Reviews

Strange Brigade review – Zombies Feat. Nathan Drake

Rebellions latest release ‘Strange Brigade’ is a cooperative third person shooter. Widely known for games such as ‘Sniper Elite’ and ‘Alien vs Predator’, Rebellion also publish TV and Film productions along with comic books such as ‘2000 AD’, the home of ‘Judge Dredd’. With such an array of credentials, this reviewer had high hopes for Strange Brigade.

Right from the outset this writer noticed a likeness to Naughty Dogs Uncharted Series, given the similar setting and game play. It would be unfair to compare, even though the temptation is eating away at my very soul.

On the first play through, players will encounter countless hordes of undead zombie type creatures, however a few blasts of the shotgun make short work of the undead and turn to dust (again). Players will need to find various clues and statues including cats, which will Meow at players as they get warmer and warmer whilst trying to locate the aforementioned. Sometimes said clues can be well hidden, so it pays players to be thorough when sifting through areas.

The players chosen protagonist wields an amulet that can be charged by collecting the souls of dead enemies, ‘Charming’… (Yes, Rich does Dad jokes too). When the soul devouring Amulet is full, it gives players access to a character specific power. For example, this reviewers character could summon scarab swarms.

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Choose Your Fighter!

Players will choose between four characters each with different abilities:

Professor Archimedes De Quincey is a keen secret finder and has the ability to open ancient alcoves later in the game. He starts with a pistol, sticky grenades and a machine gun which is powerful but packs a powerful recoil. His amulet power is a cursed scarab which can strip the flesh from enemies.

Frank Fairburne carries a shotgun, an automatic pistol and dynamite. His amulet power is chariot charge which wipes out enemies with devastating force.

Grace Braithwaite has a shotgun, automatic pistol and standard grenades. Her amulet power is the curse of the mummies which wraps enemies in bandages and launches them forth like a missile.

Nalangu Rushida carries an automatic rifle, auto pistol and a Molotov cocktail (Not a Russian beverage) that ignites bandages. Her Amulet Power ‘The blazing wrath of Ra’ harnesses the power of the sun god to send down waves of fire turning enemies to ashes.

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Modes, Modes and… Modes!

Menu options Such as Horde and Score Attack are locked behind the completion of Strange Brigades first level. This isn’t a major issue as players will need to grasp the basics, but may be an initial issue for players familiar to the genre.

Horde mode is as advertised, hundreds of the undead coming at the player. Score attack is simply shoot as many undead as possible before time runs out. Strange Brigades Multiplayer mode is fun but also frustrating due to under-performing frame rates whilst maintaining very good Internet speeds at 76 MBPS.

The options menu provides players with stats that include total kills, head shots, favorite weapon of choice, distance traveled, time spent on low health and total campaign gold collected. Strange Brigade also provides up to date leader boards, so that players can compare stats against others players worldwide.

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A Puzzling Development

This reviewer found the puzzle elements in the game relevant to the gameplay but somewhat simple. Shooting a light on a wall to open a door or matching a sequence of symbols left a lot to be desired, unlike Uncharted (Boom!). In what seems a valiant effort to resolve said issues, Rebellion has implemented a steady but challenging difficulty curve. This is represented with the addition of Mummies and over sized Scorpions, which were quite annoying to say the least. Think about The Flood in Halo, but they don’t pop.

Ammo is pretty much in abundance to balance out players’ ample opportunities to upgrade weapons. Temporary pick up weapons such as flamethrowers come in very handy when crowd controlling horde after horde of monsters.

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Sounds Good

Strange Brigades’ OST is clearly tribal inspired to reflect the games location and surroundings. Along with the natural SFX of thunder, birds and waterfalls, Strange Brigades audio experience certainly adds to the immersion of the tropical bloodletting that ensues throughout the titles modes.

The narrator of the game is quite comical and funny at times with his tongue in cheek humour, which resonated with me more than it probably should. Characters come complete with various dialects which avoid the easy lure of the cheese board such as a very convincing Mancunian accent. Overall, it was ‘Sound R Kid!’

Even though Strange Brigade can be experienced through the majesty of HDR, the textures within could be likened to the previous generations PlayStation 3 capabilities. With that being said, this didn’t affect the games presentation as frame rates were solid within the single player realm.

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Verdict:

Graphics and Presentation: 3.5

Sound: 4

Gameplay 3.9

Overall Score: 3.8 / 5.0

This reviewer would love to see Strange Brigade at a £19.99 Price point due to presentation flaws and a flimsy approach to character movement. The repetition of shooting zombies, opening doors, finding keys and solving puzzles is a tried and tested formula. However, Strange Brigade does little to divert from the Status Quo. This writer would recommend the purchase in a sale, however I feel that this title will struggle against more dominant titles in the same vein such as ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’ seeing the light of day as established spin offs such as ‘Call Of Duty: Zombies’.

Formats: Xbox One X (Reviewed), PlayStation 4 and Steam

Price: £39.99

Publisher: Rebellion

Developer: Rebellion

Release Date: 28/08/2018

Age Rating: PEGI 18+

Review copy provided by publisher

Guest Review Written by RikG3ster

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