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How Fuse's unique weapon-set and tactical co-op play could revitalise the shooter genre

7 May 2013

Insomniac Games’ upcoming third-person shooter could set a new benchmark for co-op-based shooters. While some games in the genre feature familiar run and gun gameplay, shallow mechanics and an arsenal of weapons that we’ve seen a million times before, Fuse is all about teamwork, choosing the right agent for the job and then dispatching enemies with some unique Fuse-powered artillery.

Fuse has gone through a lot of changes since its announcement in 2011 when it was originally called Overstrike, but finally it all seems to be coming together ahead of its playable demo (released today) and launch later this month; and, in line with the company’s ethos to create over-the-top weapon-sets, plots and characters, it looks like we won’t be disappointed.

Four mercenaries work together to control a powerful alien technology

“Every IP we’ve built, be it Ratchet & Clank or Resistance, has gone through major changes. The ones we went through with Fuse were very public, but they were driven by our desire to have the sort of weapons we know players demand of Insomniac titles.” explained Insomniac CEO Ted Price at a press event last year.

The good news is that those changes should be extremely beneficial to players as Insomniac has great pedigree when it comes to weapon creation. The Ratchet & Clank series was full of wonderful and wacky gadgets, such as the Groovitron Glove which shot out a disco ball that caused enemies to dance uncontrollably, or the Sheepinator which turned enemies into cute, fluffy livestock. Though we don’t expect weapons to be as zany, the presence of alien technology in Fuse has obviously helped to get Insomniac’s creative juices flowing once again.

Among the weapons already revealed are the likes of a crossbow dubbed the Arcshot, which sets enemies on fire, and the MagShield, which protects players and also builds up kinetic energy allowing you to liquefy enemies. We can expect a wide variety of weapon types and unique takes on traditional weapons in the final build, and Insomniac promises they’ll be many different enemy types that will require players to approach combat tactically, though players will be given the freedom to experiment and approach battles in a variety of different ways.

Fuse isn’t just about the unique range of weapons; a heavy focus on co-operative play also makes it stand out from the crowd. Four players can team up as one of four class-based agents and players can switch in between them on-the-fly if playing solo.

“[Fuse] is not a shooter that has co-op; it’s a co-op shooter,” said Insomniac brand development director Ryan Schneider to GamesBeat. “Our designers are adamant that they think this is the best four-player co-op game on the market.”

The four characters have unique skills and strengths and players will need to think tactically in each battle in order to make the most out of their individual weapon-sets. There’s Dalton Brooks (The Tank) who isn’t afraid of running straight into the battle using brute force to destroy enemies. Jacob Kimble (Sniper) who prefers keeping his distance and using the Arcshot to fry the bad guys, Naya Deveraux (Assault) who uses his Warp Rifle to tag enemies and set off a chain of black holes that suck in enemies. And Izzy Sinclair (Healer) who can crystalise enemies with her Shattergun and send out crystalised beacons to heal teammates.

With variation also comes depth thanks to a progression system, skill tress, upgradeable firearms and specific Fuse skills for each character. Consequently, gameplay is set up nicely to encourage players to utilise the strengths of those classes, combine weapons and effectively switch between characters (if not playing co-op with friends). It’s the combination of all of these things, as well as lure of a unique weapon set, that could make Fuse one of 2013's best shooter. Hopefully, it will live up to its concept.

The demo for Fuse is available for download on May 7 with the full game available to buy on May 29, 2013.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of the game, check out the Fuse competition.

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