Meet the elite agents of Overstrike 9, the game’s principle team of protagonists: (from left to right) Jacob Kimble, Izzy Sinclair, Dalton Brooks and Naya Devereaux.
FUSE’s gameplay mechanics are quite fluid and dynamic, featuring a mix of sentimentalities and schemes found in various genres that come together to deliver a new fresh take on third-person shooters.
The introduction of Leap mode allows players to switch between any of the four agents that comprise Overstrike 9 on-the-fly, offering unprecedented tactical control in any given situation. Players can utilize different combinations of each character’s unique Xenotech weapon, offering the chance to execute unique Fuse combos that decimate even the deadliest of foes while playing online or local co-op.
With a smattering of upgradable skills, team perks, and extra abilities, players are given the chance to customize their own agents as they see fit and equip them with various upgrades and gear to fashion their perfect techno soldier.
The skill trees bring in light RPG elements to the mix and give gamers the freedom to choose which skills each agent will utilize in battle, and there are also various cosmetic outfits that further add customization–each of which are purchased with credits that are found in-game.
Naya wreaks havoc with her Warp Rifle, opening Fuse-powered singularities across enemies encased and immobilized thanks to Izzy’s Shattergun. This is just one example of the many unique tactical Fuse combinations.
The bulk of FUSE’s gameplay is comprised of third-person shooter action that culminates in various firefight skirmishes that take place across dozens of different arenas and battlegrounds. The objectives vary from time to time, and often gamers will have to use strategy to balance shoot-em-up combat while activating switches or carrying Fuse cores to power nearby consoles, adding a bit of variety to the frenetic action.
The heart of FUSE’s combat lies in with the general mechanics associated with every firefight; whether you’re fighting a small brace of Raven soldiers of a heavily armored Enforcer, the rules still apply.
The game’s third-person shooter mechanics utilize basic sentimentalities featured in every shooter: utilizing cover to in order to regain HP and reload to avoid death. FUSE’s cover system is quite dynamic and allows for surprisingly in-depth control, giving players the opportunity to completely avoid damage from enemies when used correctly. Cover can also be used to sneak up on enemies and execute them from the shadows.
The cover system is a sort of snap-on mode that is activated when players press (B), and no matter where you are, the agent will find cover and use it–they’ll even slide to cover if you’re a bit away from any.
Jacob launches a volley of Fuse-powered bolts while Izzy uses the safety of cover in order to reload her Prowler shotgun.
Cover is often improvised and varies from each level, but every level has some sort of cover, whether it’s a railing, a partition, a wall, or an obstruction like a metal crate, there will always be something to hide behind. The cover isn’t destructible and lasts forever, even after missile blasts.
FUSE isn’t like your average shooter where med-kits and stim-paks are littered throughout, and you can only take so much punishment before your die. Rather than emphasizing precision accuracy, Insomniac instead decided on making it a mix of both strategy and precision targeting skills.
If you’re a veteran of FPS games, your basic instincts are to take a few hits in order to dish out damage–but that kind of thinking will get you killed again and again in FUSE.
Instead, you must use the cover system or risk being punished for your mistakes over and over. This aspect can be frustrating at first, but you must acclimate yourself with the mechanics and learn how the game flows in order to maintain success.
The team waits behind cover to face off against Raven Corp. baddies, making use of the dynamic snap-grid cover system that’s essential for survival during combat.
The cover system affords tactical strategy for each player by giving them some safe zones, but this is balanced by somewhat overwhelming numbers of soldiers and enemies. In FUSE, being able to use strategy to outwit your foes is just as important as being a good shot–sometimes even more important, especially during boss battles.
Along with hiding behind areas, players also have other ways to evade enemies and seek the safety of cover. Rolling by tapping (A) or Sprinting (hold A) are both great ways to avoid fire and close distances on the fly, and can often save your life.
Agents will also vault across cover and other obstacles by holding forward and pressing (A), which is useful if you want to cover distances quickly.
Rolling is one of the most useful abilities that will be used quite often in battle, especially in levels with sketchy layouts, and although it is still possible to get shot while you roll, it greatly reduces your chances and allows you to maneuver to safety.
Naya rips open molecular space with her Warp Rifle, providing cover fire for Dalton and Izzy as they move forward to flank the enemy–an example of some of the strategy that can be implemented to out-think your foes.
Each character executes the tactical maneuvers the same way, and all of them will respond to the same control scheme. The cover system also allows players to follow various directions, offering a more dynamic three-dimensional control that is incredibly useful.
For example, if players are hiding behind a wall and meet an adjoining wall that forms a 90 degree angle, it is possible to switch from either wall and stay in cover in the process.
While the cover system can be a bit finicky and odd to get used to at first, once it’s mastered players are given a huge advantage. Enemies will often use cover as well, often to reload and throw grenades, but the cover system is an invaluable resource that balances out the somewhat overwhelming firefights.
All hell breaks loose when Raven sends wave after wave of elite special force mercenaries to take out Overstrike 9, culminating in a grand royale firefight.
The agents of Overstrike 9 are quite nimble and often take part in demanding acrobatic stunts: not only do they sprint and roll, but they can climb and grapple as well. Players can interact with various highlighted environment areas such as grates for ventilation shafts and scale and leap from wall to wall on command. The animations are fluidly executed and they add brief platformer-esque mechanics to gameplay.
FUSE doesn’t have a HP or shield bar to indicate health, but instead relies on a dynamic interface that pulses and reddens with blood when players are close to dying. If you do fall prey to enemy gunfire, your teammates have a small window to revive you before you bleed out–the same is true when they’re incapacitated as you have to help them or they bleed out and die.
