I’ve been an Insomniac Games fan for quite some time now, and I must admit to being a bit tentative about Fuse. It’s bad enough that they had to stop making exclusives for Sony, but did they have to go to EA as the publisher? I was more than afraid the Insomniac style would be lost over there.
Anyways, the demo has been released, and it’s time to find out if this sucker has any promise.
1. Fuse is a four player co-op cover shooter. There are four different characters to choose from, each with a specialized weapon that features the Insomniac touch. For example, the burly guy has a magnetic shield that can block bullets and then send them back to the shooter. The sniper character has a crossbow. The bolts this crossbow fires can be detonated after they land. It’s classic stuff, but I didn’t find any weapons that weren’t featured in other Insomniac games. That crossbow is pretty much the magnum from Resistance 2. While it’s cool, I’ve seen it before.
2. The mechanics are pretty standard. You can snap into cover, leap over cover, aim, shoot, melee up close, throw grenades, etc. The basics are all there. When a teammate goes down, there’s a limited amount of time before he or she dies. Someone must revive him/her before that time runs out. Like I said, it’s standard.
3. It appears this game runs under the logic that the only way to take out enemies is to press forward. If you don’t press forward, then they’ll simply keep spawning new baddies for you to kill. My first time through the demo, I must have stayed in one area for ten minutes waiting for the enemies to die out. The next time, I move forward right away and they just stopped coming out of the doors. The key is to take out snipers so you can move forward without leaving yourself open.
4. Teamwork is definitely going to be key, though I’m not talking about silly checkpoints that force everyone together. The second part of the demo featured a battle against two mechs. These mechs were incredibly strong, but slow. The trick was to hit the tanks on their backs. With one person, this would be impossible, as they would simply turn and shoot you. What made the battle interesting was that one player distract the mechs while another took pot shots from behind. Of course, there are four players, so this kind of thing could happen often.
5. There’s a simple leveling system here, which allows you to pick from a small set of upgrades. There are some tech trees, so you can focus on particular parts of your character. If you want him more combat orientated, you can do that. If you’re more focused on being a team player, you’ll want to take different skills. It appears your level with each character will be saved, and that each character will earn at least some experience, no matter which particular one you’re using at the moment.
6. The AI seems pretty darn good about keeping itself in line. While I found my partners were nowhere near as useful in battle, they were good at not getting killed, as well as reviving me when I needed it. In fact, I don’t think I ever saw an AI soldier go down, though I can’t say the same for myself or for the other human players I played with.
7. The demo is pretty short, and features only a few missions from what appears to be the beginning of the game. I ran through the demo twice in less than an hour. I’m still a bit skeptical, as I didn’t get to see much gameplay variety. It was all standard stuff. I would have also like to have seen some variation in the environments.
8. The presentation is pretty darn good. Insomniac has a great cartoonish style, which this game takes advantage of. The models do look like humans, but have a slight animated edge to them that keep them from looking like grunts from any other shooter. The voices were also top notch, featuring the likes of Jennifer Hale and Steve Blum. I’m sure the full game will sound and look even better.
9. I’m really hoping the online play runs this smoothly for the full game. This is being marketed as a full blown four player co-op game, in the vein of Left 4 Dead. Smooth online play is going to make or break this game, and hopefully this demo is a sign of things to come. I had no issues.
10. I’m not sold on this game yet. The gameplay doesn’t appear to be anything spectacular. In fact, it seems incredibly basic. Hopefully, there’s some Insomniac magic awaiting those who purchase the full game. I would love to see what new kinds of weapons they could come up with, and how those weapons could be used with multiple players. Fuse hits stores on the 28th. Make sure you try the demo before you commit to purchasing it.