From the minds behind the excellent Ratchet and Clank series and the slightly less excellent Resistance games, comes Fuse, Insomniac’s first EA backed venture away from PlayStation. A co-op third person shooter set in sci-fi universe, a genre that’s tried and tested, but does it keep up with the competition? Or does it fall at the wayside? As a co-op multiplayer shooter it works great. This is definitely the best way to play this game. Four playable characters, each with unique weapons that can be combined to devastating effect. Izzy with her shattergun that freezers enemies, Naya with her warp rifle which causes enemies to explode in a mini black hole, Dalton has the magshield, a mobile barrier which the defender can shoot through and Jacob has an archshot crossbow with explosive bolts. The game actively wants you to work together by rewarding you more XP for using two or three players special weapons at once. For example, Dalton throws down his shield, Izzy freezes a group of enemies from behind and Jacob then fires and explosive bolt through the shield to smash the bad guys into a million tiny pieces. Bam! Everyone gets a bonus for taking part. And that’s what makes this game fun in multiplayer. You feel like you’re a team working together, rather than four individuals try to get more xp than the others. It’s also a solid cover based shooter. You can blind fire, roll from cover to cover, use stealth takedowns, throw grenades or just sprint in guns a blazing. Characters also have unique abilities that eat into your fuse meter (what powers your extraordinary weapons). Healing beacons and temporary invisibility are among these, and they go hand in hand with your special weapons to make clearing rooms of enemies, not only fun, but a lot easier than just using cover mechanics and shooting. All sounds great so far, but this game has a massive flaw. Unfortunately if you’re going to be playing this on your own, this is where it falls completely apart. The AI is pretty much useless. You will most definitely laugh, cry and sigh, as your teammates run into direct gunfire, throw grenades at you, let enemies run past unharmed and just plain refuse to revive you after they’ve let you get mauled to death. It’s as if they are being controlled by preschool children. Without other players to give you a hand, Insomniac has included the handy ‘Leap’ mechanism. This lets you jump into any of the four characters at any time. This should be awesome, letting you set up weapon combinations and position your team into the optimal places in order to take down enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible. But time and time again you will end up switching into characters facing the wrong way, out in the open being slaughtered or somewhere so far away you don’t even recognise where they are. This caused me to pretty much never use the Leap at all. This then essentially leaves you to never experience the co-op experience, the way the game should be played. This made the game drag for me, totally losing the intensity and pace of the multiplayer. Fuse is two games. An excellent co-op game with brilliantly inventive weapons (Ratchet and Clank anyone?), one of the most fun experiences I’ve had since Borderlands 2. On the other side of the coin is a dull cover based shooter, with broken AI that will frustrate to no end. I can only recommend this game if you’ve got three friends to play.
Game purchased by reviewer