Fuse is a Co-Op Third-Person Shooter developed by Insomniac Games, published by Electronic Arts, and released on May 28, 2013 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It has the distinction of being Insomniac's first multi-platform game. Set 20 Minutes into the Future, Fuse follows the exploits of Overstrike 9, a four-man team of operatives whose routine assignment quickly turns into a weapons theft by a mercenary group called Raven, forcing them into a race around the globe to contain a weapon that could, in the wrong hands, wipe out all of civilization.
Much of the game's story and mechanics revolve around an alien substance known as Fuse, which is able to bond (or "fuse", if you will) with any element, drastically changing its properties. In gameplay, this takes the form of Xenotech Weaponry, a special primary weapon unique to each member of Overstrike 9 that they acquire early on. As per Insomniac's usual modus operanti, each weapon is varying levels of both crazy and awesome. Beyond Xenotech, the rest of the game's arsenal is limited to basic, generic weaponry.
Gameplay follows the usual third person cover-based shooter routine, but with the addition of character leveling and perk progression for each agent as well as the ability to "LEAP" between agents in the middle of combat at will as long as they aren't controlled by another player. Though intended as a co-op game, all four team members of Overstrike 9 are always present, and those not controlled by players are instead taken over by the game's AI. The quality of your AI squadmates is debatable.
Overstrike 9 consists of:
- Dalton Brooks, The Leader and resident big guy of the group. He served three tours in the Marines and spent time with Raven before being recruited by Overstrike. His weapon is the Magshield, a handheld Deflector Shield that can be used as movable cover that can also fire off concussive blasts at close-range.
- Naya Deveraux, the British assassin with daddy issues. She is equipped with the Warp Rifle, an assault rifle that "paints" targets and sucks into singularities as well as cloaking abilities.
- Jacob Kimble, a former Cowboy Cop detective for the LAPD and the squad's marksman. His weapon is the Arcshot, a long-range crossbow that shoots bolts of Fuse-augmented Mercury that melts enemies alive.
- Isabelle "Izzy" Sinclair, the squad's rebellious, redheaded Playful Hacker. She is equipped with the Shattergun, an assault rifle that encases enemies in crystal for a short time. She also fills the role of The Medic as she can deploy a Med Beacon that can revive and heal teammates.
Alongside the game's main campaign is also "Echelon", a horde mode where the player characters Hold the Line against increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Like the main campaign, Echelon is be played solo or with drop-in-drop-out multiplayer. Agent progression is, mercifully, symmetric across both modes.
This game provides examples of the following tropes:
- All There in the Manual: Most of Jacob and Izzy's backstory, along with details of Raven's operations, schematics for Xenotech weapon and the like can be found on Intel datapads during missions in the game.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Character skins and skins for Xenotech weapons can be unlocked via spending FUSE Credits.
- Anti-Hero: All members of Overstrike 9 have a dark/amoral past and they still have some moral decadence to them.
- Band of Brothers: Despite the ribbing they give each other, the members of Overstrike 9 are very loyal to each other.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: The boss fight with Ivan Sovlenko plays out as this, with Sovlenko injecting himself with Fuse and invading Overstrike 9's minds.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: On one side of the coin we have Naya Deveraux, expert assassin and Overstrike agent. On the other side we have Luther Deveraux, her father and the man that taught her everything that she knows, who just so happens to be one of the more higher ranking members of Raven. Their relationship is complicated.
- Boom, Headshot!: Headshots are an instant kill with the Arcshot and Harbinger, and deal increased damage with other weapons. Investing in the right upgrades can make other weapons kill with a single headshot.
- Boring, but Practical: All of the guns in the game that aren't Xenotech fall into this. Each agent can carry a primary weapon and a sidearm alongside their special weapon, and ammo is plentiful.
- Cliffhanger: After killing Fable in the Grigori Space Station, the team escapes in a transport ship but their ship is hit by debris, leaving them unconscious. Meanwhile, we hear Oculus and his contractor talk about the ramifications of Fable's Munich terrorist attack and the future government cover-up story, then Dalton wakes up... with yellow Fuse veins on his face.
- The Conspiracy: The Order, which Senator William Fable is working for. They plan to use Fuse to bring world peace...by threatening destruction against those who don't submit to them.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: Raven and Fable's men look exactly the same, save for different armor colors. It's not even a drastic reskin, with the former being mostly white and the latter being yellow and grey.
- Dark and Troubled Past:
- Before joining Overstrike 9, Jacob was a LAPD detective that eventually became a ruthless vigilante.
- Naya was trained to be an assassin from childhood by her father Luther, with her first kill being a retired MI6 agent that attempted to write and publish a memoir of his life in the agency.
- Defector from Decadence: Dalton used to work for Raven, until Meilin (his lover at the time) framed him of unwanted collateral damage during an assassination mission. He was demoted and subsequently quitted in anger. Even Raven felt they screwed him over when they discovered that Meilin framed him just to avoid punishment for her actions years later.
- Deflector Shields: Raven's Elite Soldiers are covered head-to-toe in blue shields and can only be damaged by Xenotech weaponry.
- Degraded Boss: The three different mech suits are first introduced as a big deal in the first three missions, but later are used many times as mini-bosses with slightly less health in the last two missions.
- Enemy Civil War: After stealing the Fuse for himself, Fable recruits half of Raven's number over to his side. In the Jodhpur Stronghold Overstrike 9 actually arrives at the start of a full-scale assault on Raven's position by Fable's men. Not that it's easy to tell.
- Evil All Along: Senator William Fable is revealed to be working with Raven at the end of the first mission.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Initially averted, while Naya and Izzy's default outfit is a baggy military pants and sweater/jacket combo, some of their unlockable outfits are very form fitting, especially Meilin Mao's catsuit.
- Future Copter: The Whistler and Maelstrom which are fast-moving VTOL-style attack craft. Oddly enough, the Whistler appears alongside the Bloodhawk, which is a just mildly futuristic helicopter with contra-rotating rotors.
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: Dalton and Jacob as the males, and Naya and Izzy as the females, in the team Overstrike 9.
- Goggles Do Nothing: Naya wears some sort of goggles, possibly night vision, but never uses them.
- I Have Many Names: One Raven datapad reveals that "Oculus" has several confirmed aliases, but his real identity is unknown.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jacob's Arcshot can pin enemies to walls.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Raven Riot Troopers, who always attack in groups and move in formation. There's also the magshield used by Dalton and the Order of Grigori riot troopers.
- Mildly Military: Overstrike 9 in a nutshell. There appears to be no formal ranks and organization to the group beyond "Dalton is the one in charge", and even then the rest of the team override his decisions at various points in the game. In most missions the team also doesn't sport any type of common uniform, with Izzy going so far as to just wear a t-shirt with a leather jacket over it in most missions.
- Ms. Fanservice: Meilin Mao due to her tight military catsuit. Her catsuit can be unlocked for both Naya and Izzy, making them this too.
- N.G.O. Superpower: Raven is a mercenary force that dialogue indicates is known to have multiple undersea bases.
- Punch-Clock Hero: Overstrike 9 is amoral to an extent (most notably Naya and Izzy, with the former joining Overstrike just to find her father and the latter just for the money) but they still have some standards and the moment the world is in danger, they go to save it... and get paid afterwards.
- Super Prototype: Overstrike 9's Xenotech weapons. As the game goes on, Raven personnel are seen using xenotech weapons of their own, but they don't even come close to matching the power of the original Hyperion prototypes.
- Take Cover!: Fuse is very much a cover-based shooter. In fact, the game offers little else.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Order plans to eliminate war and bring world peace by using Kill Sats equipped with Fuse missiles to force the world's governments to accept their rule.
- We Used to Be Friends: During his time with Raven, Dalton and Meilin Mao were dating. They were technically still dating when Raven ordered Mao to assassinate Dalton after he left the organization.
- Zerg Rush: Most large-scale firefights involves Raven throwing lots of guys at the players at once. The worst offenders are the Seekers, which are small insect-like robots that attack in swarms and can climb along the walls and ceiling.