FUSE is releasing May 28th, so I thought I’d check out the demo and see how Insomniac fares with their new sci-fi co-op shooter. They aren’t new to the genre at all, because they’ve combined elements from their previous work on Ratchet and Clank and Resistance. It has the teamwork from Ratchet, the crazy weapons from well all their games (kind of what they’re good at), the seriousness and realistic nature of Resistance, and the comedic relief from Ratchet.
The game takes place in the future where we discovered this alien technology that took us many decades to figure out and the military got a hold of this tech and began weaponizing it to their needs. Making one group have a particularly unfair advantage against the rest. That is until someone steals it of course and starts to use it against them and potentially the rest of the world, and so they send in you and your elite strike team. You will play as one of any of the four team members: Dalton Brooks, Isabelle “Izzy” Sinclair, Jacob Kimble, or Naya Deveraux. Dalton is the team leader and his special ability includes his Magshield which is basically a deployable cover mechanism (similar to the Auger in Resistance) where it deflects MOST incoming projectiles and still allows for output of projectiles. Izzy uses the Shattergun which essentially crystallizes enemies and lifts them up and out of cover and also has a secondary fire to deploy a med beacon to heal the entire team (even at large distances). Jacob has a crossbow type weapon called the Arcshot which is ideal for long range stealth takedowns and the bolts will liquefy enemies when charged and can be used to set traps as well. Naya has the Warp Rifle which fires singularities that can possibly chain to nearby enemies too and the weapon gives her the ability of invisibility for stealth assassinations.
For my playthrough I decided to test out Jacob and see how he played. Initially I found much joy in stealthily skewering my enemies in the head and literally melting their faces off with my awesomeness. I provided excellent cover for my team as I took down snipers and multiple enemies at long range. However I quickly became in danger when I ran out of ammo and enemies started to get closer to me. While the main game will surely explain many things and get you accustomed to the mechanics, the demo did not do that and left me unsure of where to get more ammo and how to switch weapons or even melee enemies. Of course you could read the controls, but I have never been one to do such as it doesn’t take long to figure out and the tutorial usually explains it. So this isn’t a bad thing on the game by any means, just maybe not the best level to do a demo on as it was in a climatic point in the game most likely. So after figuring out all of the above I was able to quickly adapt to multiple situations and continued my killing sprees and progressing to the objective.
The computer AI teammates did a good job of making sure I was properly revived and even taking down multiple enemies, but maybe not such a good job of utilizing their specialties. Dalton, who has the big shield, was rarely in the front of the group protecting the rest and Naya, who could turn invisible, had never tried to flank the enemies. While doing a four live person co-op will certainly rectify this, those without four friends playing this game might find things a bit one sided in terms of teamwork. The enemies did an excellent job of trying to kill me by their snipers taking shots at me while I was under constant fire from the normal infantry. Of course with multiple real players you can communicate and ask for assistance for cover, or take out a certain enemy, or even just to heal you making the battles a little bit easier to handle.
I’ve mentioned that this game is four player co-op, but Insomniac did something most games do not and made it same system multiplayer. Up to two players on one system can play together and you can team up with another team of two online to have a full team of live players, or just be the two of you with two computers. In the event of you and another person playing together you can utilize the LEAP feature. LEAP will allow you to leap between characters freely to enhance your strategy and gameplay. So if you’re pinned down as Jacob you can switch to Dalton and get in front of him to help him take down a few enemies with the arcshot as one example.
In terms of customization, Insomniac added an RPG model to their newest shooter allowing you to build a skill tree for each individual character. This allows perks such as a chained kill ability with your weapons, extra health, more damage to you and your team, and many other types of perks to select. You’ll gain experience points throughout your missions by completing mission objectives, killing enemies, and using teamwork. Extra XP will be provided if you do something cool with the fuse weapons. Jacob’s arcshot can skewer enemies to walls and liquefy them which will increase the earned XP, of course the typical headshot kill will earn more, but more interestingly you can earn more XP for being cooperative with your teammates. Say Izzy used her Shattergun to hold the enemies in the air and then you come up and kill them, then both you and Izzy will earn extra XP.
As far as my impressions with the demo are concerned I believe FUSE will be a great addition to the Insomniac library and even your own gaming library. I recommend you guys pick it up if you’re looking for a fun and interesting shooter to play with your friends. Even by yourself this title provides some unique gameplay. It’s coming out May 28th in North America and if you pre-order it then you’ll earn yourself a few extra bonus items in game. Check out the trailer below too.