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Strange Brigade

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 4 - 2018

They are a bit strange.

Developers Rebellion have left behind the lone wolf sniping antics of Karl Fairburne in their latest title, instead offering players a rip-roaring adventure set between the two world wars, involving a supernatural menace and a whole lot of over the top action.

sb1 (Copy)

Strange Brigade is a third-person shooter and casts the player as a member of the titular Strange Brigade, a rag tag group of mismatched adventurers that happen to not only have to save the world from a recently risen supernatural menace, but also happen to quite like collecting shiny relics. The setting has an Indiana Jones feeling about it, with ancient ruins being over run by all manner of undead meanies, while locked and hidden areas reveal shiny treasure. The set pieces are pretty cool and expansive, with each level taking around an hour to work through and find everything.

There are four main characters to choose to play as, although a fifth character was introduced when the game launched. Of the original four, which include a scientist, a factory worker, a tribeswoman and a former soldier (called Frank Fairburne, would you believe), they each bring different personalities and different skills to the table. Strange Brigade is designed as a four player co-op game, encouraging players to team up with like minded adventurers, although it is possible to play the game solo should the player choose. Playing alone will make the game that bit more difficult, and progress will be far slower, but it can certainly work.

sb2 (Copy)

Each character also comes with their own load out in the beginning, and choosing a character will initially revolve mostly around which weapon the player wants to use. From machine guns to rifles, the choice of weapon can give each character a role in the game, but weapons can be changed further down the line should the player prefer something else. There are also different types of grenades that the player will be able to use. Then there are the special abilities given by the amulets that each character carries, which charge up from the motes of energy left behind by fallen enemies, and can give a devastating attack when activated.

By exploring each of the levels thoroughly, the player will find plenty of gold that can be used to unlock new weapons outside of the levels. The gold can also be used to open special chests that contain high power weapons, such as the flame thrower, that will only last for as long as they have ammunition. These weapons are incredibly powerful and can often mean the difference between success and failure when the onslaught of enemies becomes overwhelming. Players will also find various different relics, along with special gems that can be used to upgrade weapons and make them more powerful.

Many of these special items will be hidden behind simple puzzles, as will progression from time to time. The puzzles are nothing too taxing, often relying more on finding a lever or remembering a sequence, but are a welcome distraction from the constant shooting. While there is a very clear path from the beginning to the end of each level, there are always little areas that the player can unlock and explore to find yet more goodies.

sb3 (Copy)

The story will see the player heading into Egypt to deal with the recent resurrection of the Witch Queen, Sektet. This will mean having to face down quite a variety of different undead warriors, such as mummies, and other nasties like giant scorpions. The enemies can come hard and fast, but players can use their surroundings to help fight them off along with all of their weapons. There are traps littered all over the place, usually activated by a well placed shot that will result in explosions, swirly blades and swinging logs, to name a few. These traps are great for thinning out the numbers, but timing is essential to make the most of them.

While the action is heavy, and the fate of the world is under threat, there is a certain nonchalance to Strange Brigade. The characters all have over-exaggerated personalities that come out during cut scenes and through regular gameplay. But there is also an enthusiastic narrator that jabbers on throughout the game, sounding like an announcer for those old black and white documentaries or news reports. I honestly thought that the narrator’s constant rambling would become annoying, but the humour and character that it adds to the game really became enjoyable, adding a certain campy feeling to the serious job of shooting the undead.

Levels will largely come down to shooting lots of enemies, which can get a bit repetitive, but the added light exploration and puzzle solving does take the edge off. However, this does mean that once a level has been completed, the replayability does drop. To add extra value to the game, Rebellion have added a horde mode and a score attack mode. They are reasonably fun, but the overall repetition still raises its ugly head.

sb4 (Copy)

Strange Brigade is not a complicated beast. It is a game about shooting things while trying to stay alive. Sure, there is a bit of light exploration, some puzzles and a few treasures to find. But at the end of the day, it is about finding a few friends and having fun. It is a light-hearted game that doesn’t take too much thought, and anyone looking for a co-op shooter would do well to pick up Strange Brigade and fight back the supernatural menace.




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