Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Fuse (solo)

I know that Insomniac's official feed is only going to be retweeting the positive responses they're getting to the Fuse demo, but I am pretty stunned that it's getting such enthusiastic feedback. It's not a disasterous demo by any standard - it has some flaws but is clearly non-final work - but it's not done anything to assuage my fears that the final game, post-OverStrike, is anything more than a solid 7/10 shooter.

The game's level design and UI reminded me a lot of Vanquish which put me a bit on the back foot - I was spending a lot less time in cover than I probably should have been and ended up being put down quite regularly. There was always an AI companion nearby to pick me up in short order, but I would have liked to have some control over their actions, Mass Effect-style during the general gameplay. It didn't feel like a coherent experience; they didn't seem to try to follow my lead and their targeting priorities were... questionable.

That's almost certainly solved by using human co-op partners - or maybe actually using the LEAP option to move between characters - but playing solo was a frustrating experience. Another Vanquish-led expectation was the enemy strength - while Platinum's hyperactive cover shooter swarms you with enemies, the majority of them are easily dispatched with a headshot or two so I rarely felt overwhelmed. By comparison Fuse's bad guys are veritable bullet sponges, which only added to my trouble when peeking out of cover.

Add to that a surprisingly large number of high-level enemies (for an intro/demo level, at least), snipers and oversized robots, and I wasn't having a whole lot of fun. I felt on the back foot for the majority of the play time, swamped and alone - not a reassuring sensation in a game where you have three companions who should be helping out.

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