One of the more annoying aspects of gaming journalism is that of the writer’s tendency towards sensationalism. Games are often either terrible, or amongst the greatest ever to be developed, and that just isn’t how it can work. Many games are mediocre, or have aspects which are amazing or terrible, mechanics which may be implemented well, but are an awful idea, or feel ill-fitting in the game, but in another title would be a great addition.
Fuse isn’t really an example of any of these varied possibilities. It is a four-player, third-person shooter with a heavy bias towards co-op play, but you can still play it single-player if you hate the rest of the species. And, hey, who could blame you? It’s good enough, in its own way, and a solid example of the genre, but it isn’t particularly memorable. I enjoyed it, to an extent, I felt it was the right length, the enemies were balanced and each of the playable characters were different enough to make it worth alternating between them for certain periods of the game, which is the main mechanic of the game, if I am being perfectly honest. At least, I hope that is what the developers had in mind because there really aren’t any others I can remember.
What did annoy me slightly was that each of the characters are supposed to fulfil a certain role, but every other character can perform the same things. I don’t mean, say, the abilities they receive from their skill tree, or their Fuse weaponry, they are different enough. But the characters don’t really seem so necessary. Izzy is the hacker, but everyone can hack terminals and keypads. Naya is the stealth operative, but anyone can just shoot down anything she would have to sneak past anyway. It feels as though they have attempted to make a game where swapping characters is paramount, but they could have opened up far more possibilities for gameplay had they given each character another, un-combat related, ability. If Dalton could use his shield to make his way through environmental hazards, if Naya could climb walls where no one else could, Izzy could hack and Kimble… well, no one really cares about Kimble.
And no, that isn’t racist; he’s just a dull, dull character who happens to own a badass crossbow.
The game was good enough. The graphics were good, the gameplay was solid, if a little stale at this point, and with other players it became quite enjoyable, for a time. The narrative was forgettable, something about a new kind of nuke or something; I wasn’t really paying that much attention. The environments shift between a snowy mountain, an underwater facility and a lush jungle setting, and the final mission takes place in space so, you know, there’s that. I feel as though they could have made space more interesting than it was, the gravity only failing at one point and, even then, they just switched on their ‘mag-boots’, which enabled them to stick to the floor, but also to climb and roll as they would on earth, which was a little odd.
I’d recommend giving Fuse a try, even if only once, because it is such a solid example of the genre. I’m still kind of hesitant to use the word ‘good’, but I enjoyed my first playthrough. I can’t see it inspiring a hardcore following like such series’ as Gears, Elder Scrolls or CoD, but it does set itself up for a sequel, in a way I found almost offensive in its blatancy. It seems as though the writers decided that we would be attached to these characters so quickly, and should think of them as Humanity’s Last Hope against the, I don’t know, the Order of the Illuminati or whoever were the actual antagonists, when in actual fact they are just four over-paid mercenaries with attitude.
And, as usual, saying a character has ‘tude isn’t really a compliment.