Fuse (Xbox 360)

Insomniac plays it safe with its first multiplatform, team-based shooter

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Insomniac Games Fuse (Xbox 360)

Pros

  • Interesting weapons that influence team strategies on the battlefield
  • Looks nice and runs well

Cons

  • Bland story, characters and environments
  • More suited for online multiplayer than single player

Bottom Line

Fuse shows promise with its unique weapons and team-based gameplay. However, most of the enjoyment will come from playing with others online rather than with the single-player mode.

Would you buy this?

Team-based shooters are in vogue at the moment, and Fuse from Insomniac games is the latest addition to the genre. In this title, the player controls a squad entrusted with retrieving an energy source known as “fuse,” which is has found itself in the hands of villains who want to destroy the world with it.

Fortunately, the player’s squad is equipped with Fuse-powered weapons for the task. The weapons provide an interesting twist on the familiar third-person “run and cover” gameplay, though the game as a whole has trouble following through on the promise.

All about the weapons

There are four characters in the team wielding their own unique weapon. The Magshield can absorb and repel projectiles, Arcshot melts targets, the Shattergun can freeze enemies, and the Warp Rifle has invisibility. Each of the characters has an upgrade tree for the weapons, with abilities that can be improved during the course of the game. Insomniac has a history of coming up with memorable weapons in both its Ratchet and Clank, and Resistance series of games, and Fuse continues this tradition. By far, the most interesting and memorable aspect of the game is the weapons, and the solid controls ensure that the guns are accurate during combat, both from a distance and close quarters.

On a technical level, Fuse looks nice and comparable to any current-generation title coming out this year. Despite spending close to a decade exclusively working with Sony consoles, Insomniac has ensured that the Xbox 360 version of Fuse is of a high quality. The game runs at a steady clip and showed no real signs of slowing down during the heat of battle. The same praise can not be level at the overall visual aesthetics of Fuse, which features a combination of an unremarkable team of characters in boring-looking environments. The Resistance series also suffered in this regards, featuring a generic post-apocalyptic universe, though Fuse seems to take this blandness to a new level.

Forgettable adventure

The bigger issue of Fuse is that the characters and overall narrative are not all that compelling to begin with. The game was clearly designed to be played online with several friends, where the story is not important to the overall experience. However, as a single-player game, the weak narrative stands out when other aspects of Fuse are not very imaginative. The game compensates by letting the player switch between characters during gameplay and make use of their unique Fuse-based weapons. However, the characters are limited to their designed weapon throughout the entire game, meaning that there is very little variation in the battles.

Fuse can be finished within seven or eight hours depending on difficulty, though robust online modes such as Echelon will provide added entertainment afterwards.

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