Can any worse happen to a week that has already taken a toll on your life? Like your favourite ex sending you her wedding card. Or watching Hangover 3 on the first day, first show? Well, don’t give up on your life ‘cause there’s one thing remaining to your week – FUSE. The great Insomniac who gave you legends like Ratchet and Clank and the Resistance series pair up with EA Games (the creators of Dead Space, Battlefield, the list goes on) to give you the biggest blockbuster of the year – FUSE. While Insomniac promises to bounce back from a disappointing end to the otherwise hit Resistance series, EA comes straight after the SimCity massacre. Together they create FUSE!
What is FUSE?
BRB is short for Be Right Back, FUSE is short for CONFUSE. Well that’s how I see it, and so do legit Insomniac fanboys. FUSE is an energy particle that has the ability to send chains of deadly rays that can instantly kill millions; of course it is dangerous. This FUSE matter is just like nuclear technology, some might implement for the good deeds, while others for party crashing the planet. And you and your four member recovery team must fight into a corrupt technology company, along with some power greedy individuals and mercenaries ready to die at your hands. I mean now I can clearly imagine, what if Dishonored decided to call itself ‘Whale Oil’ instead of Dishonored or Far Cry 3 as ‘Syringe’. Even though FUSE plays an integral part in the game, I’m sure there could’ve been a host of interesting names that the developers could have looked into. Overstrike, the way the game was supposed to be originally called, sounded way more powerful than the FUSE that sounds like a wannabe badass particle waiting to change the history of gaming. And it didn’t. Here’s why.
What’s ConFUSEing about FUSE?
The trailers never said anything about a game purely based on co-op missions. They were more on the side of sci-fi along the lines of Resistance. Now when I get to play the game I realize that I’ve got not one but four asses to save to proceed to the next level. It is an XMen: Legends head-on, only with more FUSE at your disposal. Gameplay wise, it’s always a better option not to pay heed to whatever’s going on in the cutscene. That takes me to point two.
What’s in a story anyway, right? A game is a game at the end of the day. The game could’ve done so much if this was the plan. I won’t say it totally fails, because it does give me an adrenaline rush with all-new, over the top guns (the ones that Insomniac has been giving us since Ratchet and Clank days). There isn’t a proper character development, the only way you can unearth character stories and bio is by scavenging for Intel left for you in the dingy corners of every fight level. There are four characters to choose – Dalton, Jacob, Isabelle aka Izzy and Naya. Isabelle is the hottest, Naya is the assassin, Dalton has a FUSE charged mag shield that makes him the group ass-saver and Jacob is perhaps the Afro guy that every American Sci Fi story deserves and not necessarily needs.
The game wants you to make the stealth moves, and as you proceed to slowly kill a soldier, your co-operative team jumps into a fight. Dafuq style. And you realize you are in the middle of the war. There are moments when I am standing right across the alley with my armed team and the enemy patrols are not even interested to look this side. Even though there are big firing moments in the game, the overall drawbacks make it a game that would entice our parents to say ‘You will lose contact with reality if you’re into this shit for long enough’. The game fails miserably in its acrobatics; there are moments when Naya will suddenly start climbing a pipeline, in between a war.
At first, you seem to rejoice in the depth of every battle level, but then it all becomes a repetition. They will always have an empty space to run around, some cover taking surface and an elevation. The enemies, even though are challenging at times (like the Leadfoot and the Leadfire) seem to be a part of the same plan.
Retro at its best. Excelling simplicity.
Having criticized so much, I must admit that I loved the minimalist fun that the game somehow brings. No crafting syringes, no hacking devices with matching button movements, simply point-and-shoot. After all, your guns got the FUSE, man! Your only job through the video game is to take cover, shoot, run around, change team-mates, and shoot again. Luckily the co-op switching is butter smooth, so if there’s even a small chance for me to getting pounded by missiles, I could change my team-mate for a better view of the target.
In fact the co-op part is the most sought out I’ve seen in any co-op led game. Every character is blessed with a super power that can help your team in urgency. Izzy has a medical beam that can be thrown around and creates a halo to regenerate one’s health automatically. Naya’s special because she can use the invisibility cloak to get around, Dalton can drop a defensive shield to cast off horde of mercenaries and therefore save you in tight spaces. Having played more than 3 hours into an online co-op mode, I realized that the game’s real fun really lied in the part where you get together with friends and play a level to get the party started. The target audience is not at all mature gamers, and going by all these features, this game is open to any random noob who wants to have a good time (which includes me, sadly). And you can actually become quite good in multiplayer battles without much learning. The game also has less cluttered battle levels, which means, focusing on your targets is easier. But a really bad AI disrupts it all. Sometimes I want to run, but I will bump into a team mate and die from missile blasts. Awww, right?
What’s killer about FUSE is the epic boss fights that will sometimes tire you out and you will be thrown into making constant strategies to come on top of it, including making smart transmissions between your co-op characters. The journey into the heart of a gunfire is very simple and at the same time tight and interesting. Something that makes this game one of the most challenging ones in the same genre. However, you will feel the drab and repetition seeping in during some levels.
Where it failed
The game also has some really interesting visual moments, like there’s a drop ship that leaves you on top of the Karakoram Mountains in Pakistan, and you can really see downwards. There are legit birds flying around as well. Overall, it can hardly boast of any visual excellence, these moments all blow up like FUSE the moment you enter the scenario and enemies start flooding in. Also the sound seems too loud during gunfire and too much forced with no moving theme or whatsoever.
The guns are interesting. There are four special FUEL charged guns with the respective characters. Izzy has the Shattergun that breaks the enemy like thick crystalline, Naya’s Warp Rifle has the power to draw the enemies into a giant nebula and bomb them apart, Dalton’s Mag gives out a massive thunderbolt from the ground that shatters anyone standing on his feet and Jacob’s Arcshots get the enemies caught up in fire. Plus when these special guns team up and blast, you get more stylized dying moments on your screen, Insomniac has epitomized the arsenal category over the years, this was the least you could have expected.
But given the immense amount of creativity that Ratchet and Clank has done with the PS2 or Resistance has done as per storytelling, FUSE is nowhere close to be remembered. It would go down as a PS3 developer company, who now joined hands with an Xbox Elitist (Electronic Arts) to give you a Metal Gear slash Borderlands replica. A good effort that has simply been simply confused and made complicated by the developing companies and have failed to live up to the standards of the age that is simply mesmerizing the video game addicts with kickass gameplay, visuals and storyline. Also, FUSE boasts of the world’s most predictable ending, of course you get the bottle of FUSE back. Replace a jungle with a fort, but keep the elements same, FUSE is the definition of insanity… like it’s the same shit getting repeated. One of the greatest examples of when giants collided and nothing exclusive about a console exclusive game went by you.
But, I had a blast in Jodhpur!
Being an Indian, I’d give FUSE an up for including both India and Pakistan in two of its stages. Even though I’m told in the Jodhpur scenario that the Royal Palace was actually bought by a Sheikh, bloody oil merchant ruining my country’s heritage. And, when you look through the window panes in the Jodhpur Palace, you will find this city underneath with Mughal style onion rooftops on almost each one of them. Before I go completely paranoid about it, let me tell you that you also have a wild shootout in front of Lord Ganesha’s (His Almighty) idol. And you will have to jump across a ledge that overlooks his paunch.
*This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3