Fusion: Genesis is a top-down, twin-stick sci-fi shooter meets old-school role-playing game. It's developed by a handful of ex-Rare designers, one of which was the lead designer for Perfect Dark.
It sounds like an interesting concept. And the concept, and central game mechanic is interesting. But is it interesting enough to merit a purchase?
Brian Ashcraft, who spent the week playing the game and joined four factions: Fusion: Genesis starts out with a bang. There's a wise-cracking professor, shouting orders at you. Stuff's blowing up, you're trying to figure out what the hell's going on, how to manage your ship, and then, the game settles in, like sand in the bottom of the ocean.
You fly around, go on main story missions, and go on side-missions, such as escort missions or missions to blow stuff up. Controlling some of the ships was difficult, like moving a puck on ice. As a twin-stick shooter, it didn't quite scratch my shooter itch. Neither did the role-playing game element. Neither were exceptional.
The sticking point became that the game's art style looks so vanilla. It's stuff I feel like I've seen before -- on iPhone games, even. Nothing really stood out, nothing popped.There were characters and spaceships that seemed to have been recycled from elsewhere.
That became symptomatic of Fusion: Genesis. The title itself seems pedestrian, which is really the problem here. Even while writing this Gut Check, I keep having to check if the title is Fusion: Genesis or Genesis: Fusion. Ditto for all the missions, side and main, I did nothing really stood out. This is a 40-hour-plus game, but I didn't experience anything that made me want to stick it out for the full 40 plus.
Fusion: Genesis is going up against a slew of big titles this season -- all the more reason to stand out and do something dramatic. I really, really want to cheer for the little guy. The basic mechanic here, shooters-plus-RPG, is interesting. The packaging, unfortunately, leaves so much more to be desired. I do look forward to this studio's next game. There is 40 plus hours for 800 Microsoft Points here, which is a good deal on paper. I, however, cannot recommend its debut title. No.
Luke Plunkett, who should have liked this game, but didn't: I love space. I love games about flying through space. But I didn't love Fusion: Genesis. It starts with the name. Fusion: Genesis. God it's forgettable. It goes in one ear and out the other. And that's how much of the rest of the game went for me. I appreciate that it's trying to do surprisingly complex things for an XBLA game, and the fact it's almost an MMO is commendable for the scale of the platform, but it was all just so boring. Boring designs, boring writing, and topping it all off, woeful attempts at humour that for me just grated.
Great idea, and points for trying, but for me, it's a No.
Evan Narcisse, who watched the game in action at this year's New York Comic-Con: For me, every twin-stick shooter has to tickle the same neurons that Robotron 2084 did way back when I was in single digits. The omnidirectional threat of encroaching enemies also needs to co-exist with enough space for you to maneuever, both mentally and in the game. Fusion: Genesis doesn't seem to strike that balance. The screen seemed super-cluttered when I saw it and the action appeared to be diluted by the strategic elements in co-op and busywork you'd have to manage to level up. There wasn't enough there to hook me at first blush and I think that'd be true for most people who spent time with it. No.
Gut Check is an off-the-cuff impression of what we think of a game: what we'd tell a friend; how we'd respond on Twitter or Facebook or over a beer if someone asked us "Would you buy this game?" Our lead writer, who has played a lot of the game, decides. Other writers chime in for additional points of view.