of using all your abilities and working together is brilliant. As with the campaign though, playing this solo is an entirely different experience. The AI are once again less than useless, and the intensity of the waves makes it impossible to survive, even with a fully-leveled character. It's frustrating that the difference between these experiences is so monumentally huge.
The achievements are quite a time sink if you're the completionist type. They require the game's campaign to be played three times. There's over fifty collectibles to pick up and all characters must be maxed out, as do the team abilities. These are crazily expensive and some serious Echelon grinding will be needed to earn the credits required.
can no doubt be fun, but the fact that this is only the case when it's played with actual people and not the game's AI will no doubt be a killer for many. The graphics and sound are both great. The story is ridiculous and over-the-top but also fairly forgettable. Worst of all, the enemies are too tedious and only your unique weapons and skills keep the game interesting . Echelon Mode is essentially more of the same, but at least it's more rewarding in XP and credits for those who play well. Ultimately, the main thing that makes the game fun is the unique weapons and the people you play it with.
If you have people to play with (the more, the better!) then give Fuse
a go, as you'll probably have great fun. Otherwise, it probably won't be a very pleasant gaming experience for you.
The reviewer spent twelve hours playing the main campaign as well as six hours in Echelon mode and gained 21 out of the 40 achievements. This copy was provided courtesy of the publisher.