Time to Light the FUSE: Insomniac’s ‘Overstrike’ Game Revealed
OXCGN’s Hands-on look
by Arthur Kotsopoulos
©2012 Arthur Kotsopoulos
FUSE, formerly known as Overstrike, has come a long way since its inception and with its unique take on co-op gameplay and weapon enhancements, it looks at making a name for itself to clearly stand out from the crowd.
If a single player campaign isn’t what you’re interested in, FUSE has an in-depth cooperative mode that is heavily dependent on teamwork that can make or break your success.
While it may resemble the likes of other cover-based third person shooter Gears of War, it is anything but.
The basic premise of the game is that it’s set in the near future and follows Overstrike 9, a team made up of 4 various individuals each with their own unique weapon and back story.
They are the last hope of stopping ‘Raven’ a rogue paramilitary organisation attempting to steal ‘Fuse’ which is an alien substance and plays a heavy role in this game.
The level on show was more for players to practice with the game’s various functions and character abilities.
What was instantly identifiable was the fact that players who ignored cover and rampaged through enemies would get taken out with ease.
With many team based games that feature a single player component players usually select one character, stick to that character, level them up and never really get to appreciate any other perspective.
Take a LEAP
In FUSE there’s a feature that allows you to jump to any available squad member at any given moment (like that last gen title Brute Force) and start to use their abilities depending on the mission. This feature is entitled LEAP.
All the player must do is press and hold the back button which will bring up a menu, and from here a player presses the corresponding button to instantly leap to the selected squad member.
The Overstrike 9 team available to you, consists of:
- Dalton Brooks – Equipped with a Magshield pistol (Fuse combined with ferrofluid) which brings up an energy shield capable of blocking enemy fire. After absorbing enemy fire players can then shoot a blast that will tear any unprotected soldier in front of Dalton to bits. Dalton can also remotely deploy a single shield on the battlefield.
- Naya Deveraux – This character is the stealth character with the ability to cloak and move around the battlefield silently. However she also holds a Warp Rifle (Fuse combined with anti-matter) which when fired at an enemy creates a mini black hole with an area effect. Fire at multiple enemies enough time and you’ll have a cluster going off at once.
- Isabelle Sinclair – Holds a Shatter Gun (Fuse combined with black melanite) this much like the Warp Gun when fired at an enemy will crystallize them and then when shooting them again they will burst into millions of little pieces. Her ability allows you to throw a grenade on the floor that create an area where players will be healed.
- Jacob Kimble – Carries the Arcshot (Fuse combined with liquid mercury) which much like the weapon from F.E.A.R. can be upgraded to kill an enemy with one shot and it pins them to what ever surface is behind them. These can also be upgraded to create an area effect and harm surrounding enemies.
If you don’t work to a character’s advantage then you’ll most likely end up on the floor waiting for a teammate to revive you.
Do take note of your surroundings as cover will be your best ally. Holding A to sprint will automatically vault you over objects and pressing B will snap you to your nearest knee-high slab of concrete.
There are still a few bits and pieces that need to be polished with this mechanic, as I found when vaulting over a ledge my character wouldn’t fall down when I pressed the corresponding button. It does however work much better than many other cover based shooters.
As you progress in the game you’ll collect Fuse points which will convert to skill points and that will then allow you to upgrade your character. Upgrading weapons and characters will carry over across all game modes, so there won’t be any struggle to pick which character you wish to stick with to level up.
Much like Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, FUSE also includes a Fuse meter where once a player has filled up the bar he or she can activate it and will be given unlimited Fuse for a short period of time. They will not receive any damage and can use the abilities and Fuse weapons as much as they want to inflict maximum damage.
Seeing enemies become large crystal and then crushed under the might of a dozen mini-black holes is a sight to behold. Coupled with some brutal audio each weapon packs a punch and makes a bang.
Echelon is essentially Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer mode, where players battle it out over various maps for a certain number of rounds either eliminating a wave of enemies or protecting a certain object of interest.
Whilst this mode has been done to death, what essentially holds it together is the heavy amount of teamwork involved to defeat mini-bosses and big bosses.
Each character’s unique weapons attributes will play a huge part in ensuring that you make it all the way to the end.
I was assigned the role of Naya and the only thing I could think of was how awesome it would be to create a few black holes and watch soldiers get sucked into them. In the first round I managed to sprint to the selected area, shoot enemy after enemy and as I watched in awe as 5 mini-black holes emerged creating a cluster of devastation.
It’s moments like these where the FUSE seems to shine; when players are using the guns the way they were meant to be used.
Whilst I do see ‘Echelon’ as just another carbon copy in the plethora of wave based modes in games before it, the teamwork involved is what I feel sets this apart from other games. It definitely gives off the sense that FUSE was built with the heavy focus of cooperative play in mind.
Stand together or die together
It will be the selling point for FUSE. The multiplayer/co-op aspect will either win gamers or lose them, and in Q1 (early 2013) when the market will be flooded with plenty of single player game campaigns, FUSE will get gamers together.
The gamers who love to have a laugh with their friends will love this one.
I’m glad Insomniac took the time to re-brand and reboot the game because previously I had little to no interest in its art style or direction.
Now I’m hooked and can’t wait.
Coming up soon: OXCGN’s FUSE interview, adding even more details, including why a title change was necessary.