Playing with the lethal blend of Fuse's powerful weapons

Fuse, Insomniac Games' upcoming cooperative shooter, mixes up gameplay with not just an intriguing set of bizarre weapons, but character-based gadgets and the ability to leap between characters on the fly.

Earlier this week, Insomniac Games founder Ted Price showed off the game, highlighting the four character's secondary abilities and leaping.

After playing through a small section of the game's campaign, we moved to the Echelon multiplayer mode. In Echelon, players need to survive 12 waves of enemies. Each wave includes one of six objectives. The objectives and the way the enemies approach a level will be randomized when the game comes out, Price said.

Playing with one other person in the mode, left two of the game's characters controlled by AI. It also meant that I was able to test out leaping. Pressing the back button pops up a small window that shows you which characters are AI controlled and what button to press to switch to them. A tap of the button pinches your view of the world for a split-second and then reorients you to the third-person view of the new character you're playing.

While you can't use the ability when the character you're controlling is down and waiting to be revived, it does come in handy when you want to attack an objective or enemy with a certain set of weapons.

The key to enjoying and mastering the game is understanding the weapons and abilities of the game's four characters. All of those weapons and abilities are powered by something called Fuse energy. While the energy replenishes, you still need to be a little methodical with how often you use the tech.

Dalton Brooks is the game's tank. His weapon can project a massive moving shield out in front of he and teammates and shoot out a short-range energy pulse that liquifies nearby enemies. His special ability allows him to drop one of these shields on the ground as cover for teammates.

Naya Deveraux uses a gun that can coat people in a liquid that eventually forms a singularity that will suck up an enemy and cause nearby damage. Coating multiple enemies without killing them can cause chain effect damage. She also has the ability to cloak.

Jacob Kimble uses a crossbow that shoots bolts that spew out a corrosive liquid. When you hit an enemy with a bolt they burst into flame. You can also fire bolts into walls, ceilings, the ground, really anything, and then tap a shoulder button to explode them, turning the bolts into acid-spewing traps that ignite and kill nearby enemies.

Izzy Sinclair uses a weapon that crystalizes enemies. Once she takes an enemy down to about half their health with this weapon they turn into tree-like crystalline structures that can be killed with a shattering shot. The crystallization process also raises enemies up out of cover, and when fully upgraded, creates a wave of damage when an enemy is destroyed. I found her secondary ability to be the most useful among the bunch. She can drop or toss healing crystals on the ground that create a bubble-shaped healing aura. Not only can you heal injured players with this ability, you can revive fallen friends as well.

All of these special weapons can also augment one another. Firing through Brooks' shield with a weapon, for instance, gives both players bonus points. Enemies coated with Deveraux's gun can be set on fire and exploded with Kimble's bolts.

The ability to mash-up these powers and weapons ends up creating a much more complex approach to boss-battle take-downs and surviving the randomized 12-round Echelon mode.

Fuse, set for a release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, hits this spring. No firm release date has been announced.

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