Preview - Fuse
Formally named Overstrike but later rebranded to Fuse by developers Insomniac, is a no nonsense co-operative shooter that claims to bring something new to the genre. Over the last year or so we have seen a significant change in direct for this game, especially compared to what was on offer at E3 eighteen months ago.
The game is a lot more serious now and less slapstick than it was under the Overstrike brand. The squad is a lot more defined and each character is a lot more distinctive and each seem to have a much better backstory and personality.
The game centres around an alien substance called Fuse that seems to have some unique properties. The research facility Hyperion was charged with trying to understand and provide use for this substance but now they cannot be reached and the worst is feared.
As it turns out a rival group called Raven have infiltrated the facility and made off with Fuse. Our squad land on the base and quickly learn that it has been successfully transformed into weapons by the Hyperion scientists. Wasting no time each member quickly tools up with their preferred weapon and the action moves on from there.
The most striking thing about Fuse are the squad members and the unique abilities these Fuse weapons give them. Dalton is the leader of the group and a former Raven employee. He is equipped with an energy shield that can be used to cover himself and other members. Jacob has armed himself with the Arcshot which turns out is a very effective long-range crossbow that also doubles as a trap.
The two female squad members are Izzy and Naya and they arguably have the coolest weapons. Izzy is equipped with a shatter gun that crystallises enemies holding them above cover primed to be shattered with the final blow. Naya has a Warp rifle that has the power to create black holes that will rip enemies apart.
Although all the Fuse weapons are very cool they only form part of the story. Fuse is very much a squad based game and co-operation is essential to progress. If one squad member died the mission is over. Each squad member can also help to enhance each other by combining attacks and weaponry to be more efficient and collect more coin for upgrades.
The upgrades are also vitally important. They help you shape the way that your character develops and because there are four different branches to skill up on - each with three tiers and three levels per tier - there are endless possibilities available.
Based on the gameplay that we have seen so far and the way that the game is pitching itself within the genre, there is a lot of expectation for Fuse. Insomniac are a very good development outfit and their CEO Ted Price is very passionate about Fuse. If the game turns out as expected we should be seeing the first blockbuster of 2013 sometime in March.