A strange one indeed, this. Rebellion’s efforts tend to be admirably direct in their titling – Zombie Army, Sniper Elite, Rogue Warrior, all games that serve up exactly what it says on the tin – and so it is with Strange Brigade, an all-new IP that is more than a little odd. What if the Zombie Army formula was transposed from the fuzzy VHS of a straight-to-video schlocky spin on World War 2 to the high-spirited world of 30s serials? What if Indiana Jones, but with a Pathé voiceover and a heavy dose of colonial derring do washing over that sense of innocent adventure? Best not linger on that last point too long – it seems that not many at Rebellion have, anyway.
Still, if this studio has forged a reputation for anything over the past few years, it’s for making big, dumb and – more often than not – enjoyable action games. Strange Brigade takes the straight-to-the-point gunplay of Zombie Army and throws in its own kinks, doubling down on the co-op – the campaign can be soloed, or opened up to friends or strangers to play alongside you – and sprinkling the lightest amount of strategy atop the shooting.
And so you have four characters (five if you include the pre-order bonus, of course), all loosely drawn from some dusty archetypes, and all with their own particular traits. There’s Frank, the thick-skinned and hard-edged veteran! De Quincey, the magician who can absorb souls readily and is a dab hand at sourcing secrets! Gracie, a Rosie the Riveter repro who’s good with her fists and will remind you at every given opportunity – and a few more besides – that she’s a no-nonsense Lancashire lass. And then there’s Nalangu, the spirit warrior who can draw upon the supernatural as she draws health from the recently deceased.
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