Strange Brigade Review
Rebllion is know for creating some over the top gaming mechanics – trust us, there is nothing more satisfying then a headshot in the Sniper Elite series – but has often opted to create serious missions with unique gameplay elements. Enter Strange Brigade, with lots of over the top mechanics; however, the realism of World Wars has been replaced with the craziness of treasure hunting, complete with undead, scarabs, and much more. Can Rebellion swap out serious story telling for an over the top, unbelievable adventure? Let’s take a look!
In Strange Brigade – playable solo or with up to three other friends – players will choose one of 4 protagonists to tackle each and every scenario. Wayfinder Nalangu Rushida, Engineer Gracie Braithwaite, Scholar Archimedes de Quincey, and Soldier Frank Fairburne all have unique characteristics and abilities but will function much the same in regular combat, which means it doesn’t matter which character you choose; that being said, there are odd moments in the game – and moments you cannot plan for – where only certain characters can advance down a certain path in the game. In a 4 player cooperative game, this isn’t an issue, but when playing solo, it is a major oversight; the ability to swap characters at specific points during a scenario would have been a great addition.
The 4 characters stories are told through videos that feel like they were created decades ago. The unique story telling happens between each mission, and is enjoyable although not necessarily noteworthy. The game begins at an Egyptian archeological dig site, where a specific archeologist has gone missing. It’s up to the Strange Brigade to investigate his disappearance, and unravel a larger mystery.
It’s when you play with friends that Strange Brigade really shines. Puzzles become more difficult and require different solutions, and more enemies will populate the map, but the over-the-top experience Rebellion has created was obviously meant to be enjoyed with friends in a cooperative setting. The single player mode, while fun, really does need that social interaction to squeeze out every ounce of the experience. Although cooperative, their is a competitive aspect to the game as well, perhaps not necessarily deisgned by the developers, but still one I found none-the-less.
Which of me and my friends would take down the most enemies, who would use traps the best, and who would be the first to open the elusive treasure chests sprinkled around the world? These are what made the game cooperative, yet competitive.
It’s the traps that are the most fun to work with, whether in solo mode or with friends. Dotted across the games beautiful landscapes are small bronze like bulbs, that when shot, unleash a type of trap that could ensnare friend and foe alike. Trust me, it’s a lot of fun to unleash a trap on a friend. I’ve been there, tried it, and enjoyed it! The traps do highlight one of the bigger issues with the game, however: aiming your weapons.
Auto-locking onto nearby targets is definitely a thing in Strange Brigade – as it is in most shooters – but attempting to hit these orbs was much harder than anticipated. There were even moments where a shot SHOULD have activated a trap, but for whatever reason, did not. This frustration was not frequent enough to really derail the gameplay and progression, but when it did happen, I was either lying in a pool of my own blood, or scrambling to avoid a large horde with my last ounces of strength.
Boss battles are equally as frustrating, and at times completely underwhelming. Again, it wasn’t something that really affected the majority of my gameplay, but is worth noting for those hoping for more from their end of scenarios challenges! That being said, the great shooting mechanics throughout the adventure are really satisfying, especially the over-the-top audio, gun noises, and enemy grunts. It’s all top notch, and lots of love was put into creating an immersive experience.
Ultimately, however, is that Strange Brigade is an over the top, better than average cooperative shooter. Alone, things do get a bit lonely, so we definitely recommend you playing this with friends! Will you be grabbing Strange Brigade?