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Not So MMO: Strange Brigade Review - Spiffy, Tricky & Addictive, Old Chap!

By Kelley Kiwi on August 27, 2018 | Columns | Comments

Strange Brigade Review - Spiffy, Tricky & Addictive, Old Chap!

Written like an old fashioned pulp-fiction matinee, feeling every bit an Indiana Jones movie with visual immersion as detailed as an AAA MMORPG - Rebellion development team’s newest title Strange Brigade launches this week with rip-roaring stories, animation, puzzles and gunfire all in the picturesque albeit zombie-ridden setting of 1930’s Egypt.  How did this all come to be, what is a strange brigade and why are they here?

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MEET THE HEROES

The Strange Brigade are a troop of fate and fortune-hunting sleuths, from around the globe - each wielding a supernatural power and an airship load of combat training to save  the world from undead horrors because they can.

The Four heroes available at launch are:

  • Nalanga Rushida - Wayfinder
  • Archimedes de Quincey - Scholar
  • Gracie Braithwaite - Engineer
  • Frank Fairburne - Soldier

The ability to get a fifth hero named Winston Bey along with news that other heroes will launch in future updates that can be accessed by a Season Pass are also available.

Meanwhile, the Department of Antiquities send the Strange Brigade to Egypt after news arrives that Suteki, an Egyptian Pharaoh that was buried in an unnamed grave thousands of years prior has been resurrected to finish the plan they had intended at their demise to rule the world lead by war and destruction.

CHOOSE THE MODE

Strange Brigade is a 4 player co-op that is launching with three modes:

  • Campaign - Story mode that’s longer gameplay loaded with more narrative.
  • Horde Mode - Shoot your way across forward through waves of undead.
  • Scored Attack - Combat missions that are more pace orientated and you better be fast

A KIWI BIRDS EYE VIEW OF STRANGE BRIGADE

Attempting to play all modes solo I admittedly didn’t get too far. Strange Brigade is challenging but in a way that I was pleasantly surprised by. If I weren’t doing a review I would have continued to attempt every mode solo just to see how much I could accomplish before calling in reinforcements. How intrigued I became and how quickly, also took me by surprise in the best way possible.

Rebellion take full advantage of its entire theme keeping you in this state of urgency at every pathway flicking between incredibly realistic design to vintage user interface aesthetics. Playing duo I not only got further but also got to appreciate all the small details I would miss solo trying to survive having more time to search for cats while I shot the heck out of anything that moves.

Speaking of guns. I liken the third-person style of shooting to Call of Duty and I now have more admiration for the fire arms from that era, each gun presented is exquisite making each upgrade even more satisfying. Getting use to firing, using your personal super-power at the best times, throwing grenades and trying to take note of traps that can either hurt you or be used to your own advantage doesn’t become easier it just becomes more manageable knowing I only need to keep a certain direction in my vision while my duo partner takes care of the other side.

Puzzle solving became a more enjoyable task with others, learning very early that some puzzles require more than one set of eyes or feet to complete. You will wander a lot in campaign mode searching for those cats I mentioned earlier, chests and shootable icons which might be a hindrance but that’s when the other two modes of Strange Brigade come in handy until you have the time or can encourage co-op buddies to join you which is easy enough as the game incorporates your steam friends list however this feature curiously shows everyone online that don’t even play Strange Brigade so I am unsure who I can invite without a conversation.

I have always enjoyed puzzles and continue to in this game however what is even more satisfying is being able to use the environment to take out batches of zombies instead of whittling away at them and their scorpion friends one by one. Windows of explosive zombie opportunity I like to call it. Maybe it’s just me though but barrels of oil are seldom in the right place to shoot and blow up so maybe it’s because those moments are rarer than I would like that makes them so much fun? Obliterating zombies will never get old!

Nalanga is currently my firm favorite. Her “Blazing Wrath of Ra” ability secondary to her instinct of sensing trouble or direction. Equally as memorable though is the narrator's personality that wraps Strange Brigade up in the perfect 1930’s parcel. It’s like having my own Alfred (Batman) beside me nudging me along with his British quirks at every option or inquiry that he speaks making me chuckle into my cup of Earl Grey tea. Strange Brigade is best enjoyed with sound on, their are a lot of little queues that come across audibly.

While I am listening, amused - I am also dreading meeting the next challenging enemy hoping I don’t die, looking for every escape route as I go to play the kiting game is I must! The Rebellion team have found an incredibly entertaining balance between challenge, horror, humour and nostalgia. Added to the different modes to suit how you like to game Strange Brigade will bring hours of entertainment to anyone who enjoys mythology, pulp-fiction, charming narrative, co-op, challenging combat or all of the above and I look forward to meeting Suteki as soon as Nalanga gets me there!

SUMMARY

Strange Brigade has something for everyone that isn’t needing a full-scale MMORPG. The depth in story and layers of intrigue alongside the beauty and humor of the game are an addictive combination. The learning kerb of Strange Brigade also lends to its enjoyment as it is no walk in the park especially solo but has enough options to not make this frustrating so you can progress in another mode should one deem too difficult. Immersion in this game is second to none though it could benefit greatly from even more explosive scenes which players who enjoy the third-person shooter genre never tire of. 

I cannot wait to see the future additions to the Strange Brigade as well as learning where the Department of Antiquities sends them next!


SCORE: 8.8 / 10


PROS

  • Enjoyable mode options
  • Rich design and narrative
  • Engaging story
  • Stunning artwork

CONS

  • Solo in its current state is time consuming
  • Needs more opportunity for explosions

Note: A copy of this game was provided for reviewing purposes by the developer.

Kelley Kiwi / has been playing MMO''s for over a decade. Avid gamer, game tester, content creator, social media & inspiration addict she has also begun diving into the world of memoir & fiction writing