PAX 2017: Strange Brigade; hands on

On the second day of Pax, Saturday, I was looking around at the all the queues, scoping out anything that was available after a short wait. I wondered over to the Xbox booth, it was generally easy to play most games here besides Cup Head and Forza 7 on the wheel set up, being due to Sea of Thieves having its own Boat booth (more on that later). I found a free console, displaying a game that was so far off my radar that I had not even heard of it.

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Strange Brigade is being developed by UK studio Rebellion Developments who are best known for the Sniper Elite series. Like Sniper Elite, Strange Brigade is a third person title and the control scheme and game play are similar enough to feel familiar. Unlike Sniper Elite however, Strange Brigade is able to be played solo or cooperatively for up to four players.

Set in the 1930’s, you take on the role of one of four different character classes. I chose the Wayfinder, a female Kenyan Massi Witch/Warrior. The other three characters available are the Engineer who is another female character named Gracie Braithwaite who is from Lancashire, the Scholar, Professor Archimedes De Quincy and the Soldier named Frank Fairburn who is an English, expert marksman. Each character has different attributes and a special ability which is activated via filling a kill streak/combo meter.

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The gameplay is a third person shooter with puzzle elements, that has a horror/mythological setting. The demo had me in search of an ancient artefact, the only thing stopping me was hordes of undead zombie like creatures, a slew of mummy’s, a minitour, and a bunch of Aztec statues that came to life.

The puzzles are made up of finding trigger switches and shooting them to activate. These unlocked doors and opened up new sections of the map. The maps within the demo were well designed, there were tight cave corridors and open outdoor environments. The number of enemies on screen is huge, and it can feel overwhelming at times but your guns, grenades and special ability are not your only offense. The maps are littered with traps ranging from spikes to flame throwers, that can be activated by shooting a red orb attached to each.

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The game feels like a B-Grade movie, or a lot like the Mummy with Brandon Fraser but crossed with a comic book. It looks to be fun and quirky with some really interesting ideas. Pulling off traps rewards you with a “dastardly” or “treacherous” flash up on screen with an old English voice over. It’s a great addition.

As I stated, I didn’t even know this game existed. After a play through of the demo, which looked and ran well as an alpha build, I introduced a dozen friends to it over the weekend. All enjoyed it, looks like I have plenty of options to co-op the game through when it releases, I am looking forward to it.

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Written by

Gavin Petersen

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