Fuser Review-GameSpot

I have never really become a musician. When I was in junior high school, I had a trumpet. I took a guitar lesson in high school. But I never devoted myself enough to the technology and dropped both after a few years. Making music just for fun was a vision I left long ago. So I’m amazed at how inspired Harmonics’ new music mashup creation game, Fuser. It has a score-based story mode similar to past games in the studio, but the fuser actually allows you to be creative and make music from some of the songs you may already know. The core mechanism of switching tracks to make music is easy to use and perfect for playing. However, the game Harmonix, built on that core idea, doesn’t always make good use of it. As a result, fusers are better at being creative than challenging. It may sound like a daunting niche experience, but no game feels good about creativity.

Fuser rides the disappearing line between music games and music production toolkits.As a mashup DJ, blend to create music (or Fusing) Combine parts of the song to create your own new, often dancy version. In addition to each of the 80+ songs in the base game library, the ever-growing supplementary library of DLC songs is divided into four color-coded instrumental tracks that you can switch on and change songs on the fly. .. Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” drums, Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” guitar, TI’s “Bring’Em Out” trumpet, Sean Paul’s “Temperature” You can play the lyrics. And they are all put together in one new sample. Your set is an evolving compilation of combinations.

The music used spans decades and genres, far beyond what you would expect from a DJ game at a music festival. The track list covers pop, rock, country, dance, hip-hop, R & B and Latin / Caribbean music from the 1960s to 2020. Like rock bands, there’s nostalgia that captivates you, but you’ll soon grow new and surprisingly deep relationships with certain tracks that may never have been before. I started to enjoy songs that I knew but didn’t like very much, and I didn’t get close to my favorite songs, but it didn’t suit my favorite song. Anyone who knows Guitar Hero or Rock Band has a favorite song that they know by playing those games. The same thing happens here.

The basic act of switching music and making your own music is magical. By default, the fuser automatically changes the key and tempo of the selected song, usually doing whatever it takes to create the most melodic version of the track. By tracking beats using a segmented timeline, the game shows the best time to swap components for a particular song. This will maximize the impact of your changes (you can earn more points in some modes). If you want to navigate the basic mechanics and change samples in time, there is no mistake. Almost all combinations sound pretty good, even if you randomly pick four different parts of four songs from four different genres. You rarely need to take your fingers off to create an original and pleasing sound. And do you make what you like for the first time? It’s like catching a lightning bolt in a bottle.

However, this is just the foundation. Once you understand when and how to switch, there are many other ways to change the sound of your mix. You can use sound-altering effects to modify tracks, create custom synths to use to create bespoke samples, and adjust the tempo and keys of your mix. The entire story mode, which takes about 7 hours to complete, is a huge gamed tutorial that teaches you how to incorporate all these tools into your music. And the more advanced skills you use, the more your work becomes music, rather than one of the many combinations you choose to build your game.

That’s a lot. Even with instructions and step-by-step walkthroughs to help you understand how to use them, at some point the system needs to be understood from an intuitive gaming mechanic to use it effectively. Cross the line to functionality. Starting with swapping different sections of the song, it quickly expands to key changes, manual tempo settings, adding effects that change the sound of the track, and creating your own synth loops. If you have bugs and want to use Fuser creatively, develop a good foundation from your campaign and experiment to see how they can be incorporated into your personal creative process. Even with a good understanding of the rules, certain features, such as drum kits, that allow you to create your own samples and effects, require navigating and accessing menus, which can be time consuming and interfere with the music you’ve already created. Will be. It’s considered a game, not a music production software, so if you just want to play, set aside most of these options.

In a story where you have to use all the tools, the pressure can be a little overwhelming. As an up-and-coming DJ at the Fuser Music Festival, promoters will teach you how to improve your DJ skills. Drop tracks at the best possible time and follow those commands quickly, like Rock Band or Dance Central, to earn points for a starred rank. To earn a five-star rating, you also need to be aware of the demands of the crowd for a particular genre, a particular era song, or a particular track. We are constantly transitioning from track changes to adding effects to the preparation of a “riser” that smoothly changes multiple tracks. It’s an effective teacher, a test of fire, and you internalize what you’ve learned on the spot. However, the demands of these mechanisms create complexity that undermines the creative aspects of mixing, the most interesting part of the experience.

Sample songs available for fuser.

Story mode is the preamble, but there is no good place to use these skills in the indicated way. There is a competitive multiplayer “battle” mode. This mode requires you to put together a set of tracks that are most pleasing to the crowd based on changes in standards, but like the final stages of story mode, it’s too busy and spoils the side of a pleasing fuser.

Undoubtedly, the best and worst part of the fuser is that it works best when you leave it to your device. Freestyle mode, with all settings available, has no real goal, but it’s the place where you can enjoy the most free and frequent game features that enable your creative mind. Once you’ve made what you want to keep, you can record your mix. This converts it to a music video with a bumper that lists all the songs used by the fuser. To really enjoy the fuser, creativity must be its own reward, as there are no mountains to climb or quantifiable indicators to overcome other than earning 5 stars at the story level.

To really enjoy the fuser, creativity must be its own reward.

However, it is not completely unsuitable. Fusers sow and fuel the long-term creative community. Harmonix’s “Social” section will host weekly contests where players create theme-based mixes. I create a contest that only uses songs from the 1990s and 2020s and submit it to the fuser community. Players can vote in a limited amount of time, and the player with the most votes (top 50th and 25th percentiles, respectively) will win new in-game items.

Creating a mix and sharing it with the community for prizes or just because you want to share it feels like the heart and soul of a fuser. Sharing the mix and listening to what other players have created will create give-and-takes that will keep you trying new things and make you want to make your own music. Even after looking at just a handful of mixes, it’s clear that there’s already a lot of really cool stuff.

All aspects of fuser are focused on customization and reflecting yourself as the creator in the game. Whatever mode you use, you can change the look of your character, customize colors and special effects on stage, and compile up to 24 “crates” to create a mix. .. It is practical to limit the selection of songs. You can’t quickly find a single song if you can choose from the entire library, but you also need to think strategically and develop your personal style.


At the same time, focusing on creation and sharing is a problem for fusers. The current turmoil in the game streaming community over the use of licensed music has led Harmonix to take certain precautions that undermine Fuser’s viability as a creative source. Xbox can only record clips and screenshots of mixes created in freestyle and social modes. Still, you can’t publish directly to social networks from the console. It’s not impossible because you can upload the video to your OneDrive or USB drive and post it yourself from another device. You can bypass all this security with an external capture device, but getting the mix is ​​not easy. To a larger audience. These precautions make sense in the light of the recent wave of copyright notices sent to streamers, but Fuser’s ability to foster a lasting community and become a viable music production platform. Kneel down.

Despite these limitations, I still think everyone should try the fuser. Even people like me, who have given up learning musical instruments and making music as a creative pursuit, can rekindle a bit of the creative sparks they once had. The core mechanism of switching discs and creating new composites from other songs is fascinating and exciting. Even if you play a campaign and lose the desire to write your own songs without chasing the score, the simple joy of putting your favorite songs together in your own songs is unique and completely appealing in the game.

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