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Strange Brigade Review.

Strange Brigade is a co-op third-person shooter developed and published by Rebellion. It is set in a unique time period, 1930’s Egypt, which feels like a bit of Indiana Jones, The Mummy, Uncharted and Tomb Raider combined. Erased from ancient history and buried in a tomb for 4,000 years, Seteki the Witch Queen has risen once again. Only one set of daring troops can stand against the fearsome power of Seteki and her army of monstrosities. Along the way, you will also have to solve a myriad of different puzzles, and search for secret items that will open up doorways to grander loot. Normally this means access to more and better guns as well as gems that upgrade your weapons.

This is a game that manages to be a pleasure to play as a lone wolf, or with a team. The single player campaign goes for a good length of time, especially if you try to complete all the objects and find all the secrets. You can also run through the campaign with up to 3 other players. The second game mode is definitely my personal favourite, Horde mode. You face wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies and you need to survive for as long as possible. The third game mode is called Score Attack, where the aim is to complete set objectives all within a specific time period, such as not taking any damage, making kills with all types of weapons available, etc. The more of these objectives you can complete, the more points you will earn.

The graphics and art of the maps is incredible, they are all Egyptian themed and include areas such as the desert areas, and ancient tombs. All of the characters are unique also, with people from England, Africa, India and Asia, all with great voice acting also. The narrator of the single player campaign must also be given props, he has truly provided a lot of comedy during the commentary and it genuinely makes this game not only fun, but funny also. In fact it is probably the funniest game I have played in a very long time, and as you find yourself laughing mid battle with tens of skeletons, pirates, mummies and minotaurs, you think to yourself why is humour in games such a rare thing?

The game is definitely arcade focused, even more so than in Rebellion’s previous titles such as Zombie Army Trilogy. Coupled together with the setting and the humour of the narrator, it really does work out very well and is a step in the right direction. As much as I loved the Zombie Army Trilogy, it was also quite dark and horror like and that’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. One thing that was definitely carried over into this game was the legendary ‘rise’ call which signifies a big horde attack is coming your way. Oftentimes the game will put you into a small room and lock the doors, forcing you to put on your head band and kill them all. It manages to change the pace from full on intense battles, to unlocking puzzles and searching around for collectibles very well in the campaign. Perhaps the one area where AI spawning falls short is in the horde mode when the monsters can at times spawn right in front of you, basically ruining your flow when you’re holding an advantageous position.

If you are interested in buying the game, I would highly recommend getting the season pass. For not much more money you do get access to a lot more characters, as well as their items (e.g. cluster grenades), as well as a whole bunch of additional maps across the game modes. The value that the season pass brings in comparison to the base game is high, it almost doubles the amount of content, so it’s not something you would want to miss. Also, if you do play coop with others, all members of the party must have purchased the DLC in order to play it. Although some may call it anti consumerist, if they didn’t design it this way it would most likely mean most people would exploit this and get only one of their friends buying the season pass and all others getting the base game. Overall the value of money is reasonable – a lot of originality and creativity was put into this game, it is highly optimised, interesting and funny, and brings a whole different variety of monsters to the table. There is only so much zombies and orcs one can handle, and fighting off mummies, ghouls, undead pirates, scorpions, minotaurs and skeletons is really a breath of fresh air.

As a lover of co-op games, I would also highly recommend this game to anyone that enjoys this style as well as others who perhaps haven’t experienced a good solid horde mode kind of game recently. The score attack and horde game modes definitely have similarities to Killing Floor 2 and Doom, specifically the arcade mode. Overall this is an interesting and amusing adventure that really challenges other co-op shooters in terms of creativity, level design, and the setting. Throwing new elements to the mix with traps and puzzles definitely helps the player to buy time to regroup, reload and heal up, and also relax between the horde attacks. For a third person shooter, the movement, animations and gunplay are all top notch and prove how great third person shooters can be when done right.

Overall - 8/10

Written by Adam Smith for Gaming Australia

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