Rebellion Developments, known mostly for action-oriented World War II skill shooters like Sniper Elite and Zombie Army Trilogy has produced a peculiar and yet flawed gem in Strange Brigade. A third person shooter at heart with a deep reliance on cooperative gameplay, the story is a hybrid between being a campy 1940’s serial and arcade redundance. But after investing some time into the varying characters and often complex storyline, one can easily see how the title is easily overlooked. Rebellion studios have crafted an experience that goes beyond the mere point and
A Plot Based On Historical Fiction
In 1930, archaeologist Edgar Harbin uncovers a tomb of the much-maligned Saharan queen Seteki. Unknown to Harbin, the former African ruler has placed a curse on all those who venture into her grave. Thus begins the first act of the plot, as the British secret service puts together a team to combat the monsters Seteki’s curse has unleashed onto pre World War 2 Africa. From this point, the story begins to take a banal turn, as your ragtag team of four heroes combats the forces of the undead in a series of uninspired locations across the North African continent. The game is ensconced in Egyptian mythology, right down the use of cartoon-like mummies and ravens that have come to form the crux of that ancient culture. Raiding each tomb felt like a romp through a run n’ gun than an exposition of a lush landscape. Nothing in the plot really seems to grab the player, even with a thinly veiled premise of an ancient curse ravaging the land. If anything, the exposition of the storyline seems more of an homage to the great serial films of the golden era of Hollywood rather than an original piece of modern science fiction. Everything from the style of clothing to the weaponry resembles the effect the story arc is aiming to achieve. To that end, the plot does make you feel you are in the British military during that era.
This is where the charm of the game comes into great effect. The African protagonist Nalangu
Besides the characters, another strength inherent in Strange Brigade’s experience is its gameplay. The personality of each of the four playable characters is brought to fruition during the action and exploration segments. As stated previously,
A cooperative third-person shooter true and true, Strange Brigade incorporates a symbiotic multiplayer style of play with over the top violence. The environments are interactive and destructible, which is joyous when you uncover secret rooms that are scattered around each tomb. While Rebellion studios once again rely on overexaggerated shooting segments to propel its plot, the violence here is highly stylized to resemble an almost cartoonish grandiosity. Nothing is realistic in Strange Brigade and that is exactly the point its developers aimed to achieve. The game plays out like historical fiction among the backdrop of English colonialism. But yet, Rebellion studios does not expand upon the devastation imperialism causes on those it subjugates. The game’s developers merely to the feel of 1930’s colonial Africa without actually venturing into the realities of European dictatorships during that era. This is both disheartening and shortsighted by the title’s developers but it is not all that surprising. Strange Brigade never aspires to factual nor do its creators care to. What you see on the surface is what you get and this sense of superficiality pervades the entirety of the gaming experience.
Regardless of the lack of depth inherent in the game’s story, the charming array of characters and the way each affects the gameplay experience is what gives Strang Brigade its appeal. Unlike other titles being released on modern platforms, Rebellion Developments does not cater to authenticity and visual truth. Instead, plot gives way to sheer