If summing up Rebellion’s latest swashbuckling experience had to be expressed in short, it would be positioned as one of the most fun filled adventures among friends this year has had to offer. Strange Brigade is that much fun!
Striking just the perfect mood of those corky 1930’s movie adventures, fully expressed within the games vivid visuals atop funny and engaging writing, spicing up every challenging encounter, Strange Brigade exhausts players with unceasing surprises.
Going into Strange Brigade our initial surprise was eye-pleasing, as the game makes wonderful use of its visual design. Having reviewed the game in its entirety on the PS4 Pro, what is graphically stimulating from the beginning is thoroughly consistent throughout. Whether the setting is outside or within the catacombs of ancient tombs, Strange Brigade wants you to enjoy its visual flair just as much as its action-packed gameplay.
Strange Brigade introduces players to four character adventurers: Nalangu Rushida, the African female warrior who I played with in single-player mode to the games conclusion, Gracie Braithwaite who delivers a vicious uppercut on her foes, Frank Fairburne, the always prepared for battle adventurer and last but not least we have the young Professor Archimedes De Quincy whose scholarly achievements seem to give him an edge in locating hidden secrets.
Strange Brigade at its absolute best is to be played cooperatively. However, my first playthrough was enjoyed completely in solo mode as Nalangu and I championed all of the games difficult perils thrown at us from all angles. It was a blast! Once I started playing in solo mode I wanted to see if I could unlock all the secret treasures or locate all the hidden in plain sight statues which can be shot. Of course, after my initial playthrough there was much left on the table of undiscovered treasures to be had. Upon allowing players to join my sessions the game took new shape, greatly increasing the fun meter of an already great time in single-player.
Even while playing solo Strange Brigade ozzes with cooperative expression. Playing solo can be difficult especially as the hordes of the undead become more formidable, yet playing cooperatively with two or more players does add to a more manageable affair. Not necessarily does encounters become easier with the valuable aid of teammates, yet since the game does adjust to your teams prowess raisin the stakes, you no doubt feel more powerful with friends making for all the difference.
At its core Strange Brigade is a 3rd person action shooter pitting teams of up to four players within varied locales on their quest to defeat Seteki, the brutal and barbaric Egyptian queen. After each setting or chapter is completed players are giving a list of accomplishments and or treasures found. Because the gameplay while simple in it approach is so engaging and fun, replayability here is quite high. We welcomed the opportunity to revisit previously completed areas where treasures were left behind.
Playing with friends or strangers for that matter feels like a free flowing engagement since the game allows players to run and gun at their leisure, regardless of what other players may be doing. Despite this, the game does reinforce teamwork with each area completion checkpoint, which brings all the players back together just before tackling the next stage of action.
Whether playing with a team of cooperating players who enjoy communicating or mute players who could not care less about solving all the puzzles and acquiring all the treasure possible, completing the game in both regards is still tons of fun. Having completed game on multiple playthroughs in a variety ways it is safe to say Strange Brigade is spoil proof. Unless you find yourself playing with someone actually trying to be a jerk, other than that Strange Brigade is a blast!
For most of the ride players are tasked with deciphering cool puzzles, looting as much treasure available in a given area, while fighting legions of the undead in their various forms. Something I found to work against the idea of teamwork was how finding hidden treasures were not for the purpose of teamwork as the first person the find the treasure was the only player rewarded. This approach to the experience did seem to force players, myself included to sometimes seek to quickly gain access over my teammates. This was always the case when playing with players who refused to communicate. However, while playing as an unselfish team this was never an issue with clear communication.
Each of the playable characters comes with a default weapon loadout with the opportunity of managing loadouts at weapon caches which located throughout the maps. Impressively, weapons can be enhanced with hidden gems found throughout. However, you must know that once a gem has been selected for the weapon it can no longer be detached and used for another weapon. While this was not a big deal, it is something I would have greatly appreciated the option of. This was probably forgivable based on discovering the extremely-powerful weapons which are temporary and found on each map within certain chests requiring funds for purchase. These weapons deal great destruction and can certainly change the tide of battle when the odds of the undead hordes becomes overwhelming.
In addition, and unique to each character, players come equipped with powerful amulets. These amulets offer an assortment of destructive finishing move options as your character levels up. As a base functionality the amulet is able compel the remaining soul energy of fallen foes. Once the amulet has been fully charged with the soul energy of your enemies the amulet allows the player to perform a damaging maneuver. Again, these powerful moves vary depending on the character being used and each one feels quite devastating.
Strange Brigade is pure entertainment. Thoroughly delivering a light-hearted adventure of transparent fun, onlookers might be compelled to grab a bowl of popcorn as you and your online buddies battle through a cascade of undead minions, happy to obey the bidding of their evil queen. If you enjoy playing a 3rd person cooperative based shooter with an impressive measure of humor with non-stop action then Strange Brigade cannot be missed.