Strange Brigade is a new team based third person shooter from developer Rebellion of Sniper Elite fame. Set in a 1930’s “pulp” style world, reminding me of over-exaggerated propaganda films of that time, players choose from four different characters, each with various starting weapons and special powers. Working together your team will go to various locations around the world in a quest to stop an Egyption god and her army of the undead.
The story for Strange Brigade isn’t anything new. Undead and Egyption themes have been done. Even the timeframe/setting reminded me of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book but without famous characters. What makes Strange Brigade’s story unique is mainly the narrator and his hilarious comments. What makes the game stand out in my opinion is the gameplay, but more on that later.
Characters include Frank Fairburne, a grizzled old soldier; Nalangu Rushida, an African demon hunter; Gracie Braithwaite, a British woman who looks like she was modeled after Rosie the Riveter and has a mean uppercut; and finally Professor Archimedes De Quincy, the resident smarty pants. While all have different weapon loadouts at the start, as you progress through Strange Brigade every weapon becomes shared and unlockable. Your best bet is to just choose one you like and try out all the various weapons to find what suits your play style.
Each character does have unique amulet powers. Players can unlock up to four different amulets for each character. These are represented in a meter that fills as you collect soul orbs dropped by slain enemies. Be sure to actually harvest and draw them to you for maximum gain. Once filled, players can unleash the special attack. While an interesting concept, unfortunately I found most of the abilities while visually different, seemed to all do about the same thing; instantly kill one target and deal damage to enemies around that target. It was kind of a let down and not near as powerful as I had hoped, but it can save your ass in a pinch.
Gameplay is my favorite aspect of Strange Brigade. With the current craze of “Battle Royale” modes in games like Fortnite and Player Unknown: Battlegrounds, it is nice to see a co-op game where people work together instead of just every player for themselves. Strange Brigade is a third person shooter. If you are a Fortnite player, it should be an easy transition. Weapons control well and most enemies can be brought down with headshots from range for optimal safety. Dodging is a major life saver and should be used often if surrounded to get some range from enemies.
In each level, enemies will attack in increasingly more difficult waves. Players must work together and use various traps that can be activating by shooting them. I found it very enjoyable to herd large groups of slower enemies around one and then activate its huge spinning blade to kill them all in one fell swoop. I highly recommend Strange Brigade for Fortnite players who want something different and to work together. Yes I know Fortnite has a co-op mode already, and it’s very underrated, but if you want an alternative third person shooter to play with friends, Strange Brigade is a great choice.
Graphically Strange Brigade is beautiful. The enemies are truly scary and detail was put in to make every walking corpse look very realistic. Levels are well designed and create a great flow of progression. Voicework is superb and I especially want to give credit to the narrator voice actor. The score is nothing special, but it does convey a sense of adventure and danger so it fulfills its purpose.
Some people may be turned away from the $49.99 MSRP of Strange Brigade. Normally I would agree, but developer Rebellion has lots of future plans for the game and with a strong community I can see Strange Brigade becoming as popular as Left 4 Dead was years ago. I would love to see gamers go back to working together more often instead of just killing each other. As a single player game, Strange Brigade is still tons of fun and should take about five hours to complete the main story. There is lots of replay value though as you go back and figure out puzzles you missed and collect gold for more upgrades.
In closing, Strange Brigade is a wonderfully made game with a 1930’s stylized charm reminiscent of the Indiana Jones movies with a more supernatural undertone. Levels are designed well and gameplay is just plain fun. While not perfect, I still couldn’t put Strange Brigade down because of how much of a good time it is. I expect it will just get better with expanded content they have planned. If you are looking for a great co-op shooter, check out Strange Brigade.