Strange Brigade is not what you expect from the developers behind the Sniper Elite series. As it were, this new IP from the English developer is a step in the right direction. Available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Strange Brigade is a co-operative third-person shooter that focuses on team play and taking down mythical creatures together.
Is Strange Brigade worth your time when so many AAA games are available now or releasing soon?
Strange Brigade Details
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Single Player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
A supernatural experience you wont soon forget
Set in the 1930’s, you play as the Strange Brigade, a government group out of Britain that deals with the supernatural. Dealing with the occult is no picnic and whenever something otherworldly is afoot, this team is sent to deal with it. Your team is tasked with taking down Seteki, a barbaric queen who ruled Egypt some 4000 years ago with black magic.
Edgar Harbin uncovered her burial site and thereby unleashing her spirit. The Strange Brigade is informed of this and they soon head to Egypt to deal with the undead rising all over the country. While playing, I couldn’t help but feel this game was heavily inspired by classic films such as Indiana Jones and The Mummy.
I could see their influences sprinkled throughout the game, as your team deals with curses and puzzles. The tonal shift from overly serious games these days is welcome as Strange Brigade never takes itself too seriously. Coupled with what is easily one of my most favourite things about this game, is the narrator who commentates on your adventure in such a hilariously dry way.
Whatever you’re doing in the game be it pausing the action or browsing the menu, he’ll chime in. However, my absolute favourite moment in the game came when I unintentionally left the game unpaused. As I returned to the game, I could here the narrator curiously inquiring where I’d disappeared to.
A treasure hunting we go!
Gameplay spans over a total of nine missions through several levels, which vary depending how many people are playing. They are well fleshed out and offer additional paths that often lead to treasure that help unlock more gear. Choosing one member of the Strange Brigade nets you a few weapons, auxiliary tools like grenades, and a special power unique to your character.
There are currently four members of the Strange Brigade available with a fifth member coming later. There’s Nalangu Rashida, Archimedes de Quincy, Gracie Braithwaite, and Frank Fairburne. All four of these quirky supernatural hunters’ have their own unique ability, like finding better loot or stealing health from enemies. There is a total of 16 amulets that do a variety of things and each hunter can carry four at a time.
At first, I thought picking one character would leave me stuck with their abilities and guns. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could select the weapons of the other characters too. Weapons are upgradeable and by finding coins you can unlock more items that are sprinkled throughout each level.
Terrifying traps and puzzling predicaments
Each class of weapon ranging from shotguns to rifles all have their strengths and weaknesses and including customization options. A big part of gameplay in Strange Brigade involves traps and the fact they are everywhere. Sometimes during a mission I’d inadvertently set a trap off.
This either helped mow down the never-ending number of mummies be it massive spinning blades demolishing the undead, or a wall of fire roasting everything in its path. Often enemies gang up on you. So, taking advantage of a level’s layout and herding the undead to a trap, tossing a grenade and watching the chaos unfold is certainly a highlight.
Also, puzzles play a good part in Strange Brigade. These sections split up the gunplay evenly and never overstay their welcome. I never once found myself stumped by the puzzles and use the surrounding area to solve them by sometimes hitting targets in order. In some cases, you might need to line up a series of pipes to continue.
A visually appealing experience with charm
Strange Brigade is certainly lovely to look at. There’s a certain charm the time-period has that pulls you in. The detail exudes off each character and the texture work is fantastic. This all works together to draw you in and you’re invited to explore every nook and cranny for hidden treasure.
I encountered minor framerate drops that removed me from the experience on PlayStation 4 Pro. However, it wasn’t at all game breaking but more of a nuisance when blasting away at the undead. Furthermore, the soundtrack felt lackluster and provided standard music that left next to no impression. Fortunately, the voice acting more than makes up the shortcomings the soundtrack ended up having.
Additional modes for even more fun
In addition, Strange Brigade offers a Horde Mode and Score Attack Mode. Both can be tackled solo but like the campaign, partnering up with others is where the excitement lies. Horde Mode sees you face off against waves of enemies. And, Score Attack places you within the various maps while killing enemies as fast as you can. All the while using traps and grenades to creative decimate the undead.
Rebellion released information on the contents of Strange Brigade‘s season pass. It will include new story content separated into a three-part mini-campaign. The locations include The Isle of the Dead, Sunken Kingdom, and Pyramid of Bes. New Explorers will also be available including Tessie Caldwell, Patrick “Bash” Conaghan, Anjali Khan and Hachiro Shimizu. Every character gets new clothing and amulets and weapons. Wow!
Strange Brigade is a fun and fantastic game well worth your time when played with friends
Ultimately, Strange Brigade is a wonderful game meant for co-operative play. If you were a fan of Rebellion’s earlier outings including Sniper Elite or Zombie Army Trilogy, then this game is right up your alley. While playing solo is fun, this game truly shines when you have three other people playing with you.
Taking on hordes of undead monsters with friends is a blast but the standard story and gameplay elements need some work. Luckily, with great level design, charming characters, fun puzzles to solve, this game is more fun than it should be and that’s due to it’s style and narrator.
+ The Narrator!
+ Wonderful level design
+ Good puzzles
+ Plain old fashioned fun
+ Value priced
– Standard gunplay, nothing exceptional
– Solo mode isn’t as fun as with others
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF STRANGE BRIGADE
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 3.75/5 (75%)
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