Overstrike, once a more stylized four player cooperative game, has evolved into Fuse and while it remains a four player cooperative experience, Insomniac Game’s March 2013 release on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is now driven by the alien substance, Fuse, recovered from an alien crash during the 1940s and secured by the government until an opposing force by the name of Raven intercepts the substance. Because Fuse molds into lethal forms of attack when combined with earthly substances and is severely dangerous within the wrong hands, four completely unique operatives, all with their very own back story filled with severe issues, are teamed together for hire to recover Fuse and prevent armageddon.
The story begins in Hyperion, a destroyed base, where you learn that the weapons being used by your squad are powered by Fuse. Loaded with vastly distinct arsenals and weapons that match Insomniac’s style, gamers will have the opportunity to “leap” back and forth between the four divergent heroes to prevent one from being restricted to just one of the operatives. Leaping between the characters will play a strategic role in your success with Fuse and as long as there is an operative being controlled by a bot, you are able to leap no matter what level of intensity you may find yourself within. If you do find yourself in the situation where there are four humans playing not allowing for you all to leap mid-action, when the team reaches a checkpoint, players will be given the option to change around operatives if desired.
While playing with other human players in Fuse, communication between you and the other team members will be crucial to the success of shutting down Raven. Each operative contains a unique focus and arsenal that must effectively be utilized to progress throughout the story. Dalton Brooks possesses what’s known as the MagShield which is a bullet barrier formed by Fuse and ferrofluid. Not only can the MagShield help protect your teammates while they furiously take cover behind and shoot through the barrier, the MagShield has the ability to build up kinetic energy adding up to a powerful blast. Naya Deveraux is equipped with the Warp Rifle allowing for chaining where multiple black holes are triggered. The Warp Rifle is made possible by the combination of fuse and antimatter and when used stealthily, can prove to be a valuable asset. Jacob Kimble is assigned the Arc Shot mixing Fuse with Liquid Mercury and allows for the player to set traps which can be very beneficial when used alongside teamwork. Lastly, Isabelle (Izzy) Sinclair, the youngest of the group and favorite character to design for Carlo, Principal of Concept Artists (specifically characters) for Insomniac, comes equipped with the Shatter Gun combining melanite with Fuse. Designed to take out opposing forces in an aggressive manner, Izzy is sure to be a valuable asset when used strategically with the rest of the squad.
As you progress throughout the story, players will witness Dalton, Naya, Jacob, and Izzy evolve emotionally and struggle through many issues tied to their troubling back stories. While doing do, each operative has their very own Fuse Tree thanks to the Fuse Progression System where players earn Fuse points throughout gameplay while mowing down enemies. In fact, thanks to Lethal Teamwork, anyone involved with the death of an opposing force will earn points even if they did not physically bring the enemy to its death. For example, if you are playing as Dalton Brooks, you are able to initiate the MagShield providing cover for your teammates to fire through and take cover. Because you are providing that protection, you will not earn as much as the ones actually taking down the enemies, but because they are shooting through your shield, you are racking up points as well, which if you have the rest of the squad taking part in, could lead to a heavy influx of Fuse points. As you are in the midst of action you will see various numbers appearing on screen over the downed enemies in a non-disturbing fashion uncovering just how many points you alone are earning to prevent confusion with your teammates.
While earning Fuse points and working towards your objective, each player will also be building up the opportunity to initiate Fusion. Fusion essentially turns the entire team into “fuse-powered wrecking balls” while reviving any allies that may be down. Communicating with your teammates on the proper time to initiate such powerful action is crucial as while it certainly puts the entire team at an advantage, it does not last forever and is recommended for heavy combat situations.
After learning the following about Fuse from Insomniac Games, I had the chance to go hands-on with the game and experience the evolved experience from Overstrike to Fuse and I must say I left impressed. Featuring a more gruesome and violent art style over what was shown with Overstrike and likely looking to receive an M rating, Fuse integrates the solid weapon design that Insomniac is famous for and integrates it within a third person shooter filled with action. The controls will seem very familiar to those who have played the many third person shooters out on the market so learning how to maneuver and navigate throughout your missions should not come as a surprise.
Unlike many third person shooters on the market today, the cover system for Fuse is implemented extremely well and avoids the “sticky” feel that franchises such as Gears of War suffer from. Maneuvering from one cover to another and firing in positions beside the standard prone and standing positions feels natural adding up to an incredibly fun gameplay experience that I can see myself latching onto when the game releases March of 2013 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
I would like to thank the incredible team over at Insomniac Games for inviting me to come check out and receive hands-on with Fuse before anyone, besides one other person outside of Insomniac, allowing me to provide you guys with insight into Insomniac’s first massive multiplatform release since their heavy tie-in with the PlayStation 3. While concern was to be had by many when they announced that they would be working with Electronic Arts on a multiplatform release and showed Overstrike for the very first time, Insomniac Games has reevaluated their original plans with Overstrike and completely rebuilt the game based on the creative minds stationed within Insomniac’s Burbank studios. As more information is released and obtained for Fuse, you can be sure that TheGamerAccess.com will host the details as soon as possible and I hope that my inside look to Fuse spikes interest in the upcoming release if it wasn’t on your radar already. Trust me, this is a game you do not want to miss out on!