The Leap feature allows players to take control of any AI controlled character on the fly, so long as they aren’t incapacitated. If you don’t like the job AI Jacob is doing as a sniper you can do it yourself. Simply hold the back button and tap a face button and you’re Jacob. Is AI Izzy not dropping enough med beacons? Time to Leap. Did a Leadfoot just get airdropped from a helicopter? It’s time to Leap to Naya for a stealthy approach.
Of course, this is all moot if you’re rolling with a four player squad. But now you’re probably wondering what’s going to happen to the three other characters you’re not using when your co-op session is over. When you go back to your game, is your level 20 Dalton going to be surrounded by level one losers? What happens if you join a game and somebody else has already claimed Dalton? Are you going to roll a level one Jacob in Echelon? No, you’re not. Don’t stress. Insomniac has got you covered. Your own roster of characters will level up along with your character, once again, at a slower rate.
For example, after I finished my first playthrough I had a level 27 Izzy, whereas my other three characters were hovering around level 20. I had barely used Naya, Dalton, or Jacob. I think the system works very well, and it encourages you to play as all four characters if you want to keep them equitable in abilities. I did not, so I had some catching up to do. I enjoyed playing as all four characters, but I definitely have my favorites (and not so favorites).
Once I was done with the campaign (which took me about 10 unhurried hours) I thought I was done with Fuse. I was wrong. I had dismissed Echelon as another wave-based survival mode, and while that’s exactly what it is, it’s great. The tight gameplay and Fuse weapons really come into their own in these 12 round battles across six different maps. The waves of varying enemies are incredibly challenging. You’ll want four human players with fully upgraded Fuse powers to really stand a chance. Your team will keep all XP and credits whether or not you complete the map, so don’t worry if you get dusted in round six.
Players will be rewarded with XP and credits, and unlike the campaign mode, credits are NOT shared. These credits are used to unlock and upgrade team perks as well as new character and weapons skins. This adds a little healthy competition to the mix. When you take down a tough foe or meet an objective within a set time limit greedy bastards will break from cover and try to snag the giant bags of money falling from the sky, only to be cut down by enemy fire. Now you have to heal the SOB, because you need him for the next round. And by “him” I mean “me.” Communication and playing with sharing friends is important. Don’t be like me.
As much as I enjoyed Fuse, I have a few small complaints. Character skill trees are far too similar. Each Overstrike 9 member gets 15 skills, but other than a few individualized bumps in stats for their specific weapons, most skills are exactly the same, either increasing health or damage. The standard guns are pretty lame. I only used them when I had totally run out of ammo for my Fuse weapon. Other than these two little things, it’s a very solid title.
Fuse is a great cooperative shooter. A few shortcomings keep if from being something special, but it's very nice addition to Insomniac's stellar stable of titles. It might be lacking for solo players, but co-op duos will have a lot of fun here. If you're part of a four man co-op team you need to pick this up.
For more information about the co-op features be sure to check out our Fuse Co-Op FAQ.
A copy of the Xbox 360 version of Fuse was provided for review by the publisher.
The Co-Op Experience: Engage in lethal co-op in this sqaud-based shooter. Fuse supports two player local co-op, four player online co-op, and combo co-op in both the main campaign and the wave-based Echelon mode.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.