Izzy’s Med Beacon will also automatically revive fallen comrades, alleviating the need to head into dangerous enemy fire to physically revive them by holding down (Y).
It’s important to pay attention to your teammates while in combat, as getting shot isn’t your only worry: enemies can often grapple or immobilize agents, which of course takes them out of battle. Other agents must free the bonded teammate, so it’s a must to not only be aware of your surroundings but also help out your team when they’re incompacitated.
Along with the level-up progression system, Xenotech weapons and strategic cover system, FUSE also offers a new enhanced mode that allows players to quickly switch back and forth between the four agents of Overstrike while playing singleplayer campaign. The Leap mode is accessed by holding [Back], which brings up a scheme with the four face buttons (A B X and Y) with an agent labeled for each.
Gamers can only control one agent at a time–Insomniac wanted to make a strategic shooter not a real-time strategy game–while the other three are controlled either by other players (during online co-op) or computer AI (during singleplayer). The AI is surprisingly adroit and will respond to in-game scenarios such as needing to be revived and such, and they often come to your aid in firefights.
Jacob’s Arcshot has devastating effects when charged, especially when the Fuse-powered mercury bolts score a headshot.
The weapons in FUSE provide some of the most enjoyable shoot-em-up action available and it’s very easy to see Insomniac’s previous franchises like Ratchet & Clank and Resistance bleed through with the high-tech firearms and their explosive firepower.
Each member of Overstrike 9 has their own unique Xenotech weapon and skill trees, offering different roles and countless combinations and advantages to utilize in combat. Below you can find a bio of each agent as well as their respective Xenotech weapon:
|Isabelle “Izzy” Sinclair|
- Harbinger - Standard high-power low-mag sniper rifle with 2x zoom scopes that delivers lethal headshots.
- Prowler – Close-quarters combat shotgun that does wonders against Fuse shields and heavily armored opponents.
- Daybreaker - Semi-auto rifle that shoots three rounds per trigger pull and has a zoom scope for increased accuracy.
- Savager – Full auto assault rifle with an expanded clip, but offers no scope.
- Dragonfly - SMG with a high rate of fire.
- Guardian – Single-shot pistol with a decent mag that offers impressive stopping power.
Two-Handed Weapons (attained by min-bosses)
- Behemoth – Powerful fully-auto chaingun that packs a punch but has limited ammo.
- Incinerator – Launches mortar-like explosives that eat through enemies, but it’s downfall is the limited ammunition.
Each of the weapons above can zoom in by pressing LT (except for the Prowler) and some of which–like the Daybreaker and Harbinger–offer zoom scopes for enhanced accuracy, promoting headshots.
Team up with friends or random players via Xbox LIVE or PSN to experience the full potential of FUSE’s dynamic co-operative action.
Matchmaking & Game Modes
To match players up with others on Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network the game has its own matchmaking system that searches and finds teammates. FUSE is a wholly co-operative experience, however the competitiveness is embraced through high score stat sheets and records that display the number of kills and the like for each match or mission.
There are two game modes in FUSE: a survival-esque mode called Echelon that pits gamers against increasingly difficult waves of enemies, and the Campaign mode, which tells the game’s story through a variety of levels and missions. Both the Campaign and Echelon mode are re-playable, allowing gamers to earn even more Fuse Credits and XP to level-up their skills.
Each mode can be played both offline with another player locally (or alone via singleplayer) as well as online via Xbox LIVE or PSN, and the game even lets players control the drop in/drop out multiplayer with certain restrictions.
Gamers can choose to let anyone join their game, or just let friends join–or even play alone in Offline mode, all of which are welcomed exceptions that give gamers even more freedom over their gaming experience.
Never underestimate Raven soldiers–every firefight could be your last.
Insomniac has crafted a multitude of enemies that progress in difficulty the farther you get in the game, whether you’re playing Echelon or Campaign. Raven Corp. soldiers start off as your basic faceless henchmen baddies in techsuits, but they soon get upgrades like jetpacks, cloaking mechanisms, Fuse shields and powerful sniper rifles that make them much more dangerous.
You’ll also face a fair share of heavily armored robotic enemies–these are quite dastardly and often push your strategic skills to their limit. While the robots aren’t necessarily hard, they take more endurance and have much more HP, giving players boss battles that are enjoyable and challenging.
The bizarre and highly entertaining boss battle against Sovlenko is one of the most memorable moments featured in the game.
The mechanical baddies range from the tough as nails Enforcers to lower-class robots–but make no mistake, their near endless barrage of firepower can be lethal.
FUSE also features a variety of boss battles that punctuate most campaign missions. Throughout the game you’ll face memorable enemies like Ivan Sovlenko, the psychotic Russian who literally injects untested Fuse into his bloodstream and creates a crazy mirage battle wherein Overstrike 9 faces a towering behemoth version of the mad Sovlenko.
Gamers will also face the ruthless Meilin Mao, one of Raven’s captains who had a history with Dalton–and eventually Naya’s father, Luther.
Dalton stares down an Enforcer, one of the more lethal mini-boss automated Raven Corp. drones that can take (and dish out) a lot of punishment.
The combat never seems to get old as there’s always some new experimental method to try out: whether its a new gun or a new combination of Fuse skills or upgrades, every firefight is enjoyable and enthralling.
Insomniac truly has captured the magic of third-person shooter action and has blended it exceedingly well with a variety of RPG and tactical strategy mechanics to deliver the next evolution of shooter.
Both campaign and Echelon modes are entirely replayable any number of times, and players can re-play any previously beaten mission at any time. In a sense, the game offers a pre-game interface wherein gamers can select certain variables associated with their mode of play–which is standard for most shooters rather than having to start the campaign from the very beginning.