Stranger Things Have Happened…
What do you get when you put together Tomb Raider and Indiana jones, Well this game is your answer. Strange Brigade is such a fun third person action-cum-puzzle solving game with some very witty English humour.
Strange Brigade is set in the early 1930’s where where a group of Strange heroes are wanting to save the world from the evil Queen Seteki, Traveling through the jungle and dangerous tombs in search of her tomb and stop her. You can play as one of four of the fearless fortune hunters, Archimedes de Quincey, Nalangu Rushida, Frank Fairburne or Gracie Braithwaite, in which you try and stop the evil witch queen Seteki and her mummified monsters. Each level gets you one step closer to stopping the evil queen, but each level gets even more difficult as you go on.
You come across many different enemies from simple mummies to dangerous assassins, being attacked by hordes of enemies stopping you from getting that one step closer to fighting Seteki. Each hunter gets equipped with a simple range of weapons and an amulet in which you charge by killing enemies and collecting their soul. There are plenty of traps in each level which you can use to your advantage to kill any of those enemies try and attack you, as well as making sure you dodge them yourself!
Throughout the levels you can search around collecting health potions, ammo, gold coins, ancient artefacts and special weapons, and you can also upgrade you weapons at little camps that you come across during your adventure. Finding special stones allows you to upgrade your weapons which adds such things like, less recoil, increased ammunition or even more damage. Each character starts with an amulet which have their own distinct power, for example Frank Fairburne’s amulet power-up allows you to dash the enemy, killing them instantly, whereas Gracie’s grabs the enemy, swings them round her head and launches them into a crowd, exploding on impact.
As the game progresses, you’ll find special cases sitting in the levels where you can purchase a one-time use special weapon, which are often infused with special powers. After then end of each level you can have a chance to purchase new weapons, upgrade old weapons and even purchase a new amulet, meaning your range of powers can expand as well.
There’s a couple of modes within the game to try out as well – If you want to go through the campaign you can do, or you can try your dab hand at the likes of the horde mode and score attack, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. All of this can either be done solo, or with up to 3 others online. It’s an incredibly tough challenge to do it solo, but you do get to keep all of the loot that’s offered up, whereas you need to either call it out and share it with your comrades in multiplayer, or otherwise make sure you get there before the greedy ones! In addition to the main areas, you’ve got a ton of secret areas to try and get through – each with their own puzzles to combat. These do tend to get a little bit repetitive though, particularly some of the “snake” puzzles that litter the environment.
Visually, the game is pretty impressive. Environments are well detailed, with enough changes between levels to keep things fresh. The art design is refreshing, with its 1930s aesthetic finding its way into every part of the game. Even the introduction of new enemies is incredibly campy, which is just tons of fun. One part of this game which I find brilliant is the typical English humour. All the way through the game there’s a commentator, who may as well have been ripped straight from a 1930s radio play. Regardless of what you’re doing, he just likes to give you random words of encouragement or will give you some proper stick, and to me that’s a genius addition.
The gameplay is fun and so smooth when moving around the map, and the traversal is very similar to Sniper Elite. With this type of game, you have to make sure that the shooting element is just right, I think the boys at Rebellion have done well, it is relatively accurate and there is no lag between shooting and the enemy reaction. They’ve taken a well-earned break from Sniper Elite and come back with something that’s just tons of fun.
Having sung the game’s praises this far, I will say that the one thing I’d like to have seen is a bit more variety. Ultimately, the levels follow the same pattern of “puzzle, horde, puzzle, kill, boss”, and it’s something that I’d like to have seen expanded on a little bit, as the concept behind it is so strong. Another thing that would’ve been nice to see would be a local split-screen co-op mode. With the game being online only, it takes away from what could well be an awesome fun game to sit on the couch with a mate blasting at the undead, but I appreciate the technical limitations behind why this isn’t possible.
In summary, this is an immensely fun online co-op shooter. The sense of humour runs through the entire game and feels really good to play. Single player gets to be really tough at points, but this is a game designed to play with friends. A little bit more variety in mission types would have been the icing on the cake, but as it stands this is a game that’s got me itching to play more. Now go get them, Strange Brigade!
Reviewed by Matt Golding