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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Fuse.

TranscriptEdit

Hey Valve, you know I love you guys, love you a lot more if you released a fucking game now and then, but you've got a lot to answer for for starting the whole four player co-op shooter thing, one of the current models of choice for the money-powered emotionless robots who have intergrated into human society as game producers. I know four is the maximum number of people who can play split-screen at once, but it's a troublesome number to have to work with. As they say, two's company, three's a crowd, four's awkward to get through a narrow doorway.

Well, like it or not, four-player co-op shooter's a genre, and where there's "genre", there's "generic," which brings me to Fuse, a game that was called Overstrike when it was first announced, but was apparently renamed in some excruciating rehauling process when I guess it wasn't turning out as mind-blowingly innovative as that title would have implied. Must take a lot of determination to coincide a game with not one, but two spirited attempts at the Guiness World Record for "Most Generic Title for a Shooter in the History of the Universe." If only they could channel that into the actual game!

Still it comes to us from Insomniac Games and their previous shooter Resistance 3 managed to reach the dizzy heights of basically okay so OverFuse had some big- well, slightly more than sensibly proportioned shoes to fill.

We are introduced to Overstrike, a team of four mercenaries on diverse ends of the gender/racial spectrum who are all jaded ex-something or other veterans despite none of them being older than thirty. They're helicoptered into a classified government research facility to recover classified weapons tech - *yawns* Sorry Fuse, you're not boring me, I was just up late last night, please continue with your crap story.

Well, the weapons tech gets stolen by an evil (all together now) private military corporation with seemingly limitless funding, resources and personnel who all wear full body armor all the time including face-covering helmets you'd think by rights they wouldn't be able to see out of. Our heroes must overcome their jaded cynicism and cynical jadedness to do the right thing and save the world from the evil PMC before they can make up their bloody mind whether they're gonna sell the stolen technology to the highest bidder or just blow up the world with it. You know what, Fuse, I take it back. You are boring me!

Perhaps it was a good idea to not name the game after the main characters, and, indeed, to employ box-art that literally cuts off the main characters' heads so that the focus can be on the guns. The reason why I suggested thinking twice before you pledge yourself to four-player co-op is that if you do that, you need to come up with enough personality traits to go around four characters and Fuse by my estimate only has enough for one character and maybe also a dog.

  • There's a cartoonishly big white dude who used to work for the evil PMC. He's about as well-rounded as it gets and I'm not talking about his upper arms! *weak laughter*
  • Then there's Girl Character A who harbors daddy issues like a paddling pool harbors an ocean liner and, despite deliberately estranging herself from her father, now has no motivation in life other than finding him again so that he can finally take her to Disney World or something.
  • Then there's Girl Character B who explains her entire character at one point with the three words "I hate people" but never says or does anything that might express such feeling. She shoots a lot of people but then who doesn't?
  • And finally Black Man, who's just happy to be here.

When these four powder-keg personalities rub together on the battlefield, the result is the kind of explosive chemistry matched only by a big piece of wood in a pond!

There's something slightly surreal about playing a game single-player when it's obviously designed for co-op. It's like getting through an average day with your wallet, phone and keys tied around the necks of three dogs who hang back and stare at you gormlessly while you clear out the room at which point they all run over to the door to the next room, waggling their tails in anticipation of walkies. Although one way the single-player gets spiced up a but is that you can switch between the four characters Clive Barker's Jericho style. Urgh, I just thought about Clive Barker's Jericho! Thanks a lot, Fuse!

It's not a winning feature 'cos I ended up using the same character the whole way through anyway and the few interesting aspects of combat depended on characters working in conjunction. For example, many rooms suggest stealth-killing as many guards as you can before resorting to all-out firefight like it's taped a slice of processed ham to its chest and said "Feel our many different textures". But to do that to any significant degree, you need to be able to take out more than one guy simultaneously because they're all looking at each other and in single-player, the three AI partners just sit around the entrance of the room sniffing at each other's butts.

The other thing that makes me think of Clive Barker is that thing I said earlier, besides being stuck with the old Hobson's choice of which twat-blast to possess next, is that every character has a different magic gun with different effects. Desperate Dan has a magic shield and everyone else has guns that make people die if you keep pointing them correctly. Well, maybe I'd be less dismissive of them if the rest of the game wasn't so bloody boring!

It's one of those games that can't think of any way to curve the difficulty up as it goes except to just keep increasing the number of enemies. Eight hours in, I was only on mission five 'cos every mission was tortuously stretched out into room after room after room of inexhaustible supplies of dudes with way too much health who just keep spawning and spawning and talking in run-on sentences. The environments stop making sense. One mission allegedly takes place in someone's safe house but the place resembles a fucking space emperor's villa! Ah, the only manmade structure visible from the moon, that would make a good hiding place.

Playing Fuse is like having a conversation with a really thick person. "Alright Fuse, what have you got for me?" "Cover-based shooting!" "Yeah, that's pretty evident, what else have you got?" "...I don't get you." "Well, cover-based shooting is more of a connecting element than a central one. What do you have besides cover-based shooting?" "...You could stand up." "If I stood up, would I get shot?" "Yes."

I could just as easily be describing the enemy AI there actually. There's one bit where there's two different factions of enemy soldiers fighting each other and their firefights were the most retarded spectacle in the history of warfare. There are about half a dozen buggers on each team standing on opposite sides of the room surrounded by cover but all standing upright perfectly still and firing incessantly at each other's faces and because they all had so much health and their bullets were so piss weak, this went on for minutes until one bloke thought to lob a grenade like an elderly man playing bowls on a lawn.

"What should we do to counteract the shit AI, guys?" "I know! Let's spawn twice as many of the fuckers, that'll sort it out!" Spawning more dudes doesn't solve anything, Fuse, except maybe an unsatisfactory sex life!

AddendaEdit

Infused with vodka: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

So it turns out entering 'fuse box' in Google Image search doesn't get you very far

I suppose it was the enemy who were 'overstriking' if anyone was

ScreenshotsEdit

Zero Punctuation - 301 - Fuse 1

You know what, Fuse, I take it back. You are boring me!

Zero Punctuation - 301 - Fuse 2

Urgh, I just thought about Clive Barker's Jericho! Thanks a lot, Fuse!

Zero Punctuation - 301 - Fuse 3

The most retarded spectacle in the history of warfare.

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time · Middle-earth: Shadow of War · The Evil Within 2 · Super Mario Odyssey · Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus · Assassin's Creed Origins · Sonic Forces · Star Wars Battlefront II

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