If you saw that game title above and thought “I’ve never heard of that” then you’re forgiven, as neither had I – or so I thought. Cast your mind back to May 2010 when Insomniac – the studio behind Sony exclusives Resistance and Ratchet & Clank – went multi-platform. Just over a year later Overstrike was revealed by the company and EA at E3, then everything went silent. Fuse is that game, and it has received a considerable overhaul to go along with that new title since that first trailer was shown to the world.
CEO of Insomniac Games, Ted Price, welcomed us into their section discussed the story of Fuse’s Oversrike team (they haven’t dropped the name entirely). Four different characters still take the focus of the game but they are less the comedy group they were last year, and a much grittier quartet have now been rolled out. First up was Dalton Brooks, filling the role of the tank in the squad. He also has a history as part of the enemy faction “Raven” in this game. Next up was Liz, the medic of the group with her ability to fire out healing beacons, followed by ex-LAPD cop Jacob, a man that prefers to dish out justice his own way. Lastly was Naya, again having ties to Raven though her father. All the backstories will be explored through the game, giving a more in-depth look to each individual’s history, including – hopefully – how they develop working in this slightly dysfunctional group.
Now, let’s talk about why this game is now called Fuse. Well, Fuse is an alien substance with some quite amazing properties, and it just so happens that the American government have been able to weaponise it with the help of the scientific group, Hyperion. Each character receives a unique weapon or skills early on in the game that uses Fuse, such as the Magshield for Dalton. He can use this as portable cover, both for himself and teammates, letting this shield absorb enemy fire and then reflect these back at them. Using the Shattergun Izzy can crystallise enemies in order to make them easier targets for the team, and it can also spread to other enemies in a chain. Meanwhile Jacob can use the Arcshot to shoot bolts that enemies using Fuse and liquid Mercury or created traps spewing this substance, finally Naya has the Warp rifle to create singularities pulling enemies together, alongside the ability to cloak in order sneak up and flank enemies.
In the demo we got to play as a full group of four people, saw the team going through a Hyperion facility to get to the source of Fuse before the agents of Raven do. Going hands-on allowed us to see just how each of the abilities/weapons can be used to tackle certain situations. Having to navigate some deadly security beams while sentry turrets kept you at bay can be easily managed by the Shattergun being used to immobilise the turrets and then shimmy across a ledge to the other side of the lasers to access the controls for the room, thus allowing your team to progress. What you may ask is what do you do when you don’t have three friends playing along? Luckily the LEAP system allows you to switch between the different characters at will employing their unique skills, this can be done when playing with anything less than four people.
As the group made their way into the building and were starting to crack the door to progress forward, a group of Raven operatives had breached the outer wall and were flooding in. During this onslaught we demonstrated the ways in which “lethal teamwork” is rewarded, such actions as using the Magshield to cover the team as they shoot through and kill enemies earns additional Fuse points that will allow upgrades to your characters. Upgrades will come in the form of three core skill trees that allow you build up your character to a particular play style. Demonstrated on the day was how you can either make Dalton more of a tank character by building up his shield and survival, or opt more for ranged combat through upgrades to his Burst rifle weapon with scopes, etc. A fourth tree focused on a special ability known as Fusion, which essentially added a massive boosts to all players when it’s triggered, allowing for extra damage with Fuse weapons and revive downed squad members automatically. Progression will be available unified across the campaign mode and another which they haven’t confirmed yet.
Fuse has come a long way since it’s former life as slightly light-hearted co-op shooter, replaced by a rough and ready style. It might not be to most peoples taste, particularly seeing another military type action shooter, but hopefully the story and histories to all these characters will help build a deep game. One thing I personally love is having the chance to delve into a deep the backstory.
We’ll see a lot more of Fuse ahead of the release date currently set for sometime in March 2013.