Title: Strange Brigade
Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Release Date: August 28, 2018
The Grade: B+
Strange Brigade Haiku Review
Tongue firmly in cheek
Explore, shoot and solve puzzles
Strange but oh so fun
What is it? A third person shooter set in Egypt in the 1930s. Gamers can choose to play as one of four colorful characters who explore the ancient tomb of Seteki the Witch Queen, which has been undisturbed for 4,000 years.
Highs: “Strange Brigade” has all the elements fans of shooters are familiar with - buying new weapons, upgrading weapons, acquiring power-ups, hunting for collectibles and solving puzzles. What makes this title so different is the playful tone that’s mixed with enjoyable gunplay.
“Strange Brigade” has a campy, old time movie feel, complete with voiceover from a formal speaking British narrator. There are cutscenes in between levels that feature the characters that make up the Strange Brigade, and they all have over-the-top personalities. It’s a unique take on the shooter genre that made me feel like I was playing the video game version of “The Mummy” (the good one with Brendan Fraser, not the lame one with Tom Cruise). “Strange Brigade” is a serious shooter, but it absolutely wants you to have fun.
Adding to the game’s uncommon vibe is its unusual mix of adversaries. Players will take on mummies, giant scorpions, minotaurs, zombie pirates and all sorts of strange and unusual creatures. Levels are meant for exploration, another unusual trait in a shooter, as gamers are encouraged, yet not required, to solve a variety of puzzles and look for hidden areas in search of loot or powerful weapons.
While gamers can certainly enjoy “Strange Brigade” solo, this title is best played with others. The campaign mode can be completed alone but going through it in co-op ramps up the intensity. If you’re looking for an even greater challenge, you’ll really enjoy “Strange Brigade’s” score attack and horde modes. In score attack, players are placed in an arena and rack up kills as quickly and stylishly as possible to get high scores. In horde mode, gamers face wave after wave of enemies.
Lows: If you’ve played Rebellion’s “Sniper Elite” series, “Strange Brigade” will feel quite familiar. At times, however, that feeling of familiarity makes this latest title feel a bit derivative. In fact, there were certain instances during my playthrough where it felt like I was playing a really large “Sniper Elite” DLC pack and not a full game.
“Strange Brigade” also has simplistic controls. The controls work fine, there’s just not of complexity to them. This adds to the “Strange Brigade’s” charm but can lead to the title feeling a bit unrefined.
The Grade: I’m a big fan of Rebellion (“Sniper Elite” is one of my favorite franchises) but I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new title. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I became absorbed in the game. Addictive, intriguing and a little bit odd, “Strange Brigade” is fantastic fun.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.