Let’s face it, ever since Valve released the classic Left 4 Dead game, a lot of different companies have been trying to make their own version of a good, four-player co-op experience. I’ve played my fair share of them, but none of them as fun and solid as Rebellion’s Strange Brigade. If you like co-op team shooters like I do, this one has plenty of action, puzzles, and humor that’s anything but strange.
There’s not much of a story when it comes down to it, but that’s okay as we’re here to shoot stuff and collect things. You’re part of the Strange Brigade, a group of globetrotting adventurers who appear to be in the early part of the 1900’s that travel the world on a dirigible looking for the next piece of action.
After selecting one of four characters ranging from an old school Nathan Drake-like guy to a voodoo looking lady, you’re off to exotic lands, tombs and crypts to combat zombie-like creatures, giant scorpions and more on your quest for glory and loads of gold. Each of the characters also has a unique ability they can use once their meter is full from taking down baddies, from getting a headshot on every enemy on screen to the voodoo lady turning enemies into chickens.
Speaking of gold, you’ll want to collect plenty of it while you’re out there making headshots, as you can use it to buy bigger and better weapons to make things easier, from armor piercing to healing rounds, to bigger explosives to carry. As far as controls go, anyone who plays first or third-person shooters will feel right at home with the placement of the aim, shoot, reload, change weapon, dodge/jump, grenade and melee attack buttons. If you play on the PC like I did, then you can remap your keyboard as you like (though I used a controller).
As with any shooter adventure worth their salt, there’s a few collectibles to search for and puzzles you’ll come across. The only thing I didn’t like about the puzzles is how unforgiving they are, thanks to permanently locking if you mess up solving it after a small number of times, and especially since the “clues” for solving them are either nonexistent or don’t make any sense.
But let’s get to the true star of the game, the multiplayer. Playing with friends is obviously the way to go here as playing solo can feel a bit underwhelming after a while. I can’t begin to describe how cool it is to team up with others and take out enemies all while dodging old school traps such as swinging blades, darts/arrows, etc all while using our special abilities to turn the tide when things looked darkest.
And while I did enjoy teaming up to take down enemies with others having my back and having theirs, there is sadly a thing that keeps it from being the best, and that’s the loot system. Like most games today, loot is usually distributed between all of the players or each person sees/grabs their own specific loot. Not here though, as it’s “finders keepers” with anything that drops. I get that they may have been going for a little competition between players, but it really keeps the fun factor down.
One thing I will give this game props for is the presentation, as the graphics are really well done and look amazing. For a company I never heard of, they somehow made graphics that rival most triple A titles out there. The sounds are also just as cool, namely the fun “narrator” with plenty of tongue-in-cheek comments and quips as you do everything from play to pausing the game that make you feel like you’re listening to one of those old radio programs from the 1930’s.
Overall, I had a good time with Strange Brigade as the pros far outweigh the cons. With some tweaks here and there (mainly the “finders keepers” multiplayer loot system), this can easily be one of the year’s most fun, underdog titles. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some solid co-op excitement, you’ll want to get down with the strange but fun happenings here.