If we were asked to name three things Insomniac has brought to the world of videogames our reply would be something like this – purple talking dragons, wise-cracking robot sidekicks and over the top weaponry.
Fuse features just one of these things, and you can probably guess which.
Stupidly powerful sci-fi weapons are the whole premise for this third-person shooter, in fact. Scientists have managed to reverse engineer alien technology to create an arsenal of prototype weapons with a very destructive nature. After a break-in at the testing facility they end up falling into the wrong hands – an organisation known as Raven. Specialist squad for hire Overstrike 9 – a nod to Fuse’s original name – are then called in to prevent them being used for terrorist attacks, but not until each squad member snaffles an alien weapon of their own on the sly.
From start to finish you’re joined by three AI-controlled teammates, each of which has their own unique plaything. The chisel-jawed Dalton carries a translucent screen-filling shield, while Jacob favours a crossbow that fires what only can be described as molten rods. Neat little touches are frequent – every crossbow bolt has the chance of a ‘critical strike’ that’ll pin enemies to walls, while if you look closely you can see enemies’ bullets lodged into Dalton’s shield.
Izzy and Naya are the females of the team – a hacker and assassin respectively. Izzy carries the very nifty ‘shattergun’ which produces a black crystal-like substance that smothers enemies and occasionally those nearby too. This leaves us with Naya, who comes clutching a rifle that can produce a vortex. The downside of this weapon is that it drains fuse (read: ammo) in a flash. The usual array of sniper rifles, SMGs and shotguns make up the rest of arsenal, and if you fancy getting up close and personal there are both melee and stealth attacks. Performing either of these triggers a snappy (quite literally, in some cases) little slow-mo animation.
Every kill bags XP and by combining attacks additional XP can be gained – using the crossbow on enemies covered in crystals has a very explosive effect in particular. AI teammates earn XP as well, although seemingly at a slower rate than yourself. After rising up the ranks new secondary skills open up for each character, including Izzy’s very handy medical beacon that heals anybody in close proximity.