One of the higher profile games at EGX Rezzed 2018 was Rebellion's thirties-tinged third person shooter, Strange Brigade. Oddly enough, the demo we played was single player, despite the main focus of the game being its four-player co-op. Still, what we played of this B-movie inspired action game proved it has some fun ideas that should work extremely well with a few pals by your side.
The demo takes place in the same African setting you may recall from the game's showing at E3 2017. Selecting one of four adventurers, each with a different loadout and unique abilities, we're thrown into a combat scenario outside an ancient temple, gunning down dozens of zombies. These bad guys may be overused, but they fit the setting, and they're undeniably satisfying to take down. We sampled a few of the weapons on offer, and they all hit with a weighty oomph. In terms of control, aiming the weapons was a little stiff, making it difficult to line up headshots consistently, but we're sure the developer isn't done fine tuning this sort of detail.
Each of the four members of the Strange Brigade comes with a unique explosive that runs on a cooldown; we used the dynamite, which packs an almighty punch, but takes a long time to detonate. The characters also have their own amulet ability, attached to a meter that builds as you defeat enemies. These range from mighty melee attacks to magical powers. You can speed up the process of filling this meter by utilising environmental hazards to take out foes; exploding barrels, crates that lay down a patch of fire, spike pits, and spinning blade traps were plentiful throughout our time with the game, all activated by gunfire. It's fast and fun to pull off these trap kills.
Further into the demo, more enemy types were introduced, including mummies and sword-wielding soldiers. Each behaves differently, with mummies being very slow moving but able to absorb more damage than the faster foot soldiers. While playing alone was fun with the satisfying gunplay, we can definitely see that this would be highly entertaining with others. The number of enemies eventually became quite overwhelming, and having some allies to even the odds would work well, but combining the different abilities, environmental traps, and more would make for a compelling co-op experience.
The presentation is great, as well; the thirties schlock is perfectly done, with a fantastic narrator adopting a voice similar to old BBC broadcasters from the era. Text overlays are in that typeface you'll recognise from old fashioned movie adverts. It gives the game a unique flair and sense of humour we rarely see nowadays.
We came away from Strange Brigade wanting to play more, which is always a good sign, but it's the co-op we're most anxious to try. As the game is built with this in mind, we're curious to know whether the co-op aspects hold up. From what we've played, we're confident Rebellion is heading in the right direction, and hopefully we'll get the chance to play it as intended soon.
Strange Brigade is shaping up to be a highly entertaining co-op shooter. With punchy shooting and plenty of ways to tackle combat scenarios, it's certainly got all the right ingredients -- we just hope it holds true in the final product. Are you interested in Strange Brigade? Fend off the enemy horde in the comments below.