Developed by Rebellion, Strange Brigade is the latest venture into the horde-based co-op territory by the developers following games like the Zombie Trilogy which also similarly grouped up players to take on hordes of enemies in a simple progression setting. In that regards, Strange Brigade isn’t much different gameplay wise as it still throws hordes of enemies at the players which you need to go through in order to progress through levels. However, what is different here is how the setting inspires the game’s mechanics.

Players can choose from one of the four Strange Brigadiers, each with their own skillset and weapon mastery. Although multiple people can choose the same character, it is advisable to have a varied roster in games as each have a different skill that can help out in different situations.

Compared to games like Zombie Army Trilogy, exploration plays a huge part in this game as you are usually tasked with finding keys or gates to open blocked areas. In fact, the game even rewards you with artifacts, some of which can be used to upgrade your weaponry for exploring every nook and cranny. Certain unlockables are behind puzzle-locked doors as well which consist of either finding a pattern or rotating pipes to solve them. Puzzle inclusion primarily helps with tricking the players into thinking they are solving clues on an expedition themselves.

There are various different enemies in the game as well, all of which have different attack patterns keeping the players on their feet. Some will just slowly limp towards you whilst others can charge or throw projectiles at you, so the challenge is always there. Defeating enemies nets you with currency that can be used to unlock special weapons found throughout the game that are much more powerful than your conventional guns.

The best way to kill enemies is through traps however, as what is a good exploration based game without traps? There are several types of trapped littered around most environments where by shooting hotspots you can activate them, impaling, burning or slicing your enemies in the process. These are especially handy against huge hordes and powerful enemies.

Strange Brigade takes place in a time long gone, where people were still uncovering parts of the world and finding mythical secrets full of gruesome curses and wonderful discoveries. The story has a very Indiana Jones/The Librarians-esque hook where an organisation of people called “The Strange Brigade” keep the mythical danger away from the ordinary world at large. It is an interesting setting that is very rarely done in game properly these days.

Because of this setting the game’s presentation style is that of a classic TV show where narration plays a huge part and everything is exaggerated. This is best seen whenever new enemy classes are introduced and you get an interesting splash introduction for them. The writing that accompanies itself is worded in a purposefully dated manner which really adds to the overall charm of the game.

In order to truly bring home the of an adventurous TV show about a group of rag tag heroes and heroines, the game’s UI and narration is very presentation heavy where it highlights different features and actions. It sounds and looks really interesting, but not without its problems.  For Example, the narrator has done quite a remarkable job, but I do believe he was overused throughout the game, and you would just want him to stop talking at times as he comments on almost everything. Of course, that isn’t the narrator’s fault, but the developers of overusing narration.

The UI however is absolutely fantastic and features a very hand drawn aesthetic, as if you are looking at notes from someone in their journal. It isn’t intrusive and fits very well with the theme of the game. The graphics are another stunning part of the game, with clean and beautifully textured assets that make the world look absolutely beautiful and mysterious. The game thankfully runs even better than it looks as even on just a single GTX980ti I was able to get away with 60+ FPS on 4K most of the time.

In-game screenshot taken by reviewer

Online wise I never really had any issues with people connecting, but it can take a few minutes before someone joins your game at times as not a lot of people seem to be playing it, but that may just be me. However, if you do have friends who have a copy of games, then joining or matchmaking a game is absolutely simple.

If you are a fan of Rebellion’s Zombie Trilogy, then you might want to pick up Strange Brigade as it does features a good few twists on the horde-based co-op formula making it different enough from a lot of their previous games, especially with a charming albeit overused narration and dated TV show like presentation that keeps the game going. Singleplayer gamers looking for a compelling narrative may want to hold out for a sale or look else-where as it just isn’t captivating enough to serve as a singleplayer story game.



Author

Haris Iqbal
Haris Iqbal

I am a guy who loves anything with a powerful storyline, whether it be a game, book or movie, it doesn't matter. Just so long as it hooks me in and keeps my imagination captive till the last word/scene! Also, I am huge Silent Hill fan, so I love all things Silent Hill... and anything horror. Huge horror fanatic!