Insomniac Games' first multi-platform effort is all about the unique weaponry. This might not be surprising when you consider they were behind the popular Resistance and Ratchet & Clank titles on the PlayStation, but it's still unexpected when you realise just how much your gameplay style changes depending on which character's gun you are wielding. This is because each weapon comes powered with a newly found alien substance called Fuse, which grants special powers to the holder, such as the ability to create mini-black holes with your shots. Groovy.
To add a bit of backstory, a team of specialists called Overstrike-9 has been sent to a scientific laboratory to investigate why they've suddenly gone dark. Upon arrival, the four-member squad learns that the lab has been under attack because of the Fuse substance that they've discovered, and that there is a rogue paramilitary group called Raven that is intent on getting their hands on it. Overstrike-9 then finds weapons that have been combined with Fuse to give them special abilities, equips them and away they go.
There are four playable characters to choose from, with each possessing a different Fuse weapon to rip enemies apart with. We took control of Naya, the assassin of the group, who can create black holes to swallow her enemies up by shooting at them enough times. This is also useful for clearing out a room faster by taking out multiple bad guys at any one time. The other characters include Dalton, Jacob and Izzy, who each have their own special Fuse weapon. Dalton can create a large shield for teammates to take cover behind, Jacob has a crossbow which fires powerful bolts that explode, while Izzy can crystallise enemies before shattering them into a thousand tiny pieces.
Don't get too carried away though, as a player can only activate the special Fuse ability of their weapon when they have enough Fuse points. Earning points is done by killing enemies, but bonuses can be gained by working together. For example, players will gain more points for killing enemies when taking cover behind Dalton's shield than they would trying to do it alone. This encourages the team to work together, and the points that you gain can also be used to unlock a range of abilities in a character's skill tree.
While these weapons may offer the team unique ways to attack, they don't make the members of Overstrike-9 any less susceptible to being hurt. Players will find themselves taking cover a lot and communicating with each other to make sure that they heal up and formulate a clear strategy going forward. Missions are failed when anyone in the team is killed so it's imperative to revive one another when the time calls for it. It's simple stuff but it really makes you feel like this is a cooperative game and not just a chance for players to show off with crazy weaponry.
Boss battles will also play a big part. We were greeted by a giant mech at the end of the mission, which was equipped with powerful rockets that packed a punch. Firing one or two shots at a time didn't do much, so we had to work as a team to discover a better way to take it out. Taking it in turns to throw grenades and using the Fuse powers of the guns seemed to do the trick. After a couple of failed attempts we managed to pull it off and finish the level, leading to sighs of relief all around.
It's obvious the main focus of Fuse is playing as a team, and as a result the process of going it alone may slightly detract from the experience. Players who decide to go solo will be able to switch between characters at any time to get a good taste of what each one has to offer. The guys at Insomniac also promise that the storyline will be a significant part of the game, offering many twists and turns along the way to keep players hooked throughout. We're very interested to see more of Fuse in the future.