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A new, alien material has been discovered and analysed for decades in an attempt to harness its limitless potential to create weapons of mass destruction. If you've just experienced Déjà Vu after reading that sentence, don't worry, Fuse isn't a remake or a re-release; it's just a rather generic sounding premise for the upcoming 3rd person shooter by Insomniac Games.

fuse explode

This research has predictably led to the development of powerful 'Xenoweapons' using the games titular substance, which has resulted in private military companies stealing the extraterrestrial anomaly in an attempt to further discover its potential and gain global dominance.

Tasked with stopping such a suitably predictable sounding plot from unfolding, the four playable characters on offer carry these Xenoweapons, which all have their own unique abilities, setting each of them apart. Insomniac have clearly developed Fuse with a co-op audience in mind, and in doing so have clearly taken notice of Gearbox Software's wildly successful Borderlands series, as the two games certainly share more than just fleeting similarities.

Each of the four playable characters on offer not only have their own unique ability in the form of an alien powered weapon, but skill trees offer each character progressive buffs such as increased health or damage buffs as they level up.

These unique abilities vary in tactical potential, with my personal favourite being Dalton Brook's 'Magshield', which can provide mobile cover for you and your teammates whilst also being capable of emitting a powerful shockwave that can literally emulsify enemies.

fuse shield

Whilst all of the characters seem to complement each other in combat, there doesn't appear to be any real incentive to protect or heal each other, as fire-fights quickly descend into poorly choreographed arena battles which sadly don't seem to require any tactics outside of using your most powerful on-hand weapon.

Fuse also features a scoring system not dissimilar to People Can Fly's excellent Bulletstorm, which rewards you with experience depending on how enemies are killed. Whilst this may sound like a great feature in a cooperative orientated game, there simply doesn't appear to be a great deal of variety in the ways enemies can be dispatched. Though there could very well be greater opportunities for this to expand in later levels.

The levels on offer in the demo take place in what appears to be a mercenary controlled power plant, with each having a static objective. Both stages on offer appeared to be rather linear with little incentive or reason to explore the surrounding areas, save for rather lazily implemented experience canisters dotted around the immediate area. Again, later levels may be markedly more open in their presentation, I'm just hoping Insomniac are saving the potentially less linear levels for the games' full release later this month.

fuse team

The graphical quality of the levels on offer was certainly nothing to be in awe of, but they were admittedly pretty, with biting winds billowing across the complex, causing tarpaulins to ripple in the blizzard conditions providing some nice atmospherics.

The game is undoubtedly more entertaining when played in co-op, and with four people added to the mix, the potential for combined ability kills certainly shows promise. Aside from character-specific weapons, standard firearms also offer some suitably punchy sound effects, almost recalling the kind of Sci-Fi noises you would find in the space opera world of Mass Effect.

The game can also be played solo, giving you the ability to switch on-the-fly between each of the four soldiers, which is a nice touch for the antisocial among you, but most of the fun you are likely to have with Fuse is going to come from co-op play.

Insomniac probably aren't going to break any new ground with Fuse, and there certainly isn't anything here that you haven't already seen before, but the studio is definitely on track to release a competent shooter with the potential to be a fun co-op experience with some proven RPG mechanics.

JoeP | 16th May, 2013

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