With FUSE, the highly anticipated co-op shooter from Insomniac Games, only days away from its public release we were granted a demo that became available through the PSN and XBLA stores and with my excitement growing for the game, decided to dive into this game to see what could set it apart of recent shooters and co-op games of recent months. The demo starts with our four heroes: Izzy, Naya, Dalton, and Jacob who are investigating an enemy camp area in the hopes of finding Naya’s father. Immediately the demo makes players go through a quick Uncharted like platforming sequence that actually feels pretty fluid. Once this short intro section is done players come across an area where enemies have made a stronghold out of in order to keep Naya’s father for themselves and the rest of the demo boils down to clearing rooms and rooms of enemies in a fun and addicting co-op game game. The big feature for FUSE is that even with four playable characters and the fact that you have to choose one, FUSE allows players to switch to any of the agents(unless a co-op partner is in control of them) at anytime that they want during gameplay and thankfully the switch called a “leap” is always seamless. The controls for FUSE feel on par with most third person shooters in the market today and even though the sprint and take cover buttons are different, I never found myself wishing for a better control scheme.
This is good because the firefights in FUSe are no cakewalks and one bad move can cost you to get downed and possible cause your other teammates to suffer the same fate trying t revive you, this is a game where teamwork is very important and lone wolfing it will not suffice. Each agent in FUSE has his her own special Xenotech weapon and for the three times that I played the demo solo and co-op, I always favored all of the characters for their different skills sets and weapons. For anyone who is familiar with most skill tree based games will feel right at home with FUSE’s take on having a skill tree system that focuses more on team aiding skills rather than teammates feeding off of each other out of convenience of another player due to “selfish” skills. Naya, who can also turn invisible for a short period of time, has her Warp rifle that does exactly what you would think it does, shoot an enemy with it enough a they will be sucked into a wormhole, but if other enemies are near the explosion they will be mildly affected by the blast radius and if you shoot them as well they will all be sucked into a combining wormhole. My other favorite gun is Dalton’s Magshield that basically makes him a walking tank who can blast away enemies with his Magshield as well. Other character’s weapons such as Izzy’s Shattergun that freezes enemies and lets her or her teammates shatter them and Jacob’s Archshot which shoots explosive shots.
Getting kills via Xenotech weapons, headshots, or through the aid of other character’s Xenotech abilities will always yield more XP. Strangely enough I could never play favorites with the characters and found myself switching during gameplay alot which for those of you without friends and have to play this game solo this game will be a unique treat since you won’t have that “alone” feeling while playing this game. Co-op is drop in, drop out friendly making co-op a typical stress free thing to deal with but during my playthrough of the demo I noticed that FUSE does not utilize the now recently mandatory mechanic of each player getting his or her own loot on his or her screen. This means that if you see a gun that you want and your co-op partner takes it then your just SOL, even though I got used to this since the other guns in the game do pop up frequently some players may be put off by this.
My only other complaint with the demo that I hope gets fixed by the time the full game gets released to the public is some of the audio sounds off in FUSE demo. While the game sounds great for 99% of the time, there is a nagging 1% that sounds really basic and off. This 1% comes from the thuds and smaller sound effects such as walking, hitting the ground and things like that and the best way that I can describe the way they sound is as if you were watching a gameplay video for a game on Youtube at 144p quality. Also even when I was using my gaming headset while playing and messing with the audio settings, dialogue during shootouts gets muffled during the skirmishes which is disappointing because the dialogue is funny and charming in classic Insomniac Games fashion. Even with these few minor faults that can hopefully be fixed before its launch or with a patch, FUSE is shaping up to be the co-op game that I was hoping it would be. With its unique weapons, interesting cast, and strong co-op mechanics, FUSE is definitely setting itself up to be one of the best co-op games of the year.