- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Four elite agents work together to stop a terrorist organization from abusing an alien energy source in the third-person adventure Fuse (Electronic Arts and Insomniac Games, Rated Mature, reviewed for Xbox 360, $59.99).

Harnessed by this somewhat generic story, the explosive sci-fi shooter gives up to four players control of misfit stereotypes packing interesting armaments.

I’ve got to admit it folks, after the already bountiful year of shooter-style games, I’m not very enticed to embrace another round of endless firefights and stopping nefarious plans of world domination.

Still, with the development might of the guys who made the weapons for Ratchet, Clank and Nathan Hale, the game’s Fuse-inspired firepower has at least a handful of addictive possibilities.

That is if it can also capture a social segment of gamers looking to cooperatively, as well as creatively, slaughter the minions of the paramilitary Corporation Raven and rejoice at their successes

Our pointed plot explores the use of harnessing the alien-derived Fuse energy source that can combine with weapons and humans with intriguing results.

Life begins with a decision of who to control among the four members of the covert organization Overstrike 9. Each has skills to offer the team.

Take Dalton Brooks, a sarcastic, former Marine with a heavy-duty assault rifle in one hand and a Magshield in the other. That shield spouts a Fuse-infused force field that can protect his fellow agents and send out shockwaves to crush enemies. He can also position stationary shields as his skills progress.

Or, meet Jacob Kimble, a former LAPD homicide detective known for his vigilante tactics. Kimble eventually wields a crossbow called the Arcshot loaded with superheated bolts of a Fuse and mercury mix that can melt away an opponent or a group of opponents.

Next, the assassin Naya Deveraux handles a Warp Rifle that produces tiny black holes to suck the bad guys into and also has a cloaking device to sneak around locations.

Rounding out the team is Isabelle Sinclair, a technology expert and medic with the ability to set up healing beacons. She wields a Shattergun that encases enemies in a melanite crystal causing one ugly death as they shatter when her team let loose with a hail of bullets.

For the majority of missions, I stuck with Jacob. I carried a pistol, grenades and a sniper rifle (nicknamed the Harbinger). The rifle handled long-distance attacks that also complemented the Arcshot. Shooting those mercury bolts as traps to fry any nearby enemies was especially effective and as they began to liquefy, my trusty rifle relieved them of their misery.

During the majority of the action, agents blast away at enemies culled from a Halo death match or a Star Wars’ Stromtrooper parade and include flame-throwing maniacs called Elites, jet-packing troopers, cloaked killers, exoskelton-wearing brutes and Transformer-like Enforcer drones.

Don’t worry if you get tired of your initial team member choice. The game mechanics allow a player to Leap like a possessed spirit over to any other character not controlled by a real friend at any time.

Fuse also offers a generous supply of customization tied to skill trees for each warrior and perks for the group with points accumulated (for completing objectives) getting spent on the upgrades.

Story Continues →