Fuse Review: You fuse, you lose
- Posted June 8th, 2013 at 22:44 EDT by Ernest Lin
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Fuse is an exercise in mediocrity, pure and simple.
- Mildly enjoyable 4-player co-op
- Splitscreen capable
- Fun fuse-powered weapons
- Confusing, poorly-told story
- Horrible ally and enemy AI
- Annoying glitches
(continued from previous page) ...A to point B featuring the most redundant level and enemy design I can recall in recent memory. A lot of levels take place in building with the area your character traverses littered with places to take cover. In your arsenal are melee attacks and animated takedowns, which are risky and only practical during the occasional stealth opportunity. Therefore, be prepared for monotonous popping up and down from cover to pop shots at the generic enemies. Boss battles are equally forgettable for the same reason: redundancy. You earn experience from kills, completing objectives, firing support and more that levels up the one of four Overstrike agents you’re playing as. Each character then receives points to unlock buffs in his or her unique skill tree that definitely helps you in combat, though unremarkable at the same time. In addition, there are piles of gold you collect called Fuse Credits that are added to a collective total to be used for buying team perks. What’s the most irritating about that system is the unbelievably high cost of any of them. Half way through the game, my team could only afford a single team perk.
Fuse’s enemy AI is so dumbfounded that fighting enemies frequently felt like a shooting gallery. A good chunk of the time, enemies will stand around while occasionally taking cover or will run straight into your targeting reticule. The main challenge I found in combat was simply the sheer number of enemies. Ally AI is not much better and the fact that they are stupid, if not more stupid than the enemies, makes the game all the more frustrating. Co-op is key to surviving in Fuse since all it takes is one member of the Overstrike team to die to trigger a game over. When you’re regenerating health is depleted, your character is down but alive for a little longer with the ability to crawl. To get back up, an ally has to come to your side and heal you. If you aren’t able to take on Fuse with human players, the other members of the Overstrike team are controlled by horrendous AI. During combat, they will stand around while not shooting (often far away from the action), poorly prioritize who should be healed first, or simply have awful pathfinding that you’ll bleed out and die before they can come to your aid. I absolutely cannot imagine the hair-pulling frustration one would experience if he or she played Fuse alone. Running through the game with one other human player and two AI allies already became a chore for me.
That being said, if you manage to wrangle up three other friends, four-player co-op in Fuse is genuinely somewhat fun, both in the campaign and enemy wave modes. There’s a real chance to demonstrate great teamwork as you bark commands and strategies to each other. Anytime during the game, you can switch to any other Overstrike member, allowing easy access to experience the different fuse guns and special abilities. Finding network games online was a breeze as well. One of the few other positive aspects of the combat comes from the fuse-powered weapons that the Overstrike members have, with each character wielding a different one with its own abilities. They are by far the best part of the gameplay, reminding me of some of the alien weaponry in the film District 9.
Fuse also ... (continued on next page)