Fuse at its core has set out to be an intensely fun and satisfying 4-player cooperative shooter, which can still be enjoyable as a single player game. The panel I was able to listen in on Saturday offered a ton of info about the philosophy behind the game, its features, and where it has come from since its original announcement as Overstrike. They also had a demo set up for us to watch that was being played from a 360, below is all the info.
- The core idea and driving force behind what Insomniac wanted to accomplish with this game is an intense, fun, and rewarding 4-player cooperative action shooter that also holds up to the crowd who wants to play through it solo.
- During co-op, each player controls their own character from the squad, and each character has their own unique “xeno-tech” weaponry, as well as their own unique skill trees to fill out as the player sees fit. The weapons all function very differently, from one that creates a shield wall in front of the player to an almost crossbow like weapon that can liquefy enemies. Each character also gets an alternate attack, which can be used with any weapon in hand.
- If playing solo, the player can freely switch between squad members -through a mechanic Insomniac is calling “Leap”- to have the full suite of abilities and characters available to them. Whichever character the player is controlling will end up receiving more experience points from bonuses (like combining attack with the bot teammates) but the characters controlled by bots will still receive experience so that if a player decides to stick with one character for a while, they aren’t penalized and forced to start from scratch late in the game with another character.
- Each character has 35 levels that can be achieved, and it was mentioned that if a player wants to max out all the characters it will require more than one play through. It was intentional choice by the design team; since the characters all play so uniquely and approach situations so differently they wanted to promote more than on play.
- The xeno-tech weapons for each player function very uniquely, lending even more to the sense of individualism between the player characters, and it was mentioned that there are over 60 different ways to combine the effects of each player’s xeno-tech for some crazy effects.
- The xeno-tech weapons aren’t the only weapons characters can use; standard fire arms and explosives like pistols, assault rifles and grenades can be taken from the world and used by the players.
- Each character plays very differently and can be further differentiated by how each individual upgrades their skills and load-outs, and use their arsenal in combination with the other characters.
- There are stealth takedowns, and even though one of the characters can be focused around stealth (with skills like cloaking) all of the characters can perform these takedowns, so players aren’t stuck watching their friend who likes to play the stealth character clear out a candid stealth section. That being said there are always multiple ways to approach combat situations, where each player can actually feel like they are pulling their weight in each and every firefight. It goes without saying that teamwork and coordination with teammates will offer a ton of different ways to approach situations.
- Although the mission that was played in the demo was quite dark (it took place in an underwater research facility), the screen shots they showed before and afterwards offered a vibrant, eye-catching color palette which is a welcome change in comparison to the overflow of drab, dull color palates that have been so abundant lately.
- There were multiple enemy archetypes present, each offering a different type of style with their attacks. Enemies from snipers that stay back and try to pick the players off, to the intimidating Lead Foot, that was a soldier encased in a large mech.
- Each player is able to enter a “Fusion” mode. This is achieved simply by using your xeno-tech weapon effectively. A bar similar but separate from the experience bar will fill up gradually as a player uses their xeno-tech weapon, and once it is filled the player will be able to enter fusion mode which makes your character; invulnerable, will revive you if downed without help from another player, and make you a beast by doing things like super charging your xeno-tech weapon’s effect.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw during the panel, especially since the passion about their new IP and ideas from the members of the Insomniac team was impossible to miss. They really set out to create a game that stuck to their core ideas and weren’t afraid to make changes -the transition from Overstrike to Fuse- to accomplish that goal. Keep your eyes open and your co-op buddies on speed dial for when this one drops, which will be May 28th for PS3 and Xbox 360.