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Strange Brigade

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Rebellion
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2018


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Strange Brigade'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 20, 2018 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Strange Brigade is a third-person 1930s adventure transporting players to remote corners of the British Empire to encounter fantastic and forgotten civilizations shrouded in mystery.

Pre-order Strange Brigade

Strange Brigade is a cooperative shooter where up to four characters are thrown into ancient ruins and must work together to loot them good and proper, all the while harassed by undead zombies, evil mummies, and other ne'er-do-wells. There will be four distinct characters at launch, with more being added as DLC down the line. The characters each have their own distinct perks, but you can choose whichever character you like, and there's nothing to stop clones.

What's fun about combat is traps. Enemies are a little too durable for headshots to be genuinely effective. It's fine in small numbers, but if you want to clear crowds, you have to set traps, which can range from explosive vases to crystals that can be shot to summon giant sawblades, and more. Half the fun in combat is figuring out how to gather a group of enemies into one of the many, many traps scattered through the levels.

That isn't to say you can't fight effectively on your own. Every character has a customizable loadout, including a gun and a magical amulet power. You can pick and choose how to upgrade your weapons. Want a machine gun that freezes enemies? Go for it. Would you rather have a heavy-duty shotgun that does tons of damage? Magical amulet powers are great for clearing crowds, but you'll need to gather souls from defeated enemies to fuel them. Also located in levels are Prototype weapons, which have limited ammo but are absurdly powerful.

Strange Brigade has a cooperative/competitive feel to it. You absolutely are working together to win the stage, defeat the monsters, and generally survive, but you're also competing for gold, souls, weapons, and pretty much everything else. This is an intentional design to the game, where you're encouraged to "accidentally" mess with your friends. You can't just shoot them in the head, but you can "forget" they're in the line of fire when using a laser beam trap to mow down zombies or ditch them to the mercies of a mummy while you grab the treasure. It's an interesting decision that is sure to ruin many a friendship faster than you can say, "Mario Kart."

There are plenty of reasons to work together, too. Enemies are too strong for any one person to take down, regardless of how good you are at using traps. There are also side-quests and hidden objectives that require multiple players to work together to effectively finish. While the game can be played in single-player mode, it's designed around multiple people working together — and occasionally blowing each other up.

Strange Brigade has the makings of a great game to play with a group of friends. It's silly and a lot of fun. It doesn't matter if you're blowing up zombies or "mistakenly" catching your friend in the crossfire, it has a lot of potential for hilarity and good times. Make sure to take advantage of the online multiplayer to avoid having your pal punch you after the fifth time you leave them to the undead. Strange Brigade is coming this August to PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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