Fuse Review: You fuse, you lose

  • Posted June 8th, 2013 at 22:44 EDT by

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Fuse is an exercise in mediocrity, pure and simple.

We like

  • Mildly enjoyable 4-player co-op
  • Splitscreen capable
  • Fun fuse-powered weapons

We dislike

  • Confusing, poorly-told story
  • Horrible ally and enemy AI
  • Annoying glitches

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Insomniac Games has a history of creating some wonderful games and franchises, including Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet & Clank. However, with its work on Resistance and now especially Fuse, I can’t help but wonder if the developer trying too hard to appeal to mainstream audiences, and in the process losing sight of what made its earlier games special. When Fuse was first unveiled, it was known as Overstrike and gave us a glimpse of an interesting cooperative third-person action game. Sadly, the final product is mostly uninspired, from its aesthetic redesign and game mechanics to the story and writing. 

Fuse follows Overstrike, a team of four special agents from different ethnicities and an equal number of men and women, who come across an alien substance called fuse and unique guns that use it. Together they must stop an evil man who wants to use fuse in weapons of mass destruction. Sure there are a number of subplots and details, but none of it matters or is conveyed in a way to makes players care. The first level of the game feels more like one you’d find a quarter the way in since it throws you right into the middle of the action. Throughout the entire game, there’s little to no explanation and any exposition is done quickly with so much nonsense jargon that most players will be lost or confused about what exactly is going on with the plot. In-game dialogue is downright awful with generic lines borrowed from other works and groan-inducing attempts at humor. For example, it’s revealed early on that the leader of Overstrike, Dalton Brooks, is afraid of cats. His fellow members proceed to make dumb cat quips which become the equivalent to those Skyrim “arrow to the knee” jokes. With poor writing and storytelling comes a severe lack of characterization or empathy for any of Fuse’s cast. In fact, I sat emotionless while watching one of the Overstrike members hold someone he used to love while she was dying.

By no means is Fuse an ugly game, however its visuals and art design are nothing special. Environments are filled with various flora or architecture, yet at times I spotted the seams keeping the illusion together. During an early level taking place in a jungle forest setting, I tilted my camera upward to find that any of the grass, flowers, and shrubs was merely standing, 2D images that looked like paper flowing in the wind from that angle. Insomniac tried to provide variety by having the Overstrike team traverse the globe to locations with different environments and weather. I found the shift in scenery well-needed in Fuse, but it boiled down to typical archetypes such as a “jungle” level and a “snow mountain” level. After Uncharted 2 brought me to similar locales, Fuse’s international trip ends up feeling very much “been there, done that.”

Speaking of Uncharted, that’s a particular series Fuse appears to imitate in its gameplay, only with lackluster results. You will find yourself climbing and platforming, though unlike Uncharted, it’s almost mindless and doesn’t evoke any sense of thrill. The rest of the game comprises of shooting your way from point A to point ... (continued on next page) ----

Ernest Lin is a U.S. Editor for PSU and certified moé aficionado. Follow him on Twitter for ramblings on movies, anime, gaming, deals, and pop culture.
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  • Related game: Fuse

    Release date (US):
    May 28th, 2013
    Insomniac Games
    N/A - N/A
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