Strange Brigade hands-on preview: Let's get weird with it

Mummies, monsters, zombies and more await only the most trepidatious of adventurers in this upcoming four-player co-op stylized shooter.

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When cinemas first became a part of modern pop culture, most films came in the form of serialized, weekly entertainment. These serials were one of the first places children of all ages were able to glimpse the action and sci-fi tropes that would go on to inspire films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones among countless others. Now, the team at Rebellion Developments is taking their own crack at bringing that nostalgic action and adventure to the world of video games with their upcoming title, Strange Brigade.

In Strange Brigade players will take on the role of one of four different heroes, each with their own guns and explosive weapon loadouts as well as their special amulet abilities. As players progress through the enticing third-person shooter they’ll get a chance to unlock new guns and switch up their inventory from the basic rifles and pistols they all start out with and learn new amulet skills that are unique to each character. Amulet skills vary from character to character, one might create a volley of magic homing shots while another may have a player grab an enemy and charge them before hurling the bad guy towards an opposing group and watching it explode.

The game’s plot revolves around the Strange Brigade taking on the minions of the evil, undead queen Seteki who has recently been released by a rival archaeologist. Players will get a chance to explore a fantasy version of Egypt as they search for the powerful queen in both single-player and four-player campaign modes.

Environments are definitely inspired by the exotic jungles of classic serials along with several nods and winks to their modern contemporaries. Harbin’s dig site, where the game initially begins, looks like it could’ve been taken right out of a classic mummy film with its lush, overgrown, flora and fauna, ancient temples, zombies, giant scorpions, and armored undead warriors. Then there’s an ancient Cut-Throat Caverns full of pirate skeletons and one very angry undead pirate king that feels like something out of The Goonies. Each level has several hidden areas and puzzles that players can solve in order to find more loot, weapons, and relics to augment those weapons. There’s also a ton of interactive traps players can use to their advantage against massive waves of bad guys, like a spinning blade that can be activated with a gunshot.

Along with the campaign modes there are a few extra ways to play Strange Brigade. Players can group up and take on score attack levels which will challenge them to devastate as many enemies as they can while making their way to the exit with the best time possible. There’s also a Horde Mode where players will take on wave after wave of enemies in a slowly expanding arena. Horde mode also starts players off with just a pistol and new weapons must be purchased with gold earned during each wave. As players defeat waves, the enemies get tougher and tougher and require more skill and teamwork to survive.

Overall, I found my hands-on time with an early PS4 build of Strange Brigade to be quite enjoyable. While many of the guns are just a slow to fire as their 1930’s real-life counterparts, there seemed to be a good balance between my mobility, my weapons’ abilities and the pace at which the large waves of baddies would come at me. It would also be hard to deny the charm of the serialized setting that game totally nails on the head. I found my time with the horde mode to be especially satisfying because, as I progressed I felt like I started to really learn how Strange Brigade functioned from a strategic standpoint. If you enjoy games that let you team up with friends to take on masses of monsters, you’ll want to keep Strange Brigade on your radar.

Strange Brigade is set to launch on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on August 28.

Reviews Editor

Blake has been writing and making videos about pop-culture and games for over 10 years now. Although he'd probably prefer you thought of him as a musician and listened to his band, www.cartoonviolencemusic.com. If you see him on the street, buy him a taco or something. Follow him on twitter @ProfRobot

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