One of the better known developers out there, Rebellion have made a name for themselves within the gaming industry with the World War II based series, Sniper Elite, and the rather fun Zombie Army Trilogy. Games that are just as fun solo as they are with a co-op partner, and provide some great moments to be remembered. Now, Strange Brigade has reaches our shores, set in the 1930’s, and featuring a team of Would-be treasure hunters facing off against the undead as they hunt down all that glitters. Pre-release material suggested a jolly good game experience, and now we know if it has delivered, as yours truly has had time to get to grips with the Strange Brigade.
One of the most interesting additions to a game has to be that of a narrator. Personally, I’ve neither come across this before nor heard of it ever being implemented. A unique idea, and one that could well become stale after hearing it enough times, but Rebellion have made it a fun and quirky addition, all adding to the 1930’s era with the mannerisms of an absolute bounder. Cheeky remarks if you idle, or even pause the game add to the sense of fun as you venture forth in search of gold coins and treasure that isn’t so much in plain sight, but rather hidden behind puzzle doors and in books and crannies everywhere.
One point to note, is that Strange Brigade isn’t just a about the story driven portion of the game, but about teaming up with friends to flesh out the experience. It’s a huge part to focus on and it’s where the game really comes into its own. Rebellion know how to make a game that focuses on cooperative play, as their previous games attest to, and Strange Brigade is no different. But that’s not all, as aside from joining a friend or three in search of goodies, you get to play Horde mode together on a selection of maps doing what you do best. Thwarting the undead to survive and collect copious amounts of loot in the process. I’m a sucker for a good old fashioned Horde mode, and Strange Brigade has one of the best I’ve played. Weapons chests are available to purchase new guns to aid you in your quest for survival, along with more expensive ones for some superior firepower, although these have limited ammo useage. You also have access to grenades that run on a cooldown timer, and various traps to stop the enemies in their tracks, along with a talisman that once fully charged allows you to unleash a special attack that can wipe out several in one fell swoop should you time it just right.
Level design needs to be mentioned as whoever worked on these needs praise for some rather good choices along with the stunning scenery from the artist. Each level is full of hidden areas to explore and puzzle solve, and are full of bits and pieces everywhere that flesh out each level perfectly. There’s just so much to see and there is always the chance that something could be just around the corner waiting to be found by our intrepid explorers, it makes Strange Brigade an absolute joy to play. I even took time out from gameplay just admire the views within the game. Whether that be skulking about in tunnels with occasional views to the outside world, to the vistas of the world above, it’s proof that Rebellion have cared about the product that they’ve been diligently working on for us gamers.
There is a bountiful selection of items to collect, from various journals left lying around to rare and precious treasures that can all be viewed whenever you like in your own personal journal. Let’s not forget artefacts thy can allow you to upgrade a weapon of your choosing making you even more deadly. Now, weapons aren’t your regular modern day bullet throwing death dealers, but in relation to the era that you’re residing in, but are still thoroughly fun to use. The blunderbuss being one of my personal up close and personal boom-sticks. You do have to buy them as you play, which means collecting all them gold coins have a darn good reason for you to search and loot.
I felt that one issue I had was with the controls, as movement was a bit on the light side. What I mean by this, and it’s an issue I found with The Witcher 3, is that even trying to position your character can be finicky when trying to position yourself in a way to interact with an object or for an execution move. Irritating to say the least, and it’s something present with Rebellion’s previous Sniper Elite series. Giving weight to the characters would have been beneficial here, so you’re not running around like a headless chicken trying to get them where you want.
Strange Brigade is without doubt a fantastic game, and if you have friends who play, then a cooperative jaunt through the Story is a must. Not forgetting the excellent Horde mode either. Level design is exceptional, and pretty much everything else is definitely worthy of mention. There’s little to say bad about the game, and the narrator will always raise a smile or make you chuckle to yourself. Rebellion have really made a stand-out game, and it would be a shame for anyone to miss out. Grab it, and I’m certain that you won’t be disappointed.
Release Date: 28th August 2018
File Size: 31.89GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.