So this week my lovely geeky pals, we look at the action shooter Fuse for Xbox 360 and what a mixed bag it is…
I had heard a lot about this game, I believe it went back to the chopping board a few times and as a result is now quite different from its original state. Is this for the better? Well I can’t tell you that straight away can I, you will just have to read on…But not before I provide you with the official trailer so you can see what all the fuss is about:
The game is essentially about a team of elite soldiers that have to infiltrate a secret base and secure the alien technology known as ‘Fuse’. This material is a form of energy which naturally us humans have started to weaponise and use for our own dastardly ends, quel surprise! You are part of a four-strong team, taking a ride through the various tunnels, labs and other seemingly familiar environments in an attempt to retrieve this technology, bringing it back into ‘safe’ hands. Of course, what fun would that be without using it to your advantage with new weapons and killer explosions?! Quite early on you get access to some top-secret weaponry such as warp and shatter guns and even an indestructible shield! Pretty cool eh?! It’s not all just glitsy gloss though, there is an OK story woven through Fuse which I won’t spoil the details of too much other than saying it wasn’t told in the most compelling way. Just take this section of the review as both a teaser and a warning not to expect a tight, intricate plot because well, there isn’t one.
Fuse for Xbox 360 looks…ok. I can’t really say much else, we’ve seen it all before really. There are only so many building corridors you can go down in a game before they all begin to look the same, plus the graphics don’t wow me either. To be honest they almost look cartoony at times. I don’t understand why after games like Halo 4 where we see truly vivid artwork and detail there seems to be so many titles that have come out since with far inferior graphics. The 360 is capable of delivering a lot more than we got here and I just think that is a shame. Saying all this though, some of the backdrops look quite nice, they don’t draw me into the world as much as other similar games have but they provide a good distraction. I also really enjoyed watching the results of the tech weaponry on screen, the warp gun was amazing! You can chain warp explosion after warp explosion and just watch the resulting carnage, there really is nothing quite like creating your own quantum singularities only to see them reach a destructive end. To be honest, I think this was graphically what I enjoyed the most about Fuse on Xbox 360. Perhaps shallow? But despite this game putting us into a variety of environments with varying weather conditions, it just doesn’t pull me in to the world like titles such as the new Tomb Raider and Remember Me to name but a few. Also finally, the speech and lip sync on these characters is rather shocking at times, further perpetuating the very ‘cartoon’ feel of this game.
Ok so now to gameplay, again it’s not bad (noticing a theme?). It’s a third-person shooter with the added twist of being able to jump to any of the three other characters at will but this feature falls flat and just isn’t that useful. There is almost no point in jumping to the guy with the energy shield unless you just like standing there a great deal whilst your comrades get their teeth stuck into the action. Sure sure, you can time it just right to repel grenades and set up team mate attacks but come on, who wants to do that when you have 20 guys all around you desperately trying to move you swiftly on to the afterlife?! In practice this feature simply doesn’t work and I’m sure many players, like myself simply switched when they ran out of ammo! At least it’s good for something then…
Speaking of ammo, I do LOVE the tech weaponry (other than the aforementioned lame energy shield), the warp gun filled me with childish joy as it exploded its own brand of justice….The shatter gun was equally entertaining with a few well placed rounds capable of rendering any person into a breakable ornament. Obviously there are cunning ways you can use these together with devastating effect on your enemies as well. Combat-wise, Fuse uses a cover based system as if chest-high walls just took over the universe. Controls from here are fairly straightforward, allowing you to shoot from behind cover or aiming over it quite easily. Also what may be seen as positive to some but annoying to others is that grenades seem to have a mind of their own, knowing exactly where the enemy is at all times. No more random aiming and throwing then hoping for the best, these babies often hit their target and you don’t need to be a pro to do it. Though I’m sure the pro’s have an issue with this…
Gold and XP are available throughout the game which can be used to unlock more gear and abilities. Fuse uses a talent based system allowing you to personalise each character as you go, a notable upgrade is the stealth ability, that’s always handy! The only issue you may have and related to the point above is that you forget to spend the points on every character as you hop between them. Still, it’s always nice to have the option to tailor them more to your play style.
As the game progresses, waves of enemies get larger and more tactical, they will try and flank you so don’t stay in one place for too long. You need to start using your brain a lot more as you go through the game, but difficult areas are nicely punctuated by a random placed gun turret or cannon! The only issue you may face is that despite having to use your brain, your team mates seem to switch theirs off entirely. There are times I just found myself staring at the screen wondering what the devil they were doing, stepping right out into gunfire or just standing there eating a machine gun sandwich, bizarre…This naturally makes things VERY difficult when you are critically injured and need to be revived as this will inevitably result in them joining you in a writhing mess on the floor. Not a fan. This really frustrated me in my playing of Fuse. Overall, there is fun to be had in the gameplay, the difficulty curve isn’t too extreme but certain mini bosses will have you shooting endlessly wondering if the guy is actually immortal because no obvious tactic to defeat him presents itself. Still, nice shiny explosions
So what can I say about Fuse? It’s playable, there is some nice action from time to time with very cool weapons but the overall experience seriously leaves me wanting. I’ve said this before but I love it when a game can draw me in, really envelop me in its world and make me care about the characters in it, but this didn’t come close to happening here. To be honest, if you want cool explosions or a fun shooting gallery of game, there are much better titles on offer. I couldn’t even recommend it on its story, it was flat enough that I didn’t even end up completing the game which is rare. There are elements of Fuse I enjoyed, reminding me of titles like Army Of Two: The 40th Day and the like but then if I wanted that experience, I would just play those games instead. Overall, this is a lackluster attempt at reinventing the 3rd person shooter which unfortunately fell flat. I would suggest playing one of the many other games I mentioned in this review instead.
GEEK RATING: 4/10 POOR
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Images – Insomniac Games