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Insomniac Games
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Release Date:
May 28, 2013

I distinctly remember Ted Price lauding the single-player campaign in Fuse . He said Insomniac’s new third-person, four-player co-op title is plenty of fun to play solo, primarily due to top-notch ally AI, a decent story and plenty of environmental diversity. As it turns out, I believe he was partly correct. The game can be fun to play alone but above all else, it really is designed to be played with friends. This would be okay if the multiplayer was spectacular but unfortunately, even the co-op gameplay seems to be only slightly better. The result is a relatively quality game without much ‘oomph’ behind it.

Price wasn’t exaggerating when he referred to the imaginative, highly creative atmosphere. The changing environments is a highlight, as one minute you’re in this intimidating, futuristic industrial setting and the next, you’re riding a gondola as it winds its way through hills and forests. The only downside is that despite the variety, too many of the areas seem a tad bland. They just don’t pop off the screen, you know? On the flip side, Insomniac did a good job designing levels that work well with the cover-and-shoot gameplay mechanic. The character modeling is good but not great, but the special effects are awfully special, especially in regards to the heavier-hitting weapons that often steal the limelight.

The game’s audio can be classified right alongside the character models and indeed, the entire game— good but not great. There’s a pretty kick-ass soundtrack that really increases the adrenaline flow and overall attitude of the presentation. That score could even be more insistent than it is, though. The voices are well-performed and like the visual effects, the sound effects can be excellent. Your speakers will appreciate the depth and clarity of each intense blast and crash, and you will appreciate what it adds to the overarching experience. Technically, the graphics and sound make for a solid, occasionally impressive, presentation.

Four mercenaries band together to take down a serious threat. If this sounds a little clichéd and stereotypical, you’re not far off. While Insomniac definitely infuses Fuse with the team’s patented humor and flair, the generic nature of the story and pacing tends to dominate. The narrative is predictable and uninteresting and I wish more would’ve been done with each character. As each member of the team is quite distinctive, I would’ve expected more in-depth looks at their respective pasts. But hey, that’s not what you do in Hollywood-type action blockbusters.

The majority of your time is spent taking cover and shooting plenty of bad guys. You will have the option to flank your enemies from time to time, and the control is undoubtedly precise and reliable. These days, the third-person shooter setup is a tried-and-true mechanic (as opposed to a few generations ago, when it was still clunky and frustrating). The camera isn’t perfect but it usually adapts quickly to any given situation, and you’ll never feel as if the control hinders your progress. If you die, you died ‘cuz you messed up, which is the way all games should be. Just don’t expect to move too quickly when out in the open.

As I said, the game just feels too generic and cookie-cutter, although Insomniac desperately tries to avoid that trap by doing what they do. And what do they do? They give you the awesomest weapons you could possibly imagine, genuinely comical humor and a second-to-none atmosphere. In truth – and I don’t want this to be ignored – this game does boast Insomnaic’s aforementioned calling cards. It all just feels somewhat underwhelming due to the inherent generic nature of the production. It’s almost like watching a really talented filmmaker trying to implement higher-quality elements into a brainless action flick.