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Borderlands Meets Bulletstorm in Fuse

bulletstorm screen cap

For awhile now I’ve been keeping an eye on Fuse the newest title from Insomniac Games, makers of the Ratchet and Clank series among others. Insomniac has a history of designing games with wild and weird weapons, and Fuse is their first foray into a more realistic shooter which still captures some of wackiness that have made their games popular in the past.

Fuse was formerly called Overstrike, and was goofier in previous iteration. About halfway through development the decision was made to tone down the ridiculousness and go for a more realistic feel, and this has split gamers watching the titles development –with some rejecting the change as a bad decision.

Personally I didn’t really know how to feel. I’ve never been a massive Ratchet and Clank feel, but I’ve been following Fuse through its development and it’s always looked like a game with potential. I finally got the chance to test that potential last week when I downloaded the demo.

And it was a mixed experience.  The demo probably wasn’t the best example of gameplay, basically consisting of a short climbing experience, a firefight with some soldiers and then a second battle with a couple of large mech-like enemies. But it did give me the chance to test the central mechanic of Fuse – the unique weapons each of the four members of team Overstrike (a remnant of the previous title) possess.

It feels very Borderlands in the way that the team members operate. Each has a weapon with a unique power bundled with a couple of other normal weapons which can be swapped out as needed. Much like Borderlands, you mix up using the four powers (a sniper with detonating shots, a gun which turns enemies into crystal, a gun which causes black-hole style warping and a gun which creates a shield) with using your regular weapons for success.

Another part of this is a skill-shot like display which pops up with points and shot names (for example head shotting with the sniper awards points and a skillshot named “skewer, killing with the detonating shots awards one called “liquefy”) which has basically been cut and pasted from Bulletstorm.

Finally, there is a mechanic which allows you to freely swap between party members on the fly. The game has obviously been built for co-op, but no matter how many people you play with the four Overstrike squad members are present – and swapping between them midfight is really where this game shines, especially when changing environments or running out of ammo.

All up Fuse is looking like an odd lovechild between Borderlands and Bulletstorm, mixing the quirkiness and humour of both with a slightly more realistic setting and favouring group play a little more strongly. Whether it will be a success is anyones guess, the lack of marketing leading into its release mixed with some residual fan animosity over the name switch doesn’t bode well – but assuming the game plays just a bit better than the demo it could easily be a sleeper success.

Fuse is set to launch on the 31st of May for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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