At E3 2011 EA announced a game called ‘OverStrike’ – since then it dropped off the radar a little, until now. The game has been renamed and at a recent EA press event, Insomniac Games’ president and CEO, Ted Price, got us back on track with all we need to know about ‘Fuse’.
The secret government facility, Hyperian Base, has gone ‘dark’; no communications have been received from them in a while, so the government have called in some unconventional assistance to clear things up. This comes in the form of a team of four mercenaries named ‘Overstrike 9’. The team have been recruited by an unknown member of the government who doesn’t wish other branches to know of the base’s existence, and wants accountability removed from him.
The team get to the base and find a whole host of strange devices and experiments strewed around; someone has beaten the team there and ransacked what they found. The base is researching an ‘aggressive, violent and highly unstable’ alien substance called Fuse, recovered by the US government from a crash site in the 1940s, and has been finding out just what it can do when combined with other terrestrial elements. Fuse creates very different outcomes depending on which element it is combined with, but they are almost all lethal. Very early on you will find various experimental weapons that the base’s scientists have created, which will be your weapons of choice throughout the game.
But who do we shoot these at?
A rogue paramilitary group named Raven also know of the existence of Fuse and its uses, and they are the ones responsible for the invasion of the base. Raven’s mission is to find the source of the Fuse, which is located at the heart of Hyperian, and it’s Overstrike 9’s job to get there first… which they do. Dalton instructs Izzy to destroy the source but she chose to reveal it instead. Raven catch up to the team and a stand-off is created between the two. Raven steals the source and Overstrike 9, now with Fuse weapons, have to get it back, chasing Raven across the globe in many different situations and locations.
And just who makes up the team – Overstrike 9?
Dalton Brooks: former Raven mercenary who is ‘physically and psychologically the tank of the group – he solves most of his issues through brute force.’ Mei Lin Mao, leader of the Raven troops is one of Dalton’s former commanders and the previous relationship between these two characters is explored.
Each character in the game has a main Fuse weapon and for Dalton it’s the Magshield. This weapon is a result of combining Fuse with ferrofluid, which also sounds made up but is in fact a real thing, just ask Anthony! The shield can be used in the standard way to protect from incoming attacks, but it also does much more. It can be used as portable cover, allowing the team to shoot through it at any enemy targets. Dalton can also use the magshield as a weapon by releasing the build up of kinetic energy in the form of a blast which dismembers enemies.
Izzy Sinclair: Jailed due to selling secrets in her former job as an intelligence broker, Izzy, like the others has a ‘fairly shaded background’. Her main weapon is the shattergun and this is a combination of Fuse and black melonite. The weapon coats enemies in a substance which crystallises them and, when fired from cover, lifts them up making them easier targets for your teammates. The gun can also fire beacons that produce a ring of healing that any of the team can use, which is good because if any member of the team dies, everyone goes down.
Jacob’s weapon is the Arc Shot, a form of crossbow, and this is combination of Fuse and mercury. The super-heated bolts fired from the weapon can be used from range, making Kimble the team’s sniper. The bolts can also be used as traps which will release the heated mercury, liquefying any enemies.
Naya Deveraux: used to be part of a team of assassins run by her father, Luther, until he switched sides and joined Raven. The relationship between Naya and her father are examined throughout the game.
Naya uses the Warp Rifle, a combination of Fuse and anti-matter which can create singularities – coating several enemies in the mixture can cause a chain of reactions to occur. The gun also provides a cloaking system, allowing Naya to creep up on enemies and remove them at close range.
Is it going to be any good?
Fuse is certainly not a ground-breaking new IP, but the co-op element of it does make it a little different to other similar games on the market. The game can be played by up to four players, however if there are less of you then you can jump, or hot swap, into any AI controlled character at any point. This means that if, for example, you are playing alone and spot that another team member has a better vantage point you can jump into them and take out the enemy. The leap system also allows you to play as different characters without having to restart the game from the beginning, or lose any progress you have made. If you customise a character and then jump to another one, the previous character will stay as you left it.
With the progression system of the game, you can customise each character by levelling up the different categories in their own personal skill tree. If you were playing alone, you could create a team customised to your needs and game play style.
Fuse is definitely a team-based game, and even the weapons lend themselves to this. You can earn more kill points if you work together – for example Izzy shooting through Dalton’s shield and Jacob then shattering the crystallised enemies.
The question that jumps to mind however is: how well will this work if you are playing alone with AI as back up? This living-room has witnessed several flying controllers due to AI based fail rage – will it be seeing more?
The game is due out in March 2013 and so there’s still lots more of it to be seen, including the other game-mode that has yet to be announced. Though in a game with multiple characters it’s a safe bet to assume that will be a form of multiplayer.
Fuse certainly has the makings of a good co-op game, that’s slightly different from the rest; however, there is still lots left to see. Guess you’ll have to keep it GameJar for future updates!