Strange Brigade is a great action adventure game that brings something new to the playing field while leaving other things out.
In the past few years, I have become kind of bored with horde games. We have seen games like Metal Gear Survive and State of Decay trying to keep this “game style” alive, but ultimately, somewhat, fail to do so. Games like Dying Light, Call of Duty, and Gears of War have done a good job keeping the mode relative, However, I never get a ton of fulfillment with these titles.
While at E3 2018, I had the opportunity to play the unforeseen game called Strange Brigade. At the time of the appointment, I had no knowledge of this game or what Rebellion had in store for me. After playing the demo, I felt truly fulfilled for the first time in years! Not only did this game offer what I had been looking in a horde style game, but it also provided a timeframe and art design that has been passed over for years as per the 1930’s!
The overall presentation of the game from beginning to end made me smile from ear to ear. The narrator of the game, Glen McCready, did a spectacular job making the player feel like they were part of a 1930’s adventure series. Not only did he provided tips and tricks, he also provided hilarious banter that gave shout-outs to games and movies like Metal Gear, Call of Duty, Indiana Jones, and more.
To be honest, I expected the graphics and art style to be a bit lackluster and was surprised to find the in-game visuals at a much higher quality than expected. From what I saw, the overall art style and visual aspect really made me feel like I was on an action-packed adventure with other treasure hunters.
During my playthrough, it was hard not to just walk around and take all the scenery in. Even though the game did not have ultra-realistic graphics, the backdrops and scenery were amazing. Para-shooting into a cavern with a hidden city inside, finding an undiscovered part of Egypt, or looting a crashed pirate ship filled with gold really put the cherry on top of my experience with this game.
The level design is something Rebellion should really be proud of as well. From large spread out levels in the story mode to the same levels fully restructured for the Horde Mode, the game never made me feel like the levels were getting repetitive.
One thing that really stood out to me in the levels was the environmental traps. These traps ranged from spiral blades, exploding barrels, underground spike traps, and more. Not only did this come in handy fighting off the undead hordes, it was also something hilarious to use when playing online with friends. There is nothing like accidentally activating a trap with your buddy standing right on top of it. Yes, they died, but damn was it funny!
The Story Mode was better than expected, the transition from cut scene to gameplay was a great concept that really showed the games true potential and a perfect fit for its theme. We have seen games in the past with a “story mode” and it turns out to be the horde mode with extra cutscenes. That is not the case with Strange Brigade, as said before, the levels are sprawling and the story is full of mystery and adventure. Although it can be a bit corny at times I did enjoy the build-up to taking on the evil Seteki.
The game's story is playable in offline mode and 2 to 4 player co-op. I will say, although the story is playable with just one character, it is a bit easier and more enjoyable playing with others than alone. I also wish there was the addition of couch co-op, I understand that Rebellion has never much of a couch co-op game studio but I really feel this game could benefit from that addition.
The four characters, Archimedes de Quincey, Nalangu Rushida, Frank Fairburne, Gracie Braithwaite are all have similarities but also have differentiating factors. With each character comes special abilities that only they can perform. As you find relics in the game, more abilities will become available to you.
The gunplay was tight and precise with a large variation of weapons. There is also a magic gun box, like in Call of Duty, that lets you pay a small fee and get weapons that do massive damage. The only complaint I had about the gunplay was the missing hip fire. I do understand that this is a third person game, but there were a lot of times I found myself cornered by the horde and not able to shoot where I wanted because of the shooting restrictions.
The Horde Mode was exactly what it says it is, but the thing that made this mode and the game really interesting was the enemies you had to face off against. The variety of monsters you faced were zombies, mummies, giant scorpions, Seteki Champions, Ghouls, Skeletons, and more! This added a dynamic to the game that a lot of other titles do not have.
The Score Attack mode is something I did not play too much, this mode is pretty much an arcade mode to challenge friends and see who can get the highest score. Although the addition of a third mode for the game is great, it didn’t really interest me as much as the others.
Overall, I would say I enjoyed my time with Strange Brigade. With more character and content coming after launch, I will defiantly be playing this game for many months to come. I do hope to see hip fire added to the game in the long run but would really like the addition of couch co-op. Strange Brigade is a fun, over the top co-op shooter that is great to play with friends but manageable without. I have to say this is for sure my dark horse game of 2018! We are giving Strange Brigade a 4.5 out of 5!