Edgar Harbin uncovers the tomb of an evil queen who ruled Egypt but was imprisoned by her people. As a result, Seteki breaks out of her imprisonment and begins her quest to exact her revenge upon the world. She summons the undead to do her bidding and entrapping the souls of countless victims to power her Soul Cages. The only thing standing in her way is a squad of unlikely allies who battle paranormal events just like this one, The Strange Brigade. It is up to the members of the Strange Brigade to stop Seteki and her horde of undead ghouls.
Strange Brigade is a brand new IP developed and published by Rebellion Developments of the Sniper Elite franchise. A squad of 4 players is tasked to stop Seteki across several locations in Egypt in this co-op, third-person shooter. This game is fascinating in its blending of different elements to create a charming action game. Strange Brigade is filled with Uncharted style vistas, cooperative puzzles, and horde style combat encounters with varying gameplay objectives. The game is brimming with a lighthearted tone of old monster movies of the early 1900s that is endearing albeit a bit repetitive. Strange Brigade offers a competent cooperative experience with a campaign but the true gem this game offers is it’s Horde mode.
Go Get ‘Em Strange Brigade!
The game starts with a montage about Seteki and how Strange Brigade has to put a stop to her. Each character is introduced and given well-known character archetypes before they set off on their latest adventure. The game’s narrator reflects 1930s films in which he provides the exposition while also offering words of encouragement in a classic Hollywood cinema style.
The narrator will often cue players with hints like “I dare say, what is inscribed on those stone tablets?” or “Another artifact found for the museum… or to line the Strange Brigade pockets!” Each mission feels like a string of novellas that follows the overarching story and it gives you that monster of the week vibe. Strange Brigade is charming and the care to creating a pulp monster movie tone is amazing but after playing the campaign it becomes highly repetitive.
After a brief tutorial, players are tasked to find a certain objective that culminates in a boss fight or waves of enemies. Solving puzzles or find hidden relics to advance to the next area while fighting all sorts of Egyptian ghouls and creatures. Earning gold and relics along the way that unlock more weapons or new Amulet abilities. Amulets give each character a unique power that helps clear waves of enemies. You power up your Amulet by absorbing the energy left behind by enemies as you defeat them. Each character carries a total of 4 different Amulet powers ranging from a wave destroying punch, summoning fire powers, or turning ghouls into chickens. Keep an eye out and gather as many relics through each mission and play around with your favorite Amulet power.
That Belongs In A Museum!
The campaign is fun as each level is beautifully crafted to fit the theme of that location. Having to scale a mountainside village in search of the next Soul Cage or exploring a hidden temple filled with poisonous scarabs make for exciting levels. As players progress through the campaign, new enemies get introduced but all carry that same base design of a ghoul. You off with a slow walking ghoul and work your way up to ghouls that can teleport, use fire, wear armor, and other variations.
While the combat is superb and offers great co-op, it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. Players will fight waves of enemies of all kinds and the variety of creatures increases towards the later half of Strange Brigade. Hold out for as long as you can or until the main boss or mini-boss is defeated. The game is beatable alone or with friends and the only difference being that enemies become bullet sponges as more players join the fray. Playing online works great and I had no issues but be warned that if the host of the game leaves, everyone else is also booted from that game session even if the host leaves mid-match.
Once the campaign is beaten there is little reason to go back other than to gather missed collectibles or grind for more gold. Playing through the campaign once should give players plenty of gold to unlock most weapons. Strange Brigade offers a fun and good cooperative experience with a charming aesthetic of classic mummy monster movies. The biggest draw for this game isn’t the campaign. The game includes two other modes: Score Attack and Horde Mode. Horde Mode is the best game mode which offers tons of great stages, new gameplay mechanics, and intense fights that will keep players coming back for more.
Waves of Minotaurs Anyone?
While the campaign serves a classic pulpy story about Seteki and her horde of undead creatures, it becomes an afterthought or introduction to the best mode in Strange Brigade. Horde Mode reworks the gameplay and uses the locations of the story in aesthetics only. Each map is reworked to keep players in tight areas to fend off waves of enemies one after another. Players only start off with a pistol and must earn enough gold to access new weapons to defeat harder enemies which make for an exciting tug of war battle.
Nothing beats the rush of working together to survive long enough to get to the next wave. Each wave becomes a game of both patience, synergy, and strategy as players need to space out their Amulet powers and open new paths. Opening new doors and setting up traps cost gold but are well worth the investment as opening new doors can lead to better upgrades, health potions, and new weapons with devastating effects. The game throws everything at you and runs smoothly even though the screen is filled with all kinds of carnage and ghouls. Strange Brigade’s Horde Mode works well and offers a different kind of gameplay experience that meshes ideas from other horde modes in other games.
Strange Brigade is a great and competent game with unique twists that don’t stray too far from an established formula. The game emphasizes style over substance but there are still amazing moments to be had with friends and offers a cooperative experience with puzzles and exploration. While the campaign is solid and fun, Horde Mode will keep players coming back for more. It is almost similar to The Division’s Survival DLC which took elements from the main game to create another unique game mode. Stange Brigade borrows elements from other games to create a horde mode that is fun and engaging in its own right while also delivering a pulpy monster story. This is a solid entry to a new franchise and hopefully, the sequel can work at adding unique elements now that the foundation is set.
- THE GOOD
- Classic Mummy Pulp Story
- Co-op Campaign
- Horde Mode
- Beautiful Levels and Themes
- THE BAD
- Narrator is Repetitive
- Connectivity Issues
- Lack of Character Variety
Strange Brigade is a fun, cooperative shooter set in the 1930s and plays like an old monster movie from classic cinema. Explore, solve puzzles and defeat all kinds of evil ghouls and creatures that the evil queen Seteki sends your way. Use your Amulet powers to clear waves of enemies in Horde Mode and Score Attack. What mysterious will Strange Brigade uncover as they set out to stop Seteki across various beautiful stages.