A supernatural action adventure crowded with charm.
Opprør may have known himself of the realistic ballistic and cruel, testimony-killing killings of the Sniper Elite series, but with Strange Brigade, it seems that the Oxford developer has found his over-the top, te-swilling, alliteration-obsessed voices.
Colonial British sensibilities are today's words for this third person's co-op shooter. The four playable characters of the secret arm of the Department of Antiques feel torn from the sides of a massive novel from the 1
It's all very hackneyed and camp and there's nothing else about Strange Brigade's history. The few kinematics take the form of pre-mission vignettes, styled after old school theaters and complete with a wonderful over-the-top narrator. Levels have smatterings of collective letters and diaries that characterize characters and the world, but the moment-to-moment action does not affect any of it.
Team and Crumpets
Strange Brigade's Labyrinthic Encrypt and Forgot, Overgrown Cities are Amazing Solo, or in four-player co-op. To play alone is only; There are no AI teammates that help or prevent you, and this gives you time to take in expansive perspectives and intricate themes of the levels. A particular mission is to explore an old pirate cave that feels like the video game version of The Pirates of the Caribbean ride on Disneyland.
It's when you tear in friends like Strange Brigade really shines. Levels change depending on how many players you have in your party, with more enemies fighting and twisting existing puzzles to solve. Such a puzzle early, for example, requires that you go over certain symbols in a particular order. When playing solo, this is an easy course, but in collaboration, the track is divided so that more people need to complete it in order to develop. It is also a competitive element. You will be the first to grab spoils from the many gold-packed coffins, because the bump is not shared across players.
Each of the four characters in Strange Brigade divides weapons so you never have to worry about switching from your favorite character to using a particular weapon. Similarly, their movement and basic abilities – Gracies melee ability is, for example, a brutal oppercut, but it does not feel different from Professor Archimedes facial palms. It is in Strange Brigade's Amulet system, though, that each character's character shines through.
When you break down waves of interchangeable zombies, mummies and skeleton pirates, they will let go of souls that, when collected, slowly releases a devastating amulet force. Each character has four unique powers to unlock, and these range from AOE explosions to sleeves, turning enemies into chickens. Some feel more useful than others, though. Frank's ability to crash against an enemy and throw them into a group is hard to aim for and difficult to use, while Gracy's automatic Thoth's Angry Automaton tower feels like a must-pick for all situations. The designers could have done a better job to make them all feel as viable for different play styles.
Unlocking these forces is not linked to a conventional XP or progression system. Instead, in each of the nine levels of the campaign you will come across locked tombs and treasures that require you to complete some light confusing to get in. Some will be simple combination lock with the solution hidden somewhere nearby, while others may be a Pipe Mania-style puzzle or a game of memory. The puzzles are never too difficult or blunt and are a welcome distraction from the hectic action sequences. Inside you will find relics that are part of a set that rewards you when you're done. Linking collectibles and powers is an interesting idea that binds into the mysterious nature of Strange Brigade, but the varying quality of the insoluble forces makes tracking difficult to find relics, like a job. During my game I reviewed a few cases where puzzles would not be played even if it was given the right solution, although a quick reset to the nearest checkpoint seemed to solve the problem.
There are also environmental games to fight with, for example, fragile barricades and scarab hedges that must be destroyed to recover to the taxes beyond and they have all rules that must be strictly complied with. If a thin wooden door is meant to be opened by a switch, it can not be destroyed, no matter how many grenades you throw at it – even if you've broken several equally bad looking doors before. Some levels also have hidden chambers, which can only be opened by Professor Archimedes, which can be frustrating if your party is without his professional skill.
Aside from puzzles, Strange Brigade's levels are connected, arena-style battle faces waves of increasingly difficult enemies. These arenas are filled with traps which, when pushed, release loose splinters or flame walls. It is incredibly satisfying to lure a mob of shambling bodies in danger and see as they are sent quickly by a giant swinging log. I found myself overwhelmed by enemies more than once, thanks in part to Strange Brigade's subtle hazard indicator. As groups of enemies approach, penetrating shadowy hands on the screen indicates the danger direction. The problem is that these are easily missed as most of the time, the screen is filled with explosions, souls and more enemies. Tucked away in battle areas are chests who require gold to open and reward you with a unique weapon like a powerful blunder that can destroy a tough enemy in one shot or an upgraded version of a ground weapon that pops bullets of walls and ceilings.  Standard weapons are tradable in between levels of gold overall while out adventuring. Single-shot rifles, submachine guns and hailers all have their strong and weak sides and can be customized with collectible mystical gemstones. The pearl system allows you to customize weapons to your game style or the needs of a particular situation on one of the many weapons in each level. By the end of my 12 or so hours of the campaign, I had managed to turn my rifle rifle into a fast-burned, lifelike, armor-piercing instrument of death that also froze enemies firmly. Pumping around after entering Strange Brigadas base enemies will never be old either, thanks to big, bigger than life sound effects and animations. Seeing a line of skeletons exploding in a shower of bones as coins and souls flow into my character and the ubiquitous narrator talked about my skills, never made me smile.
Unfortunately, the boss is fighting that the Deficiencies of Strange Brigade's gunplay becomes clear. Like most modern action games, you aim for snaps to the nearest enemy – but unlike something like Call of Duty, it makes you feel like a nanosecond before you go away, making you miss your shot if you instinctively assume that will behave like pretty much everything else you've played in the past decade or so. Hitting traps and some chefs weak points requires pixel-perfect accuracy, which becomes an attempt to patience and happiness over skills.
Further aggravating this problem is Strange Brigade's lack of warning about what a particular match might require. An automatic rifle can be perfect for taking out the big mob, but it lacks the accuracy of hitting certain enemies weak points or removing targets. Especially late in the campaign, I found myself in situations of completely wrong load. Such a battle set me up against homeprojectiles, something my rifle was badly suited to, but would have been simple picks for spreading a shotgun. In the end, I ended up choosing the single-round rifle, as its accuracy became a requirement to handle many of the central game bosses and projectiles who threw enemies while playing solo.
Things that drew me through Strange Brigade's campaign and had me Catching extra horde and score attack modes, however, is its emotional style. This is thanks mostly to the charismatic narrator, whose extravagant comment I had high guffawing in places. When a giant statue releases a powerful explosion from his eyes, he ran up with, "Quick Strange Brigade, Benefit From The Fully Operative Death Star!" Pausing asks him to dare for "Tea, Two Sugars" and his inexplicable hatred for cats becomes a running joke. The playable characters' single lines are as fun and stupid and help keep the mood light. The menus drip in style and the usual statutes of character portraits and drawings of relics will not look in place in a penny horrible